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How do you choose the right real estate broker? This question comes up for new agents but is also a typical question for experienced agents thinking about making a change. So, as an independent agent, we all know that you need to place our license with a brokerage. Below I’ll share the top 10 questions you should ask when looking to choose a real estate broker.
10 questions you should ask to help you choose a real estate brokerage
- What kind of training do you provide? Training comes in all shapes and sizes. Some larger franchise firms have an entire training department. While smaller brokerages may have training provided by local industry experts. Even though CE credits are required you’ll also want to take advantage of training to help you learn the business. So, take note on what’s available and by whom.
- What type of support do you offer? If you’re an experienced agent, you might not think that you’ll need much broker support. However, anytime you want to level-up your business, a mentor will be invaluable. Support can also include clerical or administrative support. For example, one brokerage I was affiliated with had an admin enter in all information into the MLS and would also provide flyers free of charge.
- What technology systems are available? Technology solutions can include free email addresses, online marketing and website building tools. Does the broker offer free CRM (client relationship management) software? This can help you connect with your past and current clients as well as stay on top of where everyone is in your sales funnel. Similarly, a transaction management software can help you easily submit required paperwork to your brokerage.
- What non-tech resources do you provide? This would include business cards, signs, a desk, and copies. Ask what’s available, because some brokerages even provide lock boxes!
- Where is your office located and what’s the environment like? The office location is important. Not only will you most likely need to visit the office for training or meetings, but to have questions answered or catch up with colleagues and meet with clients. There’s also the fact that people in the community will get to know the brokerages name based on brand recognition if they drive past the office every day. The brokerage may also choose to invest in the local community by donating time or resources to schools and or participating in local events such as parades.
- What are the commission splits and are there any other fees? You need to find out the details on commissions, monthly fees, E&O insurance, MLS fees, cost per transaction or splits (example 70/30). If you get commissions for completing BPOs (broker priced opinion) or home warranty referrals, understand how much you’ll be able to keep. How quickly you’ll be paid after closing is also a fair question. So, while the amount of money you share with the broker is an important factor to consider, you should include in that number any of the other monthly requirements. Weight this against the other benefits offered. Who you choose at the beginning of your career (first 2-3 years) may be different than who you choose after you’re an experienced agent, and that’s OK.
- How recognizable is the brand name and what’s the reputation? Are other agents happy? You don’t want an office where most of the agents are dissatisfied with how things are run. Reputation is important for the brokerage itself – in terms of how it’s known in the marketplace with buyers and sellers, and also how it’s regarded by other agents. Some brokerages have such a bad reputation where other agents don’t even like to show their listings! The other side of the reputation coin that you need to consider what agent’s that are associated with the brokerage say. Are most of them like you value or drive, or who you want to be? Are they go-getters that are serious about running a successful real estate business or are most of them “part-time” agents that are simply hanging their license somewhere? Remember, birds of a feather flock together! The brand of the brokerage needs to match your personal branding as an agent.
- Will I be able to grow my business here? Is this an environment where you’ll be personally challenged? If you’re consistently the number 1 agent in your office, you need another environment. Iron sharpens iron, so being around other growth-minded agents will help you grow too. An office that’s focused on growth will offer a sense of competitiveness. How many agents in your office do you want to model yourself after? However, if you’re consistently top agent in the office, who are you able to look up to as a role model?
- What is the type and size of the brokerage? Options include virtual brokerages, small boutiques and national franchises. When you decide on which you prefer, you need to consider your personality, your business brand and your ideal client. A virtual brokerage is obviously for someone that’s very tech savvy. You don’t require seeing your colleagues in person and you work well alone. A small boutique brokers will typically have a family atmosphere and a very specific culture. The culture for national franchises tends to be office-specific. However, there’s still an overall culture that goes along with the brand, so you need to consider this as well.
- Misc.– lastly, think about your past brokers, work environment, and ideal environment. For example, if you have meetings, it’d be wise to ask if meetings are “required”. Sure, meetings can’t necessarily be mandatory since you’re an independent contractor, but culture can heavy influence. If there’s anything else that could make or break your decision, now’s the time to ask those questions.
10 questions to ask to help you choose a real estate brokerage
We talked about the questions you need to ask before choosing a broker. This is a big move so there’s lots to consider. Take your time and think through the process. To keep it all together, you’ll want to download our Real Estate Broker Comparison Chart. I also suggest you download our Agent Bio to help build your business.