No man is an island (not even a real estate agent).
Real estate agents enjoy a high degree of flexibility and independence compared to many other professions. Nevertheless, you still have to align yourself with a broker or company, and this isn’t a decision to take lightly. Here are five factors to keep in mind when choosing a real estate office.
Commission and Fee Structure
Money is a huge factor when choosing a real estate office, and brokers vary widely on the subject. Some will cover more expenses and tools up front in exchange for a larger share of your commissions, while others will let you keep more of your earnings in exchange for a “desk fee.” Be sure to ask a potential broker about commission splits and fees, then decide if those arrangements fit your work style and needs.
Generally speaking, you should choose an office that’s as close to your home as possible. This gives you the opportunity to sell the area you know best: your neighborhood. In addition to channeling your local expertise, working close to home also offers more flexibility and minimizes gas mileage and other transportation expenses, which make up a large share of your budget.
All the marketing support in the world won’t do you much good if you have nothing to market. That’s why you’ll want to make sure the broker you work with has a large inventory of property listings. Think of listings like physical goods in a shop: you wouldn’t want to work in a place with nothing on the shelves, and customers won’t want to shop there either.
There are many factors for determining whether an office will suit your tech needs. Are there desktop computers available? What operating system do they use? Which software applications do they provide or require? If a broker’s technology seems outdated now, beware: chances are they won’t be any more interested in updating or modernizing later.
No matter how confident or intelligent you are, as you get your feet wet in the working world, you’ll still need guidance to navigate your new profession. Some brokers offer formal mentoring and training programs on everything from sales to technology to ethics. Others drop a company manual on your desk and wish you luck. Make sure the firm you choose will provide the support you need to be successful.