One of the most important decisions you will make after obtaining your real estate license is the choice of your broker. As a newly licensed agent, you are required to work under the supervision of a broker. That broker assumes a great deal of responsibility for the agents in his or her firm.
So what do you need to look for in a broker? Here are just a few things to consider.
Does the broker offer formal training?
I believe this to be probably the most important question for new agents to ask. When you first get your real estate license, you know a lot about how to take the real estate exam. But how much do you know about how to get started? Do you know how to market your new business? Are you comfortable writing an offer for a client on your own? Do you have the negotiation skills you need to get the best result for your client? You need someone help you get started and that’s where your broker comes in. Your broker should offer you formal training in the form of written materials along with classroom instruction. Training should cover a variety of topics and it should be ongoing. If you want to really discover the depth of training you will receive at a particular brokerage, ask to see their training calendar. The training calendar will reveal the broker’s commitment to training and it will tell you how much planning goes into the training the broker provides.
Does the broker provide tools of technology?
Cutting edge technology is going to be one of your best friends in the real estate business. The right tools will leverage your time, propel your marketing strategy, and make you look like a pro in front of your clients. If your broker isn’t providing the tech tools you need then you will have to seek them out on your own. And when you are a new agent you won’t always know where to look for them. And when you do find them you may end up over-spending for them. Ask your prospective broker about the tools and resources provided.
Is your broker available during business hours to answer your questions?
You will have lots of questions when you get started (and even beyond getting started). Make sure there is adequate office staff support. The last thing you want to happen is to have a difficult situation arise and have no one to walk with you through it.
Will the broker send you prospect client leads?
Be careful on this one. If you depend on the broker to send you leads you may be at the mercy of the broker for the quality of leads. Is the broker just going to give you scraps? A better question is to ask if there is “floor time” available. Floor time is when you are the designated agent for a specified period of time in a day that will take incoming phone inquiries or walk-ins (people) that don’t have an agent. This provides you the opportunity to convert that inquiry into YOUR client.
What is the monthly fee to a brokerage?
Brokers generally charge a monthly fee to hold your license as active. These fees can vary greatly. Some brokers charge a lower monthly fee but take a greater percentage split of the commissions. Some brokers work in the reverse and charge a larger monthly fee but not as much in the split. When you first start out, money can be tight and you may want to consider paying a smaller monthly fee and be willing to give a larger portion of the commission to the broker. Just be sure and make sure that you are getting value for the monthly fee you are paying. In other words, what are you getting in return for what you are paying?
What is the culture of the office?
This one is important. It’s good to visit several broker offices to get a feel for what it’s going to be like when you are actually there during a work day. Is the office staff professional in appearance and actions? Are the agents helpful to one another or is it every man/woman for himself/herself? Is there adequate workspace for the agents? All of these factors are important to consider.
What is the broker’s market share?
You should always ask your prospective broker what percentage of market share they have. What is market share? That’s the number of listings they have and the number of buyers they represent compared to other brokers. You want a broker that has high market share because that gives you credibility. The more signs a broker has in yards makes that broker more recognizable. Prospective clients want an agent they can trust. And market share helps to solidify that trust.
When you visit brokers for the purpose of choosing where to put your real estate license, ask lots of questions. Have questions written down so you don’t forget something. And remember this…the broker is evaluating you just like you are evaluating the broker. Don’t be nervous, but do be professional.