Selecting a Broker Can Make or Break Your Real Estate Career
As you go through the process of getting your real estate license, you will need to find a sponsoring broker before you can begin practicing real estate. Choosing a broker is one of the first big steps of your real estate career because your managing broker will be crucial in your journey to become a successful real estate agent. Think of your sponsoring broker as your real estate mentor. They’ll provide you with support and information about the day-to-day duties of being a real estate agent and help you launch your professional career.
Since the broker you choose will represent you (and you’ll represent them), it’s important to find the right fit. To help make this undertaking easier, we’ve provided the main steps in the process that will help you choose a broker that matches your career goals and style of working.
Inman recommends that “if you’re starting the brokerage search from scratch, you’ll want to decide whether you’d like to work for one of the national chains (Re/Max, Keller Williams, etc.) or join up with a boutique brokerage in your local market.” At a boutique firm, you may receive more personal attention but due to their smaller size, you could make fewer sales right out of the gate. With a larger, more national firm, you will likely do more grunt work and receive less personalized mentoring but their expansive network will lead you to a higher rate of sales down the road.
No matter which route you take, you will need to have a strong work ethic. Many new agents work multiple jobs in the beginning because their sales can’t yet support their lifestyles. However, if you’re able to put in the hard work in the first stages of your career, your broker can help you become a successful real estate agent. With the right broker and valuable networks, “deals that would have been otherwise impossible for new agents to pull off are suddenly attainable.”
Once you know the type of firm you want to work for, you’ll want to research the area where you want to practice real estate and look for potential brokerage firms. In order to find a brokerage that reflects your values, interests, and market niche, you must know the right things to look for and inquire about when you are considering a brokerage. For a selection of in-depth questions to ask a potential managing broker, check out this resource from the Real Estate Education Center. As Bernadette Starzee says, be sure to “align yourself with a knowledgeable, reputable broker that will have your best interests at heart.”
Knowing that your budget might be tight when you first start out as a real estate agent, it’s essential to plan as much as possible around your broker’s rate. Commission rates widely vary depending on the brokerage firm you select. Brokers can charge fifty percent or more of an agent’s commission or simply ask for a flat fee of $200 or less per closing. Your first instinct might be to choose the broker with the cheapest rate (maybe even try to keep 100% of your commission) so that you can pocket more on your first sales, but that won’t necessarily lead you to success. One real estate investor comments that “100 percent of nothing is still nothing. Many agents who choose the broker that charges low fees fail because they never sell any houses.”
No matter how much you may want to focus on finding the broker with the best commission split, Zillow advises that “there’s more to real estate brokerages than the split...Do your homework, analyze your specific needs and priorities, and then pick the right brokerage for you.” This brokerage will hopefully be a balance of the things you care about most in your career. To find the right broker, you must know what you want in your career, seek transparency from the firm, pay attention to the commission split (but don’t prioritize it), and find the right culture fit for you.