For real estate agents, finding the right brokerage should mean more than the split.
“When you consider the fact that over 50% of new licensees leave the business before the end of the first year and that over 87% leave before the end of the third year, you can see just how important your choice of broker can be,” wrote Robert L. Herd and Bruce A. Southstone, authors of “California Real Estate Practice,” 3rd edition.
“If you do not want to be just another ‘attrition statistic,’ then you must choose your broker with great care,” they wrote.
Real estate agents looking for a professional home should know what they want in a brokerage and ask about a company’s culture, broker availability, and training and support, according to Adorna O. Carroll, SRS, CRB, RENE, 2016 president of the Real Estate Business Institute.
“Analyze your specific needs, expectations, and priorities before you interview, so that you can be prepared with targeted questions to help find the right brokerage for you,” Carroll said.
Use what you learn to your advantage
Tracy Vatnsdal, CRS, GRI, Realtor/Broker, F.C. Tucker Co., Carmel, Ind., said real estate agents should look at what they want from their brokers.
“Support and development? Systems to improve your brokerage? Or a streamlined version of this where you believe you have the model and the tools, but you need the place/name to land?” Vatnsdal said.
“It’s a question of indy vs. franchise in some cases, where indy is the independent brokerage with less to offer but perhaps more take-home because of light overhead. Franchises all have a set fee on every transaction in addition to ‘desk cost’ (think booth rental for a hairdresser).”
Seasoned agents need help, too
“Good training and coaching is the cornerstone for a successful real estate career, even for seasoned veterans,” Carroll said. “The industry is in a constant state of change with new technologies and different client expectations.”
And even though agents work independently most of the time, they work closely with their brokers, office staff, and other agents.
According to Carroll, a good culture fit can make a difference in satisfaction and enjoyment.
Broker availability is a key ingredient for a successful career as a real estate agent. Why? Getting timely responses from the broker is a reasonable expectation and important to an agent’s real estate business. Agents might have to go beyond the interview to uncover this strength or weakness in a brokerage. Carroll suggested agents ask agents at that office how they get time with the broker when they need it.
Services and support can vary greatly among brokerages, and even among individual offices within a franchise, according to Carroll.
“Make sure you understand what a brokerage offers in terms of tools and support to ensure it meets your needs and expectations,” she said.
According to Herd and Southstone, many firms have formal training schools that all new licensees are required to attend.
“Some have mentor programs whereby the new licensee is assigned to a knowledgeable, experienced salesperson for the earlier of six months, three transactions, or some other criteria,” they wrote.
“This is a better way to enter the real estate brokerage business as the licensee will shadow someone attending to the day-to-day tasks of generating leads, presenting offers, and so on.”
Finally, it’s important agents uncover business opportunities before starting with a brokerage.
“Be sure to understand and factor in the potential costs of leads provided by the brokerage and where they will come from,” Carroll said. “Some offices distribute leads internally, have relocation departments, offer ‘floor time’ and provide tools to help agents increase their business.”
Finding the right brokerage can make or break careers
A broker for 25 years, Vatnsdal said an agent’s choice of broker is not only a business decision, but it also becomes one’s culture, one’s family.
“Because we work so many hours, and this is not a 9-to-5 [job], it’s important to choose based on your current and your future needs,” Vatnsdal said.
“Pick a broker who will grow with you — one who will train you up as a new agent, but continue to support you as your systems grow and you perfect your craft. Look for the diversified broker that supports both new and high-producing experienced agents.”