Choosing a Real Estate Company That’s Best For You
Before choosing which potential real estate brokers or managers to interview, you should consider what kind of real estate company you want to work for. There is no one-size-fits-all, so to find the business model, environment, and culture you’ll best thrive in, consider the following factors.
In metropolitan areas, your choice might range from companies with less than 10 agents to companies with hundreds of agents. The larger companies might have more than one office, so office size might be a more important consideration than company size.
2. Brand Prominence
Numerous for-sale signs from one company in a particular area usually means that lots of agents work for that real estate company. It can be an advantage to tout your company’s local market share to sellers when attempting to list their property for sale. You might also be competing with people from your own company more often than if you were with a smaller office.
When you walk into a prospective real estate office, ask yourself whether you would feel proud or embarrassed to bring your clients there. You might be meeting your buyer clients at your office before showing them properties, and you may return there to complete paperwork if they want to buy one of the properties you showed them.
Consider how long it would take to commute to your prospective office. Of course, technology gives real estate agents a high degree of mobility, so you might not need to work in the company office. However, you occasionally will need to go to your office for meetings, checking postal mail, etc…. You also might feel more productive working in an office, rather than at home. There are some real estate companies that provide no office space for agents to work.
Your office doesn’t need to be near the area in which you choose to work, but if it's not, you may have to explain to clients that real estate isn’t as much of a neighborhood business as it was before homebuyers and sellers became so mobile.
Whether the real estate company is located in a freestanding building, a shopping center, or in a high-rise office tower is a matter of personal preference, but one consideration would be how easy it is for your clients to find your office, and whether you’d have consistent after-hours access.
You will learn many real estate principles and fundamentals in the Continuing Ed Express pre-license courses. For example, you’ll learn about real estate law and contract law, how to write purchase agreements, how to list property for sale, how to finance real estate, and how to evaluate real estate property.
If the prospective real estate company is relatively new, what is the growth plan of the company? Does the broker have enough time to help new agents?
In a medium or large company, your primary contact will probably be a salaried manager, but in a small or medium company, your manager might be the broker/owner. You should ask if the manager or broker also sells real estate, because his or her personal production could have a bearing on the time available to help you. Ask how many full-time and part-time agents the manager is responsible for. More than 50 full-time agents in one office would be a challenging workload for one manager, but many large companies have assistant trainers or mentors to also help new agents.
8. Administrative Support
Some offices handle such chores as uploading your listings to MLS, and transaction paperwork processing. The accounting department will also be important to you; ask how long after a closing you can normally expect to receive your commission.
9. Commission Schedule
All real estate companies need to earn a profit in order to survive, but there are various routes to a healthy bottom line.
An office that is populated mostly with new agents can feel energized, but perhaps a bit chaotic at times. If most of the agents are seasoned, the office can feel stable, but might lack excitement, or new-agent peer support. Some combination of experienced and new agents could give you the best of both worlds.
11. Recognition for Achievement
Your personal goals will define how successful you will be in real estate. A money goal makes good sense, but being recognized for your achievements can also be exciting and motivating. Successful real estate companies often have ways to recognize their top producing agents, and becoming recognized as one of them might help motivate you to succeed.
Most of this discussion has been about residential real estate sales companies, but you might be more interested in leasing or property management, both of which require a real estate license in most states. You will find those opportunities mostly at companies that specialize in them. On the other hand, you might have an interest in investment, commercial, or industrial real estate sales. Many general brokerages will allow you to work in those specialties, as well as in residential sales.