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Selecting the ideal real estate broker to work with and being aware of the proper questions to ask are the first steps to a successful real estate career. Real estate brokerages differ significantly from one another in terms of what they will provide you, as well as in terms of commission splits, expectations, and culture.

The best commission split is often the deciding factor for new real estate agents, but that isn’t always the wisest course of action, especially when you’re just starting out. We strongly advise that you investigate each brokerage before meeting with them and meet with at least three different ones.

Once you find the three (or four) that look the most appealing to you, schedule a time to meet and use the following FAQs to evaluate your broker.

The initial queries might appear straightforward. To evaluate the organization and make sure they share the goals and objectives you aim to achieve in your real estate career, they are still crucial to consider as you prepare for your interview. Additionally, they include details about the size, rules, culture, and general health of the brokerage and its employees.

1. How Many Agents Work Here?

A great response to this question depends upon your preferences and how you wish to conduct your business. However, a wishy-washy answer is a red flag. The broker-in-charge should know how many agents work under the brokerage. It shows an attention to detail and a responsibility to the licensees and clients who do transactions with their firm.

The number of agents at each brokerage depends on the type of brokerage where you interview. For example, boutique brokerages may have three agents, while franchises have thousands nationwide. A boutique brokerage is probably the best choice if you work in a small town and know your agent colleagues. On the other hand, if you’re in a large metropolitan area and wish to connect with agents throughout the region, a franchise is a better option.

2. How Many Agents at This Brokerage Work Part Time & Full Time?

This question to ask a broker before joining provides an idea of the type of agents who work in a particular brokerage. A vague answer doesn’t give insightful information on the structure of the real estate firm. If your real estate career is a side hustle and the firm doesn’t want part-timers, it’s critical to know upfront.

This question can reveal the work habits of agents and lets you decide how you want to structure your schedule. For example, if you intend to work part-time, you probably don’t want to join a brokerage where every agent works 40 hours or more weekly. Considering the expectations and how the brokerage will fit into your lifestyle is critical.

3. What’s the Average Years of Experience of Your Agents?

While hearing that most agents in a brokerage are at a similar stage in their careers may sound appealing to a newly licensed real estate agent, joining a firm with other new agents can cause you to miss mentorship opportunities. Furthermore, if the brokerage is established but the team is young, it may indicate a high level of turnover due to poor management.

Statistics show that 87% of new agents fail within the first five years. To succeed, surround yourself with experienced agents who understand a competitive market and selling skills and can offer mentorship. Working with knowledgeable real estate agents can provide useful insights if you are new.

4. How Long Have Your Agents Stayed at This Brokerage?

If most agents have stayed with the brokerage for only a few years, ask follow-up questions like, “Why have your agents chosen to leave after two years?” or “What reasons have agents stated for leaving your firm?” You might discover that the company has a legitimate reason for its high turnover rates. For example, some may have retired, left because of poor management, or had little opportunity for growth.

Although agents are not required to stay with the same brokerage for their entire careers, selecting a brokerage that can help you start and grow your career for many years is highly beneficial. This question is a great way to assess how well the brokerage can support agents with varying experience levels.

5. Is There a Company Policy Manual?

Every business should have a policies and procedures manual. If they don’t, it’s a big red flag. It shows a lack of organization and accountability. It should provide information about fees, caps on commission splits for your listings, and lead distribution.

Read Also: Understanding Mortgage Terminology

Before entering into a contract agreement, it’s critical to read their manual because it also highlights the brokerage’s standards, values, rules, and expectations. Since you’ll be aligned with this brokerage, you should have similar beliefs and visions for your business.

With the first 5 top FAQs out of the way, let’s now talk about some other very important questions to ask when choosing or working with a broker.

6. Are There Mandatory Meetings?

Real estate agents are independent contractors and do not have the same duties and expectations as employees. You will, however, be responsible for adhering to specific rules from your sponsored brokerage, such as mandatory meetings.

Mandatory meetings are helpful if you like meeting with your coworkers and are looking forward to receiving training and developing mentor connections. Meetings can also be valuable for observing the inner workings of your brokerage.

7. What Is Your Involvement in the Community?

Real estate agents and brokers are busy people. However, real estate is a people business, so if the brokerage isn’t involved in the community to some degree, be wary. It could be hosting an event once a year, participating in community events with the whole team, and attending other broker’s events.

Community involvement is a great platform to boost your reputation and influence, establish connections, get people to know you better, and generate new leads. However, community involvement is about helping other people first and, only after that, promoting yourself and doing it subtly. You don’t want it to appear that you are using noble causes solely for business purposes.

8. Does Your Brokerage Have Social Gatherings?

Same as the above question, if the firm and its agents are not encouraging social events, be careful. A brokerage must host and attend social events because the real estate industry requires networking, and it provides a way to strengthen the bond between the team. However, hosting and attending social gatherings should not be mandatory, so watch for that too.

