How Do I Select the Right Broker to Work For?
If you’re just starting your real estate career, deciding which broker to work for is extremely important. A strong start from a supportive broker can make a huge difference in a new agent’s success and career satisfaction. Some larger, nationally known brokers such as Real Living offer comprehensive training programs for new real estate agents. Others – particularly smaller brokers – have a more informal but nonetheless effective approach to helping new agents build initial success.
Initial ResearchBefore you choose which real estate brokers to talk with, do your homework. Remember, your business success may depend on it. Most experts recommend that as you search for a potential broker you do the following
- Consider what you know about the real estate brokers in your area from a consumer perspective – who has the most yard signs, advertising, open houses and more?
- Search the Internet for brokers in your area. While many good brokers have poorly designed, ineffective websites, a broker with an effective, well-designed site is generally forward-thinking and more innovative. In other words, a well-designed, easy-to-use site filled with information shows the broker cares about service and attracting new customers.
- Make a list of well-known national/international real estate brands and review their sites for information about their local offices and general information on their site.
- Ask local professionals about brokers in the area, particularly real estate agents, but also firms that work with real estate brokers, such as mortgage, title, home inspectors, real estate lawyers and more.
- Conduct research at the National Association of Realtors website . You’ll find articles, statistics, and current news about real estate brokers and the industry.
Understand the Broker’s BusinessOnce you’ve identified the reputable brokers in your area, learn more about what each offers their agents, and how they run their businesses. Items to investigate – either before you talk with the broker or during an interview - include:
- Determine if the broker offers training or mentoring programs to help new agents get up to speed, and to help active agents sharpen skills or attain new designations.
- Find out what type of training their real estate brand offers, such as Real Living’s comprehensive training.
- If possible, find out how many agents the broker works with, their levels of experience, and how long they tend to stay (and how long they have already been) with the company. High levels of turnover can indicate potential problems.
- Define what the broker expects from you from a schedule perspective. Some brokers require agents to be in the office a set number of hours for “floor time”, or to handle open houses on behalf of other agents. If flexible hours are important to you, this is an extremely important area to investigate.
- Ask about how the broker handles referrals and leads. Inquiries from potential customers can come from Internet listings, office visits, relocation companies, phone calls and any number of other sources.
- Find out what kind of marketing the broker does – in print, by mail, through television and radio, at community events, on the Internet and more. Ask if you will be responsible for any marketing fees, such as newspaper placement of listings, and what the broker or brand can do to help you market yourself.
- Ask about office technology. Some brokers require agents to buy all their electronic equipment, computers and software while others allow shared use of some assets.
- Review the broker’s benefits package. Many smaller brokers are unable to provide participation in medical or retirement packages. Real Living brokers and agents can take advantage of the best benefits in the real estate industry.
For more advice on what you should ask a broker, you may wish to talk to a local Real Living Sales Professional. Other resources you can turn to can be found at the US Department of Labor and the National Association of Realtors.