Meeting a potential new broker is a little like a first date — both of you are putting your best face forward and wooing each other with lots of sweet talk. However, in the cold light of day, you need to know what it will be like to work together day in and day out.
When talking with a recruiting broker, it’s important to ensure that you are asking all of the right questions to give yourself the best possible chance of starting strong in your new brokerage.
If you’re new to real estate, you’re starting from scratch, so you’ll want to make sure you’re building a strong foundation. If you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ll want to ensure a potential new brokerage will support what you’ve already built.
Ideally, you’re looking for support, stability and the opportunity to invest in your professional growth and development.
Here are 10 questions you should be asking before you choose a brokerage.
1. What kind of support and mentoring do you offer?
This is especially important if you are a new agent, but anytime you are in transition, it’s good to consider what kind of help and guidance you’ll need.
Maybe you’re moving to a new market. Maybe you are going full-time for the first time. In any case, the opportunity to learn from, and with, a more experienced agent — or one who can help give your career a boost — might be just what you’re looking for.
2. What kind of ongoing training do you provide?
Contract changes, transaction management software, cloud-based design apps — there are many new technologies to leverage and facts to know, no matter how experienced you are.
Find out if your new brokerage offers training in-house or provides funds for continuing education classes at the local association.
3. What costs do you cover?
Some brokerages start you out with business cards, signage and a personalized website. Some provide little or no startup support for agents who are new to the brokerage.
It’s vital for you to know what costs the brokerage covers so that you can determine how much it will cost you to join or make the switch to their office.
4. What type of administrative support do you provide?
Some brokerages offer a great deal of administrative support, like transaction management, lead gen, property descriptions for your listings and more. Others provide a copy machine and not much else.
You must know what your new brokerage’s setup will be, especially if you’re used to getting a great deal of support at your current office.
5. What E&O coverage do you provide?
Some brokers pay for E&O coverage out of agent fees while some require agents to maintain sufficient coverage on their own.
Understand the policy provided by your new broker, and ensure that it is enough to protect you in the event of liability.
6. What marketing do you do for the brokerage? What marketing materials do you provide to agents?
If your brokerage has a big marketing presence or a distinguished reputation in the local area, that might be sufficient to help you connect with new clients on a regular basis.
However, in some offices, it’s every agent for himself or herself. You might be looking for a digital marketing platform such as a website or printed materials like flyers or direct mail items.
Develop a marketing plan for your real estate business, and find out if your broker provides any support.
7. What transaction fees do you charge? What are the commission splits?
Although commission splits can vary from brokerage to brokerage or agent to agent, in many cases transaction fees are fixed.
Make sure you know what fees your broker charges on each type of transaction. Determine what the commission split is and how it changes depending on specific circumstances.
For example, if your broker provides an initial lead, how does that alter the commission split?
8. What recurring agent fees do you charge? What do they cover?
Some brokerages charge a monthly fee to all agents while others occasionally charge for E&O or specific items on an as-needed basis.
Find out not only when and what your broker charges, but also what you can expect to receive in return for that charge.
9. How do you support new agents to stay in the business long-term?
Many new real estate agents leave the business within the first year or two. In many cases, part of the reason is a lack of support from more experienced agents or brokers as they are starting out.
Ensure that the office you choose has programs in place to help support your goals and to get you up and producing quickly so that you can stay in the industry for the long haul.
10. Do you offer floor time or have floor time requirements?
Although some offices have done away with floor time, it is still a staple in some markets — especially those in high-end or resort communities.
For experienced agents, it can sometimes feel like wasted time, while it offers a welcome opportunity to connect with leads for newer agents. Find out if your office makes floor time available or if it’s required at all.
You don’t want to spend money to switch to a new office and then find out it’s a bad fit. Remember, even though you might be excited about all of the great things you’re hearing at that new brokerage, it’s essential that you take the time to ask the right questions before making a career-altering decision.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr