So, the question is: What’s are some things that are helpful to do (or not to do) when choosing where you will first hang your license? Read on for 10 tips.
From national franchises to local independent firms and large traditional brokerages to specialized boutique firms, there are many different routes to take when it comes to real estate offices. It can be to your benefit to take a beat to compare the various options and decide which one is the best fit for you. Then, focus your search to make it more manageable.
Yes, you learned a lot in the pre-license course. And before your first year comes and goes, you add to that knowledge with the post-license course (which is conveniently offered online by the Ben Farmer School of Real Estate). But, as you get your feet wet in the business, you’ll find that few things help as much as a solid training program and real-world guidance. As you talk to brokers ask what training is available and whether it’s free, structured or informal. Also find out if there is educational content specifically for new agents and if formal mentoring is available.
No doubt about it, commission splits and fee structures are important in making your choice. As such, you may be inclined to pick the broker with the lowest fees or the split that lets you pocket the biggest share. Resist the urge, though, to primarily focus on the compensation model. Rather, balance it with aspects like support and services that will help you get your business off the ground.
Because technology continues to transform the way real estate agents do business, you can’t afford to join a firm that doesn’t offer up-to-date tech tools. Check to see what digital resources will be available to help you with lead generation and if you will have access to customer relationship management (CRM) software that facilitates marketing, contact and transaction management.
Administrative support can vary widely from broker to broker, even among individual offices of national franchises. So, inquire as to whether you will get help with activities like appointment setting, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data entry, and contact database management. Getting tasks like these off your plate can free you up to focus on things that generate the most income for you
Think about it, when consumers are choosing who they want to work with, they look for a broker with a well-regarded reputation. It’s in your best interest to do the same. Accordingly, do your homework. Research companies online, check out any press mentions, consider what you have heard via word-of-mouth, and do some digging for poor reviews or complaints that have been filed.
Once you get some experience under your belt, you’ll tend to generate your own referrals and leads. As a new agent, you’ll likely need some help. Ask brokers how they distribute inquiries from potential clients that come in through various avenues like the website, office visits, social media and calls. Are these routed by sales territory, “round robin,” agent on duty, or another method?
Before you say “yes,” make sure you know the broker’s expectations of you. For example, are there meetings that are mandatory to attend? Is there a minimum number of sales that you are expected to close every year? Is desk or phone duty required? If yes, how often and how many hours? Are there any required memberships? Is there a policy manual that you can look through?
When you work at a brokerage where the culture aligns well with your values, goals, style and the way you prefer to work, you’ll be happier in your real estate career. What’s more, being in a culture that suits you can have a highly positive impact on your level of engagement, your performance, and consequently your success. So, give due consideration to how well you feel you would fit in.
While you will almost certainly have a “gut feeling” about which brokerage is the one for you, it helps to affirm that choice by pragmatically assessing how the companies on your list stack up against each other. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each firm in the areas of consideration (e.g., culture, compensation, reputation, business opportunity, technology, training, market share, etc.) and rank them in terms of how strongly they align with your ambitions, disposition and work style. Then land on a decision. You will be much more likely to choose a brokerage that turns out to be the right one for you now and for a good while to come