Starting a Brokerage: Part 1

The following post is the first in a three part series about starting a real estate brokerage. The original posts can be found on the NAR blog. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for part two and three.

“We can’t wait to work with you, Mister Realtor.”

“That’s Mister Broker,” I responded to my new clients.

It was a few weeks ago, and that was the first time I said out loud that I am a broker. I also got to say it to a client. It was a pretty cool feeling.

So what that my new clients were just my parents? A client is a client.

My journey from a recent college graduate to a licensed real estate agent to running my own business as a broker/owner wasn’t something I could have predicted five years ago let alone five months ago.

Part 1

Yet, where I am today in my business life seems exactly like where I should be.

I didn't always know I wanted to be a broker. I didn't even know that I was going to be a Realtor. But, once I sold my first property, I knew that the real estate industry was one that I wanted to work in for the rest of my career.

This post is the first of three to help explain my process - from the why, to the what, to the how - of becoming a broker. There are countless reasons why I wanted to become a broker, from the simple to the complex.

These are the most important issues to me as to why I become a broker.

1. Creating Something from Scratch

Ever since I was a little kid, I liked to build things. Whether they were physical things, like a LEGO set or a garage storage system, or digital things, like selling mix CDs to my classmates in 6th grade, I've always liked to create something from nothing.

There's a great sense of pride and accomplishment when you complete a task. You can take a step back, take in all that you have done, and give yourself a pat on the back.

I get this feeling every single day when I go to work. I can look around and see the little things (like being able to hang my first for sale sign) and the big things (like seeing my Teammates implement the mission of the brokerage.)

Everything in my business is something that I've had a hand in, whether it was something I did myself, or helped other people accomplish. I can take a step back, take it all in, and say I made that.

2. My Leadership Style

When I started as a Realtor, I enjoyed the job. I liked working with buyers and sellers and other Realtors to get a deal closed.  But it wasn't my favorite thing to do, and it wasn’t what I was best at either.

My favorite thing to do on the job, and what I would say I did best, was to help other agents when they had any questions. Even though I was significantly younger and less experienced than a lot of the agents I helped, I have always been a quick learned and have been able to teach complex things to other people in a simple manner.

I took a personality test a few years ago, and the test revealed that I had the qualities that most aligned with a coach. Combining my personality with my leadership style was one of the best reasons for me to start my brokerage.

3. Being My Own Boss

One of the things that attracted me to the real estate industry was the ability for me to be my own boss. As a Realtor and an independent contractor, I treated myself like I was my own small business. I set up business licenses, business banking accounts, the whole works.

In my previous jobs I quickly found out that I was a great worker, but not always a great employee. When there was a task that I wanted to do, I did it with fervor. When it was something that I was forced to do, it didn’t always go so well.

As a real estate broker, you truly can be your own boss. Especially as an independent broker, unaffiliated with any franchise, the only people that I must really answer to are my clients (and my wife!)

4. Having a Sellable Asset

As much as I love what I do, and as much as I see myself working for the foreseeable future, there will come a time when I will be ready to retire.

If I retired as a real estate agent, the only asset that I could possibly sell and retire off of would be my book of business. While this certainly can work for some, it is not as significant as an asset as I would like.

As a broker, I can really create assets. Assets ranging from physical things (like office space, signage, and more) to digital things (like websites, educational tools, and more.) Plus, not only would I be selling my own book of business, but the books of business belonging to all the agents that work at my brokerage too.

5. Making A Difference

As a business owner, I realized I can have a bigger impact on my community than just as an individual.

When it comes to volunteering time at a local charity or nonprofit, having a team of 25 agents spend some time working for a cause goes much farther than just a single person volunteering their time.

The same is true when it comes time to make a donation. While one person making a donation to a cause is great, matching the donations of all my agents makes an even bigger impact.

Finally, the biggest impact I can have is the impact I have on my agents.

Every day I remind myself that not only is this business here to provide for my family, but I also have a platform that allows other people to provide for their families. The web of influence that is created when a small business starts can grow exponentially with lots of people counting on you to succeed.

Every day I want to have a positive, meaningful impact on the lives of other people. If I can do that, I will consider myself a success.

My advice to anyone thinking about getting their broker's license and starting their own company: start with why. Why do you want to do this? If you can successfully answer that question, the rest will fall into place.

Nico Hohman

Nico Hohman is the broker/owner of Hohman Homes, a residential real estate brokerage based in Tampa, Fla. Nico is also a contributing author to Realtor Magazine and Inman News, the innovative news source for the real estate industry. Nico has contributed his time and talents to better the standards of the real estate industry and the local community by leading and serving on committees at Greater Tampa Realtors, Emerge Tampa Bay, the University of Florida School of Construction Management Alumni Council, Toastmasters International, Nativity Catholic School, and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Guild. Plus, every fall, Coach Hohman is the Head Golf Coach at Jesuit High School of Tampa.


Since he began practicing full time in the residential real estate in the fall of 2014, Nico has been involved in the transaction and management of over 100 properties with a total value of nearly $20,000,000.


With a degree in Construction Management from the University of Florida and past experience in the home building and remodeling industries, Nico focuses on helping homebuyers find and purchase new construction homes. He also helps home sellers looking to sell their properties that also require significant renovation.