Choosing the right real estate broker for you is probably one of the most important things you can do when beginning your real estate career.  Yes, you can always change offices later.  Yet, why go through the disruption and uncertainty twice?  Take your time, ask the right questions and attend an “average” day are just three pieces of advice I’ll give for how to choose the right real estate broker.

Sometimes, when something feels right, it feels right.  I get it.  Yet, if it feels right today it should also feel right tomorrow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with meeting with a Team Leader, a broker, a productivity coach (or whomever) more than once to be sure you agree with the “feel” and culture of the office.  There are basically three different kinds of brokerage philosophies;

  • Traditional Brokerages – The feel will be more corporate like.  Generally, they may keep a larger percentage of the commission you work for though they may be more involved in lead generation or carrying the costs of office supplies, signs, etc.  Think Coldwell Banker, Reece Nichols, and Better Homes and Gardens.
  • Hybrid Brokerages – These brokerages will feel more entrepreneurial, will offer a higher compensation to the agent though most of the costs will be up to the agent.  Costs like signs, office supplies, advertising, etc. Think along the lines of Keller Williams.
  • Low Cost Brokerages – These brokerages lead with low, low costs to the agents.  They don’t do much (if anything at all) and yet they don’t take much.  Think Platinum or Realty One.

Listen, 99.9% of the agents who are getting started don’t know what they don’t know.  And that is dangerous to your business and to the customers/clients you will work with. Here are some things to think about and to ask about;

  • What are the total costs to be an agent with this office? ie, splits (cost of sale), office supplies, signs, advertising, websites, databases, errors and omissions insurance, etc.
  • What benefits come with being associated with this real estate office? ie, tell me about your training calendar, class offerings, mentorship or productivity training program for new agents, leads generated and/or dispersed from office to agent, etc.
  • Who is my go-to person when I’m stuck?
  • How many agents are there in this office? How many do you want there to be?  (There are advantages to both small and large offices.)
  • What can you tell me about the real estate technology you participate in, what are the costs and your general feeling about where technology is taking the real estate business?
  • May I talk to two of your most successful agents who have been in business less than two years? (Don’t skip this step.  You will find out a lot from them on how responsive the office is to agent needs…and compare from office to office who is developing new agents the most effectively.)

Before affiliating your license with any office attend an “average” day, or two.  How would they feel about you attending a couple training classes or team (sales) meeting or lead generation meet-up?  Go!  See how responsive and welcoming the other agents are to you.  Are they there to help the “new gal” or do they see you as immediate competition? 

While the previous two categories are more about fact finding, this third category of attending a couple of events is much more about the “feel” of the office. 

All of this can be done in a week, or over the entire time of your real estate school education or over whatever period of time you decide to take.  As a guy who has run real estate offices for years I’m simply amazed at how uninformed and unprepared most new agents are when choosing their first real estate office.  And lastly…

Please, I’m begging you.  As a new real estate agent you are starting and establishing a new, independent business.  Starting a business costs time and money.  Be prepared to apprentice, to humble yourself and learn.  I’ve always been taken aback at the unmitigated gall of some newer agents who feel that they can go with a low cost broker right out of the gate, eschew any real training or mentor-ship and feel that they DESERVE a professional level income like that of a doctor, lawyer, etc… you know, people who educated themselves and trained for years. 

Sometimes, it all just makes me shake my head.  Now, let’s be very clear; I am not advocating that you spend money like a madman. Simply said, I want you to invest in yourself and learn to run your real estate business responsibly to maximize your service level to your clients and to maximize your income.

Keep all this in mind as you explore which real estate brokerage is right for you before you blindly choose (“Well, I had a friend here and…”) and you’ll have a much better chance of success your first year in real estate.

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