Picking a Brokerage for Real Estate
I’ve been incredibly busy as of late. It’s actually been very difficult to try and post consistently. So what have I been doing that’s taking up so much time? Trying to pass real estate school! Well, as of October 3rd, I had passed the state exam and officially became an inactive holder of a Florida real estate license! So then, the trek to find a broker officially began.
Presently, I have officially selected a broker (and am now licensed and active) and I’d like to share my thoughts on what my thought process was. Part of writing this is so everyone, should they decide to get licensed, will have some guidelines. The other part is so I can have a record for my thoughts a few years from now to see if my expectations were met.
If you’re in the Central Florida area looking for property as a buyer, seller, or investor, look me up. A great place to start is my agent page at www.realestatecelt.com. I would be happy to sit down for a free consultation.
The Interview Process
As soon as I was “in the system” by our state licensing agency, I began to receive mailers and emails and phone calls from brokers. They all promised me the dream life selling $10million in sales a year and making six figures. Let me tell you, that’s not the case. Real Estate is just like any traditional sales job. Some pull in great money, some do alright, but most kind of teeter on mediocrity. Real Estate is different though in that you don’t have a tangible product to push. In real estate, you sell yourself as an agent. And remember, you’re buying and selling things that only sell once every 4-7 years per person.
Consequently, I interviewed with many different firms. From big names such as Coldwell Banker and Keller Williams, to a couple different local boutiques. It was kind of interesting to interview with so many. The interviews have the same flavor and vibe though, so you can weed out many competitors once you understand the process. Hone in on what you want, and check the ones off the list that don’t meet the criteria. Many of these firms have recruiters, so you can bounce questions off them over the phone. That way you don’t waste your time or theirs with a face to face.
The key thing to remember about a real estate interview is this: you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. They want someone who will drive volume so they can take a cut. You want someone who fits YOUR agenda. Don’t be afraid to grill them. This is your soon-to-be business partner.
Picking a Brokerage
Keeping that key difference in my mind, I decided I wanted someone who would stand out when giving a listing presentation or trying to secure a buyer. I wanted a firm who understood the importance of internet advertising and SEO. A firm that had great graphics. I also wanted a broker that I trusted to provide the tools to make myself successful. Most importantly though, I wanted to make money.
I narrowed down my options to a local boutique and a local Coldwell Banker office. The broker with Coldwell was a seasoned veteran who seemed very genuine in his desire to make everyone successful. He knew marketing, spoke in numbers (my preferred language), and had a history of success both as an agent and as a broker mentoring agents. He would be an excellent business partner.
The local boutique has 50 less agents and the broker is a professional photographer, webmaster, and skilled marketer. He understands the importance of SEO and that Google drives results. He was also a successful real estate agent. I also came to find out that he is a retired lieutenant from law enforcement.
Ultimately, I signed with the boutique – Alton Clark Realty. I felt they put me in the best position to secure a listing, and I felt I had more flexibility to pursue my brand, as The Real Estate Celt, than I would at Coldwell Banker. The boutique also had more favorable commission splits.
Some Questions to Consider When Picking a Brokerage
I just want to list some key questions that I think are really important in the interview process. Things that you absolutely want to have answered after your first meeting.
- What is your commission structure?
- Are there any additional monthly fees charged? (it’s not uncommon to see desk fees, marketing fees, legal fees, etc.)
- What are your transactional based fees? (Not uncommon to see a fixed fee of a few hundred, as well as error and omission insurance – be sure to ask who pays these fees)
- What sort of trainings does this office facilitate?
- Does this office maintain an ongoing list of third party trainings that will fulfill my ongoing learning requirements?
- What does this office provide that I can’t find elsewhere?
- What are three reasons why someone should list with this firm over another?
- How long does it take to schedule a meeting with the broker or have the broker return a phone call?
- What software does this firm provide to make managing your client database easier?
Remember how I said it’s important to find a broker that provides you with the tools to succeed? Well, if you want to enter real estate, remember it’s not that easy. A carpenter may have all of his tools to build a house, but if he doesn’t know how to use them, the house won’t get built. It’s not enough to have tools. You must know how to use them, and you must want to use them. You can’t get a license and then hope for the best. This is an active career. You must create clients. In my local area, there are 10,000 other direct competitors with me. I must create value for my clients, or I won’t succeed. If you don’t have that kind of drive and desire, then I would encourage you to avoid real estate.
Hopefully this article has helped you in at least a small way. If you’re considering real estate as a career, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to share why I chose this path. Be sure to let me know if you can think of any other questions that might be useful for someone in the interview process with a brokerage.
I’m still really excited and ready to get running! The only thing I’m not looking forward to is having no time to myself. Between the blog, the sheriff’s office, and real estate, I’m a very busy man now! Yowch! However, hard work and placing careful bets begets success. In a 40-year career, I think you should be willing to sacrifice at least two years to get ahead.