As a California real estate agent, you need to be part of a real estate brokerage, under the supervision of a broker, to handle real estate transactions. One of the hardest parts of starting your real estate career is deciding which brokerage to join.
What Should You Look for in a Brokerage?
You’ve got plenty of options. There are large brands, independent family businesses, luxury chains, and discount agencies. Some are old school. Some embrace the newest technologies. Some have huge teams to handle all of the administrivia while others leave those tasks to you. And the pay structure varies widely between companies!
How will you decide on the right one for you? The best real estate brokerage to join is going to be a very individual decision. By “best”, are you referring to top producing? Most perks? Most comprehensive training?
Whatever you are looking for, you’ll need to put some time into researching and narrowing down your choices. Ask everyone you know for their recommendations. Listen to both client and real estate agent perspectives to see how a brokerage functions and treats its customers.
Once you’ve selected a few brokerages to interview, ask a ton of questions before you make your final decision! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What kind of office culture am I looking for? That is, what is the mission, vision, values and belief systems?
It’s important to get a good idea of the company’s values as early as possible. In order to get this early insight you can pay attention to how the agents interact and pay attention to how the broker describes the culture. Some brokerages are heavy on the competition rather than camaraderie, and it’s important that you know that in advance.
- What is my learning style? Reader, writer or Audio, Visual?
By understanding your learning style, you’ll become aware of how your brain learns best. If you know how you learn best, you can also communicate more effectively with your mentors and gain more knowledge.
- Do I prefer to work independently or on a team?
Are you going to join a bigger team and have the support that comes with that or do you prefer to work alone? These are going to be important factors in how you build your career.
- Do I have a niche or specialty?
Knowing whether you want to specialize in say, Commerical real estate sales vs. residential real estate sales, is vital to understanding your market and reaching your career objectives.
- What are my business goals?
All successful people and companies have specific goals and plans how to achieve them. If you know where you are going you will save yourself time and energy taking detours. Try writing out a 5 year plan including goals to hit and where you see yourself.
- What skills do I bring to the table?
Having a clear understanding of your strongest skill sets and how you’d like to use them in your work will allow you to achieve your career objectives.
- How much am I willing to invest in my own training and/or mentor program?
Having a mentor as a new agent will be the key to your success in your entire career. It is important that the mentor you choose will be able to offer you relevant and valuable expertise. This will help you learn more quickly. Depending on the brokerage you join, it may offer a mentorship program for 6 to 12 months.
- Do I want to work for a well-known brand, or will I be building my own brand?
You will want to decide whether you will maximize the brand name of the brokerage you join or if you will be building your own.
Questions to Ask When Interviewing Brokerages:
- What type of salesperson are you looking for, part time or full time?
Carefully consider how you want to shape your career and what lifestyle you want to lead. This question can reveal what kind of agents work best for the brokerage you are interviewing. For example, if you are planning to work part time, you probably don’t want to join a brokerage where every agent works 40 or more hours a week. It’s important to evaluate how your brokerage will fit in with your desired lifestyle.
- Do you have a new agent program and what does it entail?
As a new real estate agent, training and education will be one of the most important questions when interviewing brokers. If you don’t have experience or very many connections, it will be vital that you are provided them through the brokerage you are considering joining. Some brokerages have pre-established new agent training programs, while at others, it left up to the agent to find a mentor on their own.
- How big is the brokerage, Corporate or Boutique?
Knowing how many agents work at the brokerage is important when evaluating whether to join or not. If you are in need of more attention from your broker it may be harder to have that access when competing with lots of other real estate agents. You will also want to evaluate size and resources. Bigger brokerages tend to have bigger budgets for staff, marketing and technology.
- Will I have an office or a desk?
Knowing the difference between the two and the fees associated will help you to outline your expenses and plan accordingly.
- Are you hiring teams or individual agents?
- What kind of training do you provide beyond the New Agent Program?
Having access to coaching as a real estate agent or even programs for continued education will be very important.
- What technology and/or resources are available for drop in Agents that don’t have an office?
If you decide not to have a desk you will want to know what other benefits you will have access to at the brokerage.
- Do you provide personalized agent websites?
Knowing if this is a provided service is important to a new agent just starting out. If it is not provided by the brokerage it will be another expense to the start up.
- Do you provide full services or limited?
- Do you offer salaried positions?
If you decide that you do not want to be an agent but instead maybe a transaction coordinator or something of the like, you will want to know if that is a possibility for you.
- Can I sell or buy my own properties?
Some brokerages will not allow you to buy or sell your own property. If you are focusing your career on flipping homes it will be good to know whether you can maximize your real state license by negotiating your own deals or if you have to use another agent in the brokerage.
- Which expenses do you cover, which ones do I pay for?
Knowing your fees and expenses will help you plan out your future as a real state agent and understand how to achieve your financial goals.
- Do you provide marketing assistance, how does that work?
Having an effective marketing strategy will mean that you are generating new leads. Taking those leads and turning them into clients will help you achieve your career objectives while also consistently growing your network and reputation. A successful managing broker will have valuable expertise about what marketing strategies you should use.
- Do you provide any leads?
When a home owner or someone looking to buy a house contacts a brokerage for help, there are many ways they can choose to hand off the lead. There are different systems of distributing leads and it’s important that your brokerage has a clear and fair method established.
- Are there any other services providers working out of the office and am I required to use them?
Sometimes brokerages have existing deals for things like photography and videography and knowing wether you have to go with their existing vendors is important.
- What are your open house rules?
Open houses are an event where the seller or seller’s agent allows potential buyers to enter and walk through the property at their leisure or guided by a realtor. The goal of an open house is to secure interest from buyers.
- Do you have quotas that need to be met?
The quota is based on how much money a real estate agent can make the brokerage. Some brokerages have elected to have the agent pay a desk fee instead. In this case the brokerage is not worried about the business that the agent is doing and are instead are worried about collecting a monthly fee.
- What is the commission split?
A commission split is the amount of commissional agent will split with the brokerage when they complete a real estate transaction. They can range from 50/50 all the way to 100%. You need to get an accurate picture of how your income and expenses will vary from one brokerage to the next.
- What other benefits or perks do you offer?
- What is your market share?
A brokerage’s market share is the percentage of their total sales that make up the totality of sales in their niche. A larger market share can give you a good indication of their standing and brand awareness. This drives leads and a successful brokerage is something that you can leverage.
- How are you involved in the community?
These questions will help you make an educated decision, but don’t worry. If you’re not happy with your choice, it doesn’t need to be permanent. There’s a lot to be said for stability but agents change brokerages all the time, for a variety of reasons.
We’ve Got Connections
You have the freedom to join any brokerage you like and if you partner with a participating brokerage, they will reimburse you for the cost of your pre-license real estate training when your first deal closes. They have also got a unique commission structure that rewards results. Now that is the support you need to start building a successful business.
Pre-License Real Estate Training at Agent Real Estate Schools
If you are looking for premier real estate training while you consider your brokerage selection, you have found the one! Choose between in-class and virtual learning with the Group Study and Fast Track programs. Take advantage of the Tutor 6-Pack or attend our instructor-led classes to build the confidence to pass the California state licensing examination.
Contact us today, to learn more about a career in real estate, our flexible study options, and our brokerage partners. To find out more about becoming a real estate agent, contact Agent Real Estate Schools. Reach us at (858) 329-0999 or email us at [email protected].