How to choose a real estate broker?


There are three types of brokerages. Those that will sap your energy and will negatively affect your ability to run your business, brokerages that are neutral and will not do anything for you one way or the other and brokerage that will help you grow your business either through targeted training, leads or by helping you grow your team. I prefer to think that everyone will want to stick with the brokerage that will add to what you do.

As you moving forward in your career, your needs and the needs of your business are changing.

When you first start and for your first year, you main priority is getting skilled. My first requirement for a brokerage is training availability. Normally you have to pay for quality real estate training. Some brokerages provide it for free. Look for a place where there are training courses that you don’t to pay for. This will help you develop your business when you are most vulnerable - your first year.

It is not going to be all smooth sailing in your second year. Even after all the training you got and especially if the market is changing. At this point though, you have learned the ropes and can function in some areas of the business with confidence.

Second year is when you need to step it up. If you have been mostly working with buyers, it is time to expand your skill set and start woking with sellers. If you have been working with leases, this is a good time to start shifting to the buy and sell transactions. By now I am hoping, you have already attended all the training offered by your brokerage and either need to start taking those classes again or looking for an external inspiration and mentorship. It does not have to be external to your brokerage though. You must have formed some relationships with fellow agents at the office. If there are agents more successful than you are, it is a good time to start taking those relationships to another level. Don’t view them as competition. I suggest you look at your communication as professional networking. Take them out to lunch, talk to them on your coffee break, get them into your mastermind group. Another words, pick their brains and see what you can apply in your business. So the second point in the brokerage selection process is the quality of the people they attract. This will help you with your business beyond your first year and those relationships will be beneficial for many years to come.

Now you got your first year training under your belt, you have explored and developed your professional relationships and you are ready to start expanding beyond yourself. If you are beefing up your admin team, the candidates may come from either within the brokerage or external sources. If you are trying to grow your sales team, you will be best served, if the brokerage is helping you with the recruits. At this point they know you, how you perform and who you aspire to be. They also have access to everyone who is considering joining the brokerage or just joined. And if the brokerage is open to that, they can be a very effective matchmaker. They can pass you candidates that are potentially a good fit for your team. Whether the brokerage will do it, will depend on the business model they run. If they are trying to get every new recruit into their own paid coaching program and the split that the agents have is more beneficial for the brokerage if the agents are independent vs. working on a team - they will not be helping you with the hiring process. It is up to you to find out this information before hand, so that you can make forward looking decisions on whether this brokerage is going to serve your needs in the long term. Therefor your brokerage selection requirement is about them helping you hire people on your team.

Now you are at a point in your career where you are building a team and have to start looking at your profit and loss statements closely. This is where additional services that your brokerage company is providing you with become important. Are they fielding your sign calls or relying on their IVR, preparing your marketing materials, helping you run your social media campaigns, giving your new construction leads or helping your promote your exclusive listings? You have to make sure that the list of the brokerage offers (if any), is serving your needs and helping you grow your business. The list of these services will help you determine if you need to hire admin people and what they responsibilities will be. This is another important consideration when deciding on the brokerage at this stage of your career.

And the last one is the split. Are you on percentages or a fixed cap based split? What are the differences between what you as an individual agent have to pay the company and what your team members have to pay? Is there a profit sharing plan, when you bring new recruits into the company? It is not in the beginning that you will feel the bite of an unbalanced split or a lack of consideration from the brokerage in accommodating your cash flow needs. It is when you are running a team of your own that it starts hurting your bottomline and hampering your growth. I am personally in favour of working with brokerages where there is a cap on the split. I believe that my team and I have unlimited growth potential. If this is so and you, as a team lead, have the talent and the wherewithal to grow your business by 30% every year, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to your brokerage with a “no cap" setup will not make you happy in the long term.

You may consider adding a number of finer points to what is important to you in a brokerage your select. It could be the size of the company, the geographic market they service, clout they carry with luxury property buyers, speed with which the accounting department takes care of your commission payments, corporate vibe, charisma of the broker manager, quality of the offices or office locations, etc. These will change from agent to agent. I do insist that you are very considerate about the 5 points I offered to you to make sure you take into consideration your needs for growth and the company you end up selecting is willing and able to accommodate them.

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