Choosing the Right Real Estate Brokerage

affiliating real estate license

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.

TAKE YOUR TIME
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.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
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.)

ATTEND AN AVERAGE DAY
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…

DO NOT CHOOSE SIMPLY BASED ON COSTS!!!
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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Choosing a Real Estate Broker

questions to ask a broker

One of the toughest decisions you’ll get to make as a new real estate agent is who to affiliate your license with. In other words, take a great deal of care in choosing a real estate broker.

Here are some very important items to take in to consideration;

  • Are they company focused or agent focused?
  • What is their new agent training program and do they have proof of success?
  • The state says that the broker owns all listings. Fine. What is the broker’s policy if you choose to leave? Do you get to take the listings with you or does the broker keep the listings?
  • Same with your database. Does your database of current and future clients belong to you or the broker? Or, does the broker have rights to your database after you leave?
  • What is the culture of the brokerage? All for one? Or mind-your-own-business?
  • Do the agents have a say in how the office is run?
  • Who do you have access to that first year?
  • What is the market share of the brokerage? (Do you want to be part of a small office or a big office? – There are trade-offs for both.)

The list above is not all encompassing. But it is a great place to start. Seek your own answers. Research. Ask to speak to some of the broker’s agents. Ask to see the office’s trends. Are they growing, staying the same or slipping back?

Here in Kansas City we have a lot of great brokerages to choose from. Some are very limited service, some full service and everything in between. Some have been around decades and others are startups. Some small, very small. Some large, very large.

You really have a Good, Better, Best decision to make, in choosing your broker. The income difference between Good and Best, can be significant. So research, make a decision and then make the decision right.

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How to Become A Real Estate Agent in Kansas?

Most people interested getting their real estate license in Kansas want to start with the question of,  “How to become a real estate agent?”  I’d like to proffer a different question, “Why do I want to become a real estate agent?”  And that is the better question here in Kansas, or Missouri or Maryland or Hawaii or, well, you get the idea.

As someone who has been licensed since 2002, is the Team Leader of the Olathe, Kansas Keller Williams and an owner of a property management brokerage as well as a national MAPS Leadership Coach (the coaching wing of KW) I’d like to share with you the most popular reasons I hear for getting a real estate license.  After all, I have interviewed literally thousands of would-be and current real estate agents.

How to become a real estate agent
Female Real Estate agent offer home ownership and life insurance to young couple.

CONTROL MY TIME
Well, yes.  And no.  When you get your real estate license you are opening a small business.  If you are going to depend on that business to feed you (and your family?) as well as provide housing, transportation and some of the funner things in life, you better treat your business like a business.  This means long hours and hard work for a few years.  After you have build a reputation and client base and learned to leverage then, yes, you can control your time.  This may take months for some, years for others and never for still others.

If you are working part time or the realtor income will be disposable (extra), then you can be more relaxed and work at hours you pick and choose.  In the beginning, there is a direct correlation to how much effort you put in and how much money you will make.

MAKE MORE MONEY or
CONTROL MY INCOME
Considering it takes less than $2,000 to get a real estate license and get started with all the MLS, business cards, etc, this is a FANTASTIC business, returns wise.  I’ve seen people walk in the door and make over $125,000 their first year.  I’ve also seen people walk in, sit at a desk and look all around the office for a paycheck three weeks later, because that was what they’ve been trained to do in the previous life in the job-world.

Folks, this is a business that a college drop out (or never-was) can earn professional level income.  Though lets be clear, it is YOUR own business… and all that comes with that.

“I LIKE HOUSES”
Please.  I’m not sure I want to write how I really feel when someone says to me, “Well, I love watching HGTV and I really like houses.”  Well, I really like beer but I’m not going to start a brewery.  I really like bicycling, but I’m not going to start a bike store.

Listen, if you have the money and the time to just bounce from house to house looking at decorating ideas and if you sell one or two houses a year, GREAT!  For most realtor business-people houses quickly become a commodity.  A unit.  Now don’t get me wrong.  Don’t misquote me.  I’m not saying that houses aren’t a great commodity.  I’m not saying that there is incredible honor and satisfaction in helping people choose, acquire and release a house/home.  I’m just saying this is a lousy hobby for most people.  So much cost, risk and detail.

There you have it.  Those are the TOP 3 reasons I hear people say as to why they want to be a real estate agent.

Should you be a Kansas resident and you do want to know how to get your license, well then watch this video and then click this link and submit your info. We’ll get with you by the end of the next business day, regardless of where you live in Kansas.