It’s an excellent way to socialize with your colleagues outside of the office and network with others in a relaxed atmosphere. Some social gatherings include team building fun and games or are for holidays, where everyone can share in the season’s spirit.

9. What Is the Company Culture Like?

This question reveals the company’s values. Although one meeting cannot reveal everything, you can observe interactions inside the workplace. Asking about company culture also includes asking about workplace diversity. Think about the culture in which you want to work. Spend some time at a brokerage or interview other agents and brokers to determine if it has the culture you’re looking for.

The most successful companies value the differences among their staff and agents and understand that diverse experiences and skill sets benefit the whole. Be aware that some brokerages have more rivalry than supporting efficient and effective work in an enjoyable environment. While healthy competition between real estate agents is regular, it should not be misconstrued for bad attitudes, fighting, or situations that cause agents to leave.

Remember, employee turnover is an excellent indicator of whether the company has a healthy or toxic culture. Employees often stay longer if the culture is healthy since they are content and happy. Opportunities for continued growth are exciting, satisfying, and people tend to stay. A company with a harmful or toxic culture will have a higher turnover rate.

10. What Are the Brokerage’s Short- & Long-term Goals?

All successful businesses have clear goals that they want to attain. The brokerage you choose should similarly strive for development at every step. Pay attention to how the broker speaks about their aims and future ambitions. It can reveal a lack of organization and apathy.

The firm’s goals should align with the vision you have for your business. For example, if you want to be a listing agent, you’ll need your brokerage to have similar aspirations and training to help you meet these goals.

As a new or experienced real estate agent entering a new firm, it’s crucial to know how the brokerage intends to support you and your business for success. These questions to ask a broker when interviewing help assess if they offer training programs, administrative support, technology, and other resources for you to thrive and acquire the skills to succeed in real estate.

11. What Kind of Training Is Provided?

You want a firm that’s invested in its agents and provides the necessary tools and resources, so steer clear of brokerages without training and support. Training opportunities covering completing a real estate transaction, communicating with clients, and generating leads are vital for success. Experienced real estate agents will also need training if they encounter new technology, services, and policies to develop their skills further and update their knowledge.

If nothing is offered, you’re either winging it or paying out of pocket for expensive coaching and mentoring. It shows a lack of the broker’s investment in its agents and likely high turnover. Some brokerages have pre-established training programs for new agents; at other brokerages, it falls upon the agent to find a mentor.

12. Are There Mentorship Opportunities?

Many brokerages don’t mentor new agents, but it’s a nice perk when considering a new brokerage. As previously mentioned, the level of training and support from a brokerage indicates the investment in its agents and is vital to your success. If there’s no official program, inquire about the broker’s leadership style and management experience. A managing broker who takes delight in the team’s success is a solid predictor of a high-performing real estate firm.

Having a mentor will be one of the essential tools in your kit. A mentor who is familiar with your industry and target market will provide you with relevant and practical knowledge, like real estate trends and how to generate leads. Some brokerages offer a six- to 12-month mentoring program.

13. Who Do I Speak With if I Have Client- or Transaction-related Questions?

The brokerage you choose should provide a system where agents can get answers to their questions and learn how to handle challenging situations. This can be a managing or principal broker, mentor, or seasoned agent. If it’s not the manager, ask about the mentor or agent’s level of expertise.

Agents of all experience levels will have questions related to clients and transactions. They may run into issues or situations that they’re unfamiliar with and need advice to navigate their way through the process without unnecessary difficulties.

14. What Does Your Firm Offer to New Real Estate Agents?

Agents entering a new brokerage will need tools to penetrate the market and identify opportunities to help them navigate the industry. While brokerages aren’t expected to provide anything to their incoming agents, many will include a few items to entice them to join the firm and help get their agents off the ground. Here are some standard real estate agent success support tools that many firms offer:

  • Free leads
  • Continuing education (CE) courses for credit
  • Marketing stipends
  • Access to the firm’s listing
  • Business cards
  • Headshots
  • No desk fees

15. Is There Administrative Support?

Most brokerages employ real estate assistants or administrators to assist with paperwork, answering phones, arranging appointments, organizing supplies, and other duties. This will save valuable time and effort and help you stay organized. Be careful to obtain thorough information regarding the administrative tools and assistance that will be provided to assist you in balancing your job.

Many real estate brokerages don’t have a real estate assistant but are still great real estate companies to work for. Suppose the brokerage does not have an assistant. In that case, the real estate broker and the agents will be responsible for multiple tasks, which is an important consideration when joining a new firm.

Even though it could be challenging to ascertain the environment and corporate culture of a real estate agency, it is imperative to understand as much as you can in advance. When problems develop or when you want to grow your firm, real estate agents need a supportive atmosphere in addition to working independently most of the time. Your success and enjoyment may greatly differ depending on the real estate broker you select!

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