You've put in the hours and passed the tests, now you're a licensed real estate agent, congrats! What’s next you may ask? Choosing a real estate firm to hold your new license.
In most states, you're required to work a certain number of years under a Broker, before you can apply for your own Broker’s license. In Florida, for example, you must be licensed for at least 2 years. During this time, you’ll learn essential tools and skills to be a successful agent. So, how do you choose which real estate company is right for you?
With so many real estate companies out there, it can be intimidating and hard to choose the right fit for you. There are large companies and small, national and local. There are companies that specialize in a specific type of real estate such as, commercial, farm land or investments. As a new agent, it may be difficult to determine just what qualities you want in the real estate company you choose; but there are a few you should definitely consider.
Before choosing a real estate company, it is recommended that you interview with at least three different companies. Keep in mind, during these interviews the broker is not interviewing you, you're interviewing them. You're trying to determine if their company is a good fit for you. You’ll want to discuss things like commission splits, training, and the options they provide for lead generation.
National or Boutique?
When starting your quest for a real estate company, your first decision should be whether you want to work for a national brokerage or a boutique brokerage; with both there are pros and cons. It would be best to interview at both types of brokerages before choosing the type you want to be at.
A national brokerage provides some higher recognition with their name, which for a new agent can be a huge plus. This type of company is also a great way to get exposure with a lot of other successful and experienced agents. National brokerages also usually provide excellent training, which we will discuss in a minute. Some even have a sponsorship program that pair you with a senior agent during your first few months, another huge plus! This person is your go to, and can really help you kick your career off in the right direction. However, some national brokerages do not offer this option and essentially throw you in the business to sink or swim. You may also find it difficult to get leads from a large company, meaning that it’s pretty much 100% up to you to generate your business. Finally, in a large company you may find it difficult to speak with the broker who sometimes is the only person that can answer a question you have, especially when it comes to “law related” questions.
A boutique brokerage is a little different. They are much smaller, and usually will specialize in a reduced, very local market. Because of their size, they can often be picky about who they bring on, which could be good or bad in your own opinion. In a smaller boutique brokerage, you’ll most likely be working very close to the broker, allowing you to always get help from the most experienced person. But you are at a disadvantage with a smaller name, and sometimes they don’t offer near as many perks as a large office might; especially when it comes to lead generation.
Commission, Training, Leads and Support
One of an agents biggest concern is their commission split. Every broker/company will have a commission split. Any broker that tells you, you keep 100% of the commission, just means they will collect an absurd amount of money from you in other ways such as transaction fees or desk fees. Before you choose the company based on commission, there are other items you need to consider too; like training and support.
As a new agent, you will want a company that is going to take the time to enhance your knowledge and skills to make you a better agent. The training you receive should cover a variety of topics from agreements you’ll use each day, to new technology, to the companies policies and procedures. Some companies will also offer mentoring programs, which can be a huge pro. During your interview you can ask to sit in on some of their training classes, if the broker says no, you could take that as a lack of confidence in their training program.
Additionally the company you choose should offer you some kind of opportunity to gain new leads. It may be a relocation center, a lead generation website, floor time to answer phone calls, or sponsored events you can volunteer to work. The company may not offer all but should provide at least one or two of these. Also, be sure to understand the cost associated with these options. For example, they may offer you an online lead generation platform; these usually cost the company money, which is passed to the agents that use it.
And finally, you want to make sure you choose a company that will provide you ongoing service and support. From simple questions about an agreement to a full conversation about issues you’re experiencing with a closing; you should always be able to know you will get the answer you need in a timely manner. They should also provide you ongoing training for new technology and hold office events and meetings that allow the agents to gather and discuss the industry trends.
Now, going back to commission – you may think that a better split is the best choice for you, and it might be, but you should also consider the other things the company can offer you. As a new agent, better training and support could be better for your career then a larger split.
No matter what brokerage you choose, be ready to work. Real estate is an ever-changing industry and no two days are alike. If you’re curious what a day is like as a real estate agent, check out our blog: The Lifestyle of a Real Estate Agent.