How do you welcome a new agent? A team leader’s guide to real estate agent onboarding

Team Management
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There are all kinds of working arrangements in real estate. Some agents run a solo business. Others find value in working with a partner. And many join real estate teams because of the big promises team leaders make. 

Unfortunately, agents are often left feeling like those promises are unfulfilled.

As team leader, you need to be invested in your agents’ success from day one. And it all starts with an agent onboarding system that works both for you and your team.

In this article, we’ll share steps to help you bypass the endless emails jam-packed with “helpful articles” and develop a real estate agent onboarding process that consistently sets new agents up to win.


What is real estate agent onboarding?

Real estate agent onboarding is a team leader's process for welcoming new agents into a real estate brokerage or team. It typically involves a series of steps aimed at familiarizing agents with the team's culture, systems, processes, and expectations, while providing them with the necessary tools and resources to succeed in their roles

A robust onboarding process helps agents become familiar with the local real estate market, inventory, and trends so they can start contributing to the team's success quickly. And by providing new agents with a strong system of support, a well-designed onboarding process can also help improve retention rates and overall agent performance.

5 steps to a high-impact agent onboarding process

You know you need to welcome new agents with open arms, but with so many unique team cultures, what does a strong agent onboarding process even look like? 

From creating a welcoming company culture to providing the tools and knowledge necessary in today's real estate landscape, the following steps are designed to help you empower new agents to hit the ground running.

1. Start building your culture from day 0

As with any team, shared values often lead to greater success. One sure way to ensure you attract the right agents to your team is to know who you are and what you stand for. 

Many brokerages have slogans or taglines to quickly convey their team’s ethos. For example, REAL’s is “Work Hard, Be Kind,” while Keller Willliams promises, “Customers: always come first” and “Commitment: in all things.”

Whether through curated Instagram posts, fun-filled Facebook lives, or community events, sharing your values and mission is a great way to set the tone for your work together.

“A lot of teams and brokerages try to be all things to all people. And it's not possible. You want to find like-minded people that want to run in the same direction as you are so that you're not pulling each other out of your lane.” — Emily Smith, COO, Wemert Realty Group

Now, we’re not saying go out and get matching t-shirts so people know just how much you love your team. But you absolutely need to make team members feel included and completely bought into your mission.

✅ Action steps:

  • Review your social media accounts to make sure your messaging clearly reflects the types of agents you want to attract
  • Update your team welcome pack to include your team values, culture code, and/or manifesto
  • Provide a clear plan for what new agents can expect within the first 90 days on the team

2. Determine your splits

You’ve seen the ads on social media. There are brokerages offering 100% commission to their agents. When you bring on a new team member, your commission splits need to be very carefully thought through. If you’re telling a new agent they’ll get 75%, you better be able to explain exactly what they’re getting for the 25% going back to the team. 


Winston Murray, Founder of Works Real Estate in Portland and Seattle, has a comp model that breaks down exactly what new agents are getting in exchange for their split. He lays it out with complete transparency: “If you leave and you want to go start your own thing, these are the costs that you’re going to take on.” 

“If I could help an agent that joins my team build a similar business to what I’ve built, then I know as a team we are going to be really successful.” — Winston Murray, Founder, Works Real Estate

Remember, your splits should be based on the value you bring to the agent. But you also need to protect your bottom line. Keep a firm grasp on your financials, including how much you spend on leads, marketing, tech tools, subscriptions, and more.

✅ Action steps:

  • Understand your monthly expenses
  • Make a concise list of what you offer agents
  • Determine if you want to offer fixed, graduated, or bonus commissions
  • Decide whether you will have a commission cap
  • Establish a cadence for evaluating your commission structure

3. Create your agent onboarding checklist

Everyone loves a checklist. It helps ensure that you’ve thought of everything and shares clear expectations with everyone who sees it. So, what goes on an agent onboarding checklist? 

A lot of it depends on your real estate business model and the experience levels of the agents on your team. However, there are some core fundamentals that should be included in almost every agent onboarding checklist.

In real estate, no two days are ever the same. A systematized process for agent onboarding will help team members stay on track toward their goals, come rain or shine.

The five main “buckets” for your onboarding tasks are: getting to know the office, marketing setup, tech tools, financials, and training.

Getting to know the office:

  • Make introductions to other agents and support staff 
  • Review team values 
  • Show agents how and where to get supplies
  • Share meeting schedule

Marketing setup:

  • Agent headshots
  • Agent bio
  • Agent business cards

The agent should also update their social media and real estate portal profiles with their new brokerage/team information.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok
  • Zillow
  • Trulia

Tech tools:

  • Email account
  • Brokerage portal
  • CRM
  • MLS
  • Team wiki or intranet

Financial setup:

  • Tax forms (W-9)
  • Bank accounts 
  • Direct deposit

Training basics:

  • Business planning
  • Lead generation
  • Forms and files
  • Open houses
  • Negotiations

4. Set the right expectations early

We’ve all heard of SMART goals. One of the most important things about them is that they’re measurable

With a clear understanding of your expectations — plus the KPIs to back them up — you can successfully set goals with your new team members and consistently track their progress over time.

“If you don’t know if you’re winning, you feel like you’re losing.” — Christy Belt Grossman, Owner, Ops Boss Coaching

Whether it's the number of new client acquisitions, client satisfaction rates, or the volume of listings sold, establishing measurable KPIs for agent performance ensures that the team isn’t just busy, it’s also effective.

Here’s a list of potential KPIs to get you started:

  • Number of Listings
  • Sales Volume
  • Average Sale Price
  • Sales Compared to Listing Ratio
  • Client Acquisition Rate
  • Client Retention Rate
  • Lead Conversion Rate
  • Social Media Engagement
  • Compliance and Paperwork Error 
  • Participation in Team Meetings and Trainings
  • Gross Commission Income (GCI)

✅ Action steps:

  • Schedule an initial meeting to review individual and shared goals
  • Make sure you have a CRM like Follow Up Boss😉 to easily track your KPIs
  • Schedule regular check-in meetings
  • Share dashboard for tracking metrics

5. Inspect what you expect

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar or virtual brokerage, it’s important for agents to know when they can expect access to you and when they should be prepared to discuss their progress.

But agents are busy and schedules are unpredictable (everyone loves that last-minute 6 pm showing request!). Keep it simple by establishing a clear cadence for your team meetings and training sessions so agents can make them a priority. 


Depending on the goal of your meeting, your cadence might be daily, weekly, monthly, or some combination. Just make sure both you and your team members know what to expect and when to expect it.

Of course, even with a regular schedule, tracking the progress of dozens or even hundreds of agents isn’t easy. The good news is there is a way to automate it.

For example, Albert Vazquez, Team Leader at AV Home Experts in South Florida, uses Automations inside Follow Up Boss to automatically set a Phone Calls Check to make sure agents are attempting to call their leads at least 5 times in the first week

✅ Action steps:

  • Schedule time to listen in on client calls
  • Set up a coaching plan for each agent
  • Add reminders to your calendar for agent shoutouts

Welcome new real estate agents with open arms

You decided to grow a team because you know you’ve got what it takes to mentor and support agents in their quest for success. Don’t let a lack of onboarding get in the way. 

With the right systems, templates and checklists in place, you can make sure agents have everything they need to find success within the first 90 days on your team, and beyond.

Ready to create your own systems of accountability? Sign up to the Real Estate Team OS podcast and get proven team leader tips delivered straight to your inbox weekly.

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