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Questions to Ask Before Joining a new Brokerage

Choosing the best Real Estate Brokerage to work is easily one of the more important decisions of an agent’s real estate career.

Working with a brokerage can offer a real estate agent many valuable benefits. From standardized best practices within the field, to decades of experience and oversight to ensure compliance with local legislations. Perks, fees, commissions, culture, pros and cons can vary widely from brokerage to brokerage, so it is important to know what you want in a brokerage and your career as well as what the brokerage has to offer before you commit.

With several brokerage options to choose from, including luxury real estate brands and big brands to independent family run businesses and agencies, taking time to do your research is imperative. Help ensure that you find the best brokerage for your real estate career by asking the right kinds of questions both of yourself and of the brokerages you are considering joining.

We’ve put together a list of some of the most important things an agent, new or experienced, should ask of themselves and the potential brokerages prior to joining.

1. What are the fees, commission splits and caps structured like?

The number one question asked when an agent is vetting a brokerage. Common operating practice is for brokerages to operate with their agents on what is called a commission split as well as a monthly desk fee or technology fee. The commission split can range from a 50/50 split to 100%. The desk fee, or technology fee often ranges from $85 to $200 a month depending on the broker. Not all real estate brokerages work this way. Some firms offer a salary and zero percent commission, while others allow 100% commission and only charge an office fee. While others still have profit and revenue sharing programs. Typically, the longer an agent is with a brokerage firm the more their commissions and perks grow.

2. Do my career goals align with the brokerage company’s goals?

As a successful Real Estate Agent, I can’t recommend enough making a 5-year plan with goals and writing it out on paper. As they say, a dream without a plan is just a wish. Use this roadmap to help guide you as you narrow down your brokerage selection. Do you want to sell luxury homes by the ocean or mountain villas in Colorado? Or are you more interested in helping to find the perfect buyer for the strip mall that is up for sale in your community or helping others find the perfect family home? What is the mission and focus of the brokerage you are considering? Take the time to know how your goals do or don’t align with the brokerages that you are considering joining.

3. Do I want to work for a well-known brand name or an independent brokerage?

The differences between a well-known and established nationwide or international real estate brokerage and a small family run brokerage can be quite distinct. And not one any better than the other, merely a matter of personal preference as to style of selling, location etc... Knowing what type of real estate you want to specialize in is also helpful when choosing a brokerage firm. While most work in all types of real estate, some focus specifically on residential or commercial or even more specifically like vacation homes, condos, or cottages. If you know what area you want to focus on this can be very beneficial. If you are still unsure of what type of real estate you want to specialize in it can be better to choose a firm that covers a wide variety of real estate types.

4. What Mentorship and Training Programs are Provided and/or required?

Are you already an experienced real estate agent with a proven track record? Or are you looking for guidance from successful mentors and realtors who have already walked that path before you? Are you brand new and looking for a firm with a new agent training program? Having the right education and mentorship can greatly increase the learning curves and help you to grow as an agent more quickly. Whereas having required training or mentorship may be a hindrance and annoyance to more vetted agents.

5. What Types of Resources are available for the Employees?

Does the agency provide personalized agent websites? Does the company cover expenses? If so, what expenses are covered? What about marketing and training assistance? Administrative assistance? Are leads provided? If leads are provided, Does the brokerage that provides leads distribute leads in a clear and fair way? Anything the brokerage doesn't cover is an expense you have to consider.

6. What is expected of me as an Agent?

Some brokerages have quotas, others expect you to be in office a certain amount of time every week or attend certain regular meetings. Are you allowed to work remotely and conduct transactions online? Or are you required to be in the office? Will the company provide administrative support for tasks like accounting, tech support, human resources, compliance and legal and so on, or will you be expected to wear many hats in your role at the brokerage? Does the brokerage have certain platforms and technologies that their agents are required to use or are you free to source and use different ones?

7. What kind of office culture is best for me?

Get a look into the brokerage’s office culture and company mission, values, and belief systems as early as possible. Some brokerages promote teamwork, community involvement and local charitable causes while others encourage peer to peer competition and money making and avoid the feel-good stuff. Knowing which type of environment you prefer and what type each brokerage offers is critical to making a good decision for finding the best fit for you.

8. What are the Additional benefits offered to Agents?

Each brokerage comes with its own additional perks. Some are big sports fans and have season tickets or hold box tickets with the local sports team. Others offer lucrative rewards and recognition programs. An increasing industry trend is brokerages that are offering retirement and health insurance options now. Be sure to ask each brokerage what makes them unique and what they offer that others don’t. This can often reveal overlooked or taken for granted perks like gym memberships or local networking group memberships.

There are numerous ins and outs to being a real estate agent and the relationship with the brokerage partnered with. While the decision as to which brokerage is going to be the best fit is highly subjective depending on the agent, the broker, and each different situation, it is still an important one.

Brokerages are a fantastic place for growth, networking and expanding your career. The brokerage which may be a perfect fit for a seasoned luxury real estate agent may not be the best match for someone who has been specializing in commercial property sales. The brokerage with the excellent training and mentorship program may not be the best fit for the seasoned luxury realtor. By taking the time to ask the right questions both of yourself and your potential brokerage partners and you’ll find the best fit for you and them. #WinWin

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