I’m a newly licensed broker, now what?
As a licensed real estate agent your next step is to find a broker to sponsor you. A real estate agent must practice and conduct brokerage services under their sponsoring broker only. Brokerages for the most part are always looking to hire and recruit new agents. However, it is important for the agent to choose a company that will best assist in their overall development as a new professional in this industry.
National Chain Versus a Boutique Brokerage
There can be plenty of advantages for a new agent who chooses to hang their license with a larger and more well-known firm such as Coldwell Banker or Century 21. National chains provide a new agent with name and brand recognition. In an industry that relies on marketing, this recognition can help the agent generate sales leads. Larger brokerages can also provide access to better training materials and classes. A downside to working in a larger firm is that there is much more competition for floor time and often less individual one on one mentorship.
Boutique firms are much smaller offices and tend to specialize in one specific area or a more localized market. Less agents in the office leaves more time for hands on training, which can be very important to a new agent who does not have much industry experience. Smaller brokerages tend to lack in access to advertising resources in comparison to those available at a larger brokerage.
Choosing your Area
It’s not a bad idea to begin the search for a brokerage closest to home. There is a nice convenience factor of being close to the office especially for those last-minute appointments and client meetings. Driving by local brokerages allows an agent to get a better feel for the area, office environment or parking situation. Visiting the different brokerages to collect hiring printouts or to speak to active agents in the office can help provide new agents with a more thorough insight of the company and its values.
Interviewing with a Managing Broker
Now that the agent has narrowed down their search of various companies, it is time to set up meetings and interviews. Calling an office and setting up an interview is the easy part. These interviews can be more complex because it is not simply one sided. Brokerages want to know that their new hires will be a good fit for their business model, but newly licensed agents also need to have their questions addressed to ensure that the company will be a good fit for them also.
A few questions a new agent should keep in mind while interviewing is:
Does the company charge a desk fee or offer a commission split? A desk fee is a set monthly fee that some offices require each agent to pay regardless of their production. A commission split is an agreed upon percentage of every closed deal the agent agrees to share with the company. A typical commission split is 60/40 (agent/brokerage).
Training Plan –
What kind of programs and resources does the company provide new hires with? Do they provide hands on training or offer individual mentorship by pairing a new agent with an experienced agent?
Marketing Plan –
Does the company offer a certain annual budget per agent for marketing themselves and company? What resources are available to assist the agent with promoting their listings?
Is the office MLS affiliated? The multiple listings service is a huge database of home listings exclusively available to agents. There is an annual fee that agents will have to pay to utilize this service. All MLS affiliated offices require active agents to apply for a new membership.
Benefits Package –
What types of benefits are allotted to an agent as an employee (or independent contractor) with the company? This can vary from company to company and can help clarify the agent’s obligations to the company and vice versa.
Most newly licensed agents will switch companies at some point in their first year. This is not a bad decision. It gives the agent a chance to work in different real estate offices and environments. This inevitably helps the agent narrow down and select an area to specialize in the industry.