As a real estate consultant, I often answer all kinds of questions for agents about how they can become the best and what kinds of business practices will help improve their business. Recently, I have received many questions from agents about which real estate brokerage is right for them. Here are some of my suggestions for the best ways you can interview brokerages to make sure you find the one that best suits your needs:
Ask lots of questions and be an active listener
This is basically like a job interview, but in reverse. You are interviewing potential stockbrokers in the same way that companies would be interviewing potential job candidates. This may seem a bit strange at first, but asking the right questions will give you a much better chance of selecting the company that best meets your needs. Any good broker will appreciate this professional approach and will be impressed that you are exercising due diligence.
You also want to know the position of the company. They should consider its value versus its cost, if any, to bring it to their business. An agent, on the other hand, needs to assess what it takes from a brokerage to be successful.
Here are some questions to be prepared to ask potential stockbrokers:
Some interview points to consider
* Ask them what they look for in an agent. This is an important question. Some “assembly line” brokerages don’t really care who they buy from, and they just want a lot of numbers, with the idea that every person they recruit will have at least one family member or friend who will use their services. Conversely, brokerages seeking agents with specialties, minimal sales volume, a broker’s license, or other unique qualities and traits may be favorable to some agents. It is better for you if they are a little picky.
* Many stockbrokers are selling houses and not necessarily the office. If that’s the case, you need to find out if an alternate person is available to assist the agents. A leader who sells may not be a good environment for you, if you are looking for guidance. Be sure to ask what the turnaround time is if an agent calls with a question or needs to submit something for review.
* Most offices have some type of weekly or biweekly in-office trainings, periodic sales meetings, and home tours of the new listings purchased by the agents in that office. Find out how often these meetings, trainings, and home visits happen and if it’s part of what they do. This is important for some agents, but not for others.
* Find out if there is an organized tutoring program. If so, under what circumstances will an agent have to participate or volunteer? Will participation be based on time in business or volume of sales? Also, find out what the financial arrangement is for mentors and mentees.
If there isn’t an organized mentoring program, find out if someone is available to help a new agent learn the real estate business.
* Find out what the commission schedule is and request a copy. Make sure you understand because you will be paid according to this schedule. Also find out if there are tiers in that commission schedule based on your sales performance. Find out how this office handles sales bonuses.
* When considering costs to your business, it is important to find out what types of marketing materials are available from the brokerage for an agent to use. Some brokerages have marketing departments that will help you develop your brand, help you create your own pieces, or at least customize what the company already has, while other brokerages will leave you completely alone in terms of marketing. It is also important to request a refund for your marketing materials, including business cards.
* The number of agents is not as important as the support for them. It could also be a possible indication of the quality of the office based on how many agents are full-time or dual-career. Find out how long agents have been in this office and why they are leaving or staying. If this broker is 20 years old, but the average agent has only been here for 2 years and also has another full-time job, this can be a huge red flag that the office lacks the atmosphere of a productive office.
* E&O coverage stands for “Errors and Omissions”. This is insurance coverage that the agent must pay annually. This protects agents against any unintentional errors or omissions they may make when working with a consumer. Some companies pay for this insurance by the agent, but it is rare. Find out what the brokerage’s policy is.
* If a brick and mortar office environment is important to you, find out if there is a space for you to go into the office and use it as a work area. Depending on the company, the office space may be available for rent or only to the best producers. Conference and meeting rooms must be available to all meeting clients. Find out what office equipment is available for agent use in the office. Today, with Internet and cloud-based systems, you can do your business from anywhere, but some agents prefer to work in an office environment rather than work from a home office. Essentially, it is up to you. You just have to consider where you prefer to meet your clients and what kind of environment works best for you.
* If you prefer a physical office, the more professional the better. Check to see if there is a receptionist and if any telephone duty is required (on your part). If so, check if there are statistics on the results of the phone service concept in that office or if it really is just a replacement for a paid receptionist.
* Office listings and market share percentage will tell you how productive an office is. A busy office is good for phone tasks, open houses, and synergy. Having top agents in the office with well-earned designations like Lifetime Top Producer, CRS, or CRB, and others who took some time to earn and are respected in their field, is a mark of a good office that keeps the best people. quality. Ask what is the average annual income of an agent in the office. A top agent is traditionally defined as someone who makes a certain amount of money per year (example: a minimum income of $ 100,000 or someone who has more than 15 listings in a calendar year). An office market share of more than 70% is excellent. To be the best real estate agent, you need to be surrounded by quality. If your brokerage has 100 agents, only 30 listings, and is ranked 10 out of 10 for brokerage in your area, this may be a place for part-time agents or people exploring real estate as a hobby.
* Each state requires a certain amount of EC or continuing education. Does the company provide that online, in the office or not? Many brokerages now offer free CE online training available to their agents.
* It is required that each broker and office have an office manual and that each agent have a copy of it, either on paper or in electronic format. Make sure you know what the important policies are, such as the procedure for dividing compensation into transactions that have not yet been closed, in case you decide to leave.
* Most real estate agents are Independent Contracts and not Employees. What is the makeup of your brokerage?
* Does your broker give back to the community or support agents in need? Some brokerages will provide financial, emotional, and physical assistance to agents experiencing a disaster, illness, or catastrophe. If something happens where you are out of work for a few months, will your broker step in and help you fix things? Will they help your family? It may be important to you to find a company that has a good reputation in the community and has great respect for its agents personally.
* Interview the agents in the office and find out the answers to some of your questions. This is where you can get a real picture of the office climate and what is happening there that may not suit you.
Make the decision that best suits your needs
In addition to the suggestions provided, think about the work environment in which you thrive. You should also consider your strengths and which brokerages will use your talents or just pigeonhole you in their protocol. For example, if cold calling isn’t your thing, it wouldn’t be the best use of your time to go to a “cold call” pizza night at the office.
The most valuable information I can give you is to make the decision that best suits your needs. Each agent is different and has unique requirements.
The final decision
Make a pros and cons list of the top three agencies you have selected. Ask yourself these important questions … “What company gives me the support I need?” and “Which of the companies can I build a lasting relationship and why?” Talk to the important people in your life who can help you make a career decision based on the facts. Family and friends are wonderful if you are going to a barbecue, but this is a decision that should be made based on what is best for your business. I use my CPA and business planner, as well as some professional relationships to help with vital decisions for my business.
This article was originally published via the Cindy Bishop Worldwide blog site.