When you obtain your real estate license, the next step to earning your first big commission check is to find a broker to work with. With so many real estate brokerages available nowadays, it can seem like a daunting task to find the right one. Not to mention that brokers will tell you everything you want to hear. It’s going to be up to you to find out which broker will work best for your situation.
Remember, when you go to an interview with a broker, the interview is going both ways. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. It’s important that you ask as many questions as possible. A few minutes of detailed research now will save you months or even years of headache down the road.
The top three most important areas for considering a broker is their support system, compensation structure, and any fees that they may charge. Here is a list of questions for each category that you can use to ask your potential broker. This will help you get a good feel on whether you will be a good match for their company.
Does the broker have a formal mentorship program in place, especially for new agents? Do they foster a team-oriented environment that will help you learn and grow? Or, do they expect you to figure everything out yourself and throw you into he pool to see if you sink or swim?
How accessible are these mentors? If you are trying to close a deal and have a question, are you going to be able to call them up and get guidance from them when you need help? Will they be willing to go with me to open houses? A real estate transaction can get very complex, so this one will be important. If anything goes wrong, it could cost you the deal.
Are there any live classes or online courses available for personal development that are available? What type of training do you offer new agents?
Who is going to be my mentor when I start on day one? Who will I be working with daily? Try to get a specific name.
What do they expect of new agents, especially in the first year? Some brokers will want you to focus only on buyers and showing open houses, acting like an assistant to help other teams with their deals. Everyone learns differently, and for some people, this approach may be a good thing. For others, they may want to hit the ground running faster and close their own deals right away.
Where territory will I cover? Do you want to stay nearby where you live or are you willing to drive farther out to close the deal? If you live in a metro area like Los Angeles or Chicago, you will need to factor in long commutes to your day. How often will you have to drive to the office?
What is their onboarding process right when you start on day one? Are they going to provide business cards? Have you listed on their website? How long will this all take?
Every broker has their own commission structure. No matter what their commission splits are, there will always be some give and take. If they offer you a bigger slice of the pie, they will expect you to be more self-sufficient. On the other hand, if the broker is going to offer you comprehensive support and training tools, then they may offer you less commission.
For new agents, you will be getting for more value with a strong coaching and support system than with a bigger commission payout. Ideally, you’d like to have both, but unfortunately, that is extremely rare to find. After all, it’s better to make 30% of something rather than 100% of nothing.
Here are some questions to ask the broker:
What is your commission split? Are their special commission structures for new agents versus more experienced agents? What does that look like?
Are commission splits negotiable later on?
What is the process of being paid? When will the check be sent out? Ideally, you would want to get a specific day of the month.
If a broker charges you a lot of fees to work at their firm, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on the value you get back on those fees.
Is there a desk fee? If there is, what does it include? This is basically a monthly fee to “rent” a desk in the office.
Are there review fees? This is a fee that the broker charges to have someone review your contracts and legal documents to make sure everything is filled out correctly when handling a real estate transaction.
Are there any marketing fees? What is included with this?
Are there any startup or onboarding fees? This fee applies to new agents to help them get up and running. This may include your business cards, marketing materials, desk fee, etc…
Is there a technology fee to use their computers, print/copy/fax documents, or to mail documents?
Is there a parking fee to park your car? Do you have to pay for an access card to enter the office building?
How much is the Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance? This insurance that all agents have to pay. This covers any potential legal costs if you make a mistake on a real estate transaction.
Do they cover any professional membership fees like NAR, MLS fees?
Your interviewer may be spilling out cookie-cutter answers to make their brokerage sound good. Here are a several questions that you can directly ask your interviewer to get deeper insight into what it’s really like to work with that firm.
How long have you been working there?
What made you decide to work there?
Who was your last new hire? What happened to them?
Where are your top agents getting the most lead?
Do you have regular awards? What kinds of performance metrics are recognized and rewarded?
Remember, your success will ultimately depend on you and not your broker. People will want to buy and list their homes with you because they like you and trust you. It’s not because of the broker you are with.