Selecting a real estate broker is an important decision when you’re a freshly minted agent. Most states require new real estate agents to work under an established broker for a certain period of time. And the brokerage you choose will have a huge influence on the beginning of your real estate career.
Finding a great brokerage can help you build a solid professional foundation, but the wrong one could send your career trajectory skewing off-course. So how do you decide which broker is right for you? Here are some tips for scouting out your perfect match.
Run the numbers on the split
The commission split is probably the first thing you want to know when evaluating a broker. After all, the split determines how much money you’re bringing home at the end of the day. A typical split for new agents is 50/50 but the numbers can vary, depending on the brokerage.
Some brokers offer a 100% commission split, meaning you get to keep all of your commission, but there’s a catch. In that scenario, the broker would charge you a monthly fee instead. If you’re a brand-new agent, the first split arrangement might make sense if you don’t have the cash flow to pay the fee until you get your business off the ground.
A good way to evaluate a split arrangement is to compile your expenses. Add up what you’ll need to cover your personal and business expenses each month. You can then use that baseline income figure as a guide when assessing split models.
Ask yourself what you need most
It’s not just about the split. Every real estate broker brings something different to the table. The key is to find one that’s going to fill your most pressing needs. What those are depends on your personal priorities. For some agents, that may include additional on-the-job training. For others, it means finding a broker who can serve as a mentor while you build your career.
One thing to remember, however, is that a higher level of support may mean higher costs for you. A brokerage with a lot of services may also take a larger chunk of your commission in exchange. Ultimately, you have to decide what you’re willing to invest to get the kind of support that matters to you most.
Don’t forget the extras
Working for a broker often comes with a laundry list of perks. If you’re working with a national firm, for example, they likely have a vast network of contacts that you can tap into. Or if you opt for a smaller boutique brokerage, you might be able to leverage their local connections.
A broker can also make marketing your business easier. Rather than spending time and money setting up a real estate agent website of your own, you’ll probably get a page on your broker’s existing site. This can generate more exposure since you’re using an already-established site and help build your credibility when you’re still the new kid on the block.
Another benefit a broker can provide is a home base to work from. While you will likely spend most of your time outside the office, you may still prefer to have a dedicated spot where you can store files and documents.
Get a feel for the culture
Choosing a broker you mesh with is a must. It’s important to get a good sense of the company culture. This can tell you a lot about if you’ll fit in and thrive at a particular real estate brokerage.
Interview the broker to get a feel for their personality. Ask what procedures they have for facilitating communication, goal-setting and performance tracking. If possible, ask the broker’s agents what they like best about working there. Try to nail down what the vibe is like — and if it’s what you’re looking for. Do you want a place that feels like a family, or a competitive environment that will push you to succeed?
A larger brokerage with national brand recognition will likely have formalized processes in place and a clearly defined culture. At a smaller local firm, the culture depends on the handful of agents that work there. It’s up to you to decide what best suits who you are and how you like to work.
The bottom line
Like your real estate career, finding a real estate broker isn’t always a straightforward path. It can take some time and effort on your part to find the right fit. If you can, interview with several brokerages to keep your options open and explore what’s out there. These tips should help you narrow the field so you find the right place to start your career.