Congratulations! You’ve passed the state exam and are a licensed real estate agent. You will now need to select a broker to work with. Your broker will activate your license, provide training, and pay you your commissions after a sale. But how do you select a broker?
When looking for a broker that works with new licensees, don’t just sign up with the first one you meet, and don’t choose one because they are close to where you live. You will spend most of your time outside of the office so proximity to your home should not be a priority. Select several firms to interview- that’s right, you are doing the interviewing. Do your homework to make sure the broker will be a good fit for you.
Questions to Ask
The following list of questions is what you should be asking each broker you meet with. You may have additional questions you wish to ask but make sure you cover these questions during your interview.
- What is the training program like? This is probably the most important question for a new licensee. A good training program is vital to starting off on the right track. Training should cover the following areas: Technical- accessing the MLS, creating a listing, drafting a presentation, etc. Contracts and Paperwork- what is required for each type of contract, listing offer, closing paperwork, etc? Sales guidelines and follow up procedures- how to approach initial contacts and follow up procedures. If the broker has a mentorship program- an experienced agent is paired with you- even better.
- How many licensees does the broker supervise? Do you want to work in a large, busy agency or with a smaller firm? There are pros and cons to both.
- What is their compensation package? This doesn’t mean salary and benefits. As a licensee you are typically an independent contractor. In many brokerages, you are responsible for finding your own business and you won’t get a paycheck until you make a sale. And then your broker will take a percentage of the fee. This amount will vary depending on your agreement with the broker. You want to ask what the percentage breakdown is, whether there is an annual cap, and what that cap is.
- What types of fees do they charge? Brokers can charge a fee for using their space, supplies, signs, etc. This amount and how it is paid will vary depending on the broker.
- What is the average annual commission or sales volume for affiliated licensees? This will vary quite a bit but it will give you a good idea for comparison purposes.
- How available is the broker for questions? Are they generally easy to contact? Or is there other management or a mentor on site to answer questions? You want to make sure you are doing everything by the book, especially when you are starting out.
- Do they require floor time and how does it work? Many brokerages assign their agents the responsibility for handling all phone calls and office visitors for a specified period of time. The person “on floor” often has the opportunity to meet new clients if the caller or visitor does not request a specific agent.
- How are leads funneled inside the firm? If a random caller needs help, how is that call routed?
- What is their web presence like? Look up their website and navigate through it. What is their other presence on social media like- facebook, twitter, etc?
Check to see how the firm ranks against other firms and ask around about their reputation.
Your independent contractor agreement should spell out the terms of your affiliation with the broker. Ask for a review copy to consider. You should also ask to see a copy of the office policies and procedures.
Once you have met with all of the brokers you are considering, review all of the information you have gathered. Choose the broker that you feel will be the best fit for your goals and needs. If you find you are not satisfied with your choice you can always move to another broker. Just remember to follow the guidelines and notify the DBPR within 10 days of the change.
For more information on Real Estate expenses and what it means to be a contract employee visit our blog Real Estate Expenses