New Realtors: How Do You Choose the Right Real Estate Company to Work For?

How do you choose the right real estate company to work for? 

This is the most important decision you will make as you start your real estate career.  Your choice can end your career before it even starts if you pick the wrong company to work for.  The first two years being a Realtor are the most important.  You are building the foundation for your business.  I know when I first started I was fortunate to work for a good company and I was busy, I closed deals, I had clients.  I was able to start building the snowball for my business.  But I am meeting a lot of new Agents who are in a bad situation and unfortunately they are thinking of quitting in their first year which really disappoints me. 

What I am going to discuss is applicable to new Agents and to Agents who need to switch companies in the future or maybe right now.   

What are the most common mistakes Realtors make when choosing a company?  These are the three biggest mistakes in my opinion.  — 

1.  They focus too much on the pay structure and splits.  This is important but in the first two years you need experience, you need training, you need mentoring, you need support, you need guidance, you need a company that stands behind you, you need a Managing Broker who is available to help you when you need help.  Let’s say you negotiate a great compensation plan and you get a split of 75%.  Well, 75% of nothing is still nothing.  I want you to seriously think about this.  You need to work for a good company which can help you build business for the long-term.  Yes, I get it, money is important but you if you jeopardize your entire career for short term gain then what’s the point.  Big picture, in a job you earn money and learn skills.  Early on as a Realtor you need to learn and acquire skills—much more important in the long run than focusing on just making money the first year.

2.  They end up working for a company where they know someone personally and they don’t research the company and the Managing Broker properly.  Just because you’re referred or you know someone working at a company does not mean the company is right for you. 

3.  They don’t realize they have options and choose the first company that WANTS them. You have leverage.  Companies want you. You have choices. Always remember this. 

Here are 7 tips on the type of companies to avoid: 

 1.  An office where the Managing Broker is not active in the business.  I feel it’s ideal to have a Managing Broker with experience and expertise in the business.  If you are talking to a company and the Managing Broker is not coming to work every day then run away!!!!

2.  A small office with only a handful of Agents.  I feel when you start out it’s best to be in an environment where you have other active Agents who are doing deals helping Buyers and Sellers.   One of the best ways to meet new customers is through hosting an Open House and if the office is small and only has a few listings then this is not good for you as a new Agent.

3.  The office has a bunch of Agents but none of them are doing transactions.  Find out during the interview how the other Agents are doing.  How many transactions are they doing?  You want to be in an office where there is energy and business happening.  You don’t want to be in a dead end office and company.

4.  The company has no website or digital presence.  Ask if other Agents are getting leads from the internet in some way?

5. Ask about floor time—how productive is it?  If there is not much activity then be aware.

6.  The company has no formal training or mentoring program for new Agents. They believe in the “shadow” system of just following experienced Agents. This does not work at all for new Agents.  An Agent who has been in the business for 20+ years can’t help new Agents because they have an established business through their sphere and get a lot of business from repeat customers and referrals.  The only value here is learning the process of being a Realtor going from the Offer/Contract stage all the way to the closing.  But new Agents need to learn and focus on generating new business.

7.  The selling style of the Broker does not fit your style—if I had to work for a Broker who mandated cold calls to FSBO’s and expired listings, door knocking neighborhoods and calling people in my sphere constantly I would have hated it. This type of selling does not fit my personality, for better or for worse, I am not wired that way anymore. I did my fair share of cold calling in my early years of selling when I got out of college.

This is what you need to look for in a company—I have 11 bullet points.

1.  An active Managing Broker. Are you getting the point? I don’t know how many times I have said this.  I have been a Realtor since 2003 and I still go to my Managing Broker for advice, to talk strategy and review contract issues.  It’s great having someone you can rely on for help and guidance and for me it’s nice to just talk things out sometimes on complex situations.

2. They have to have a training and mentoring program for new Agents.  This is an absolute must have!!  Real estate school is great teaching you how to pass the real estate exam but you need training on how to succeed and build your business as a Realtor.  I am currently teaching a two day class for new Agents in our offices.  This is a great value.  What type of ongoing training and mentoring is provided?  This is so important.

3.  Find a company where other Agents in the office are supportive and helpful.  Real estate is an individual sport but you want to be in office where other Agents are willing to help you.  What type of office camaraderie do they have?  Do they do fun events as an office to build cooperation and a team atmosphere?  For example, our office in Louisville has an annual Bocce Ball tournament—which I have won in the past—we get together at our local city park—a Lender supplies lunch and we all play and have fun.  It gets pretty competitive—you know how Realtors are.  Our company always has a Holiday Party and we have at least 2-3 Professional Development days where our company, RE/MAX Alliance, brings in national speakers—recently we had Richard Robbins come to our meeting in Denver and he was awesome.

4.  Admin and Office staff supporting the Agents with filing contracts and other day to day activities.  Again, this is so important because you’re new and the office staff is so helpful in getting you through the paperwork process on Contracts.

5.  A good local reputation and ideally a national brand recognition.  One of the things I love about working at RE/MAX is we have national advertising which supports my direct marketing.

6.  How is floor time?  Do Agents get calls or walk-ins? How busy is it?  It would be nice to work for a company where you get practice working the floor and also get new business from.

7.  A company which has a digital presence.  Good website.  Will you get leads from the internet?  Do they offer you a personal Agent page?  This would be ideal.

8.  Physical office space looks professional and presentable.  Access to conference rooms for meeting your clients.

9.  A good printer, scanner and wi-fi.  A must have nowadays.

10.  Is the office easily accessible for clients to come meet you?

11. Lastly, don’t worry about getting a big office for yourself.  As long as you get a cube or a desk that is sufficient but make sure to get your own space so you can come to work every day.  This is very important, when you’re new I feel you need to work at the office and not work from home.  You learn so much from experienced Agents and the office staff which you will not get from working at home. 

OK, that’s it.  Thanks for stopping by and good luck.

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