How to Choose the Right Brokerage

Team of real estate brokers

With a newly minted real estate license in your hands, it’s time to turn your attention to finding the perfect brokerage.

Like choosing a new pair of shoes, you may need to “try on” a few brokerages to select one that fits your career aspirations. While no two brokerages are one-size-fits-all, finding an appropriate match will put you on the path to success.

How do you know what makes one brokerage better than another?

As you scope out the right brokerage, you should consider these five questions. 

1. What Makes an Excellent Brokerage Stand Out?

There are three basic needs for every real estate agent. At a minimum, every brokerage should provide training, education, and recognition. But you’re not interested in the minimum brokerage standards. 

You’ll also want to consider a brokerage’s culture, ethics, and business philosophy before signing on with them.

Culture- Does the brokerage you’re considering have a formal training program? Do they prefer a casual weekly lunch to build relationships between agents? Or is it a kombucha-on-tap office environment? The general culture of a brokerage can help you feel more comfortable, or it can leave you feeling like you’re out in the cold. You’ll want to choose a company culture that fits your personality.

Ethics- As you begin building your personal brand, you’ll want to avoid having even a whiff of scandal attached to your reputation. If you’re new and learning how to navigate making an offer, negotiating, and signing a contract, an excellent brokerage will ensure that your actions align with their company’s standards. You can learn about additional examples of common agent practices that violate the Realtor® Code of Ethics.

Business Philosophy- A brokerage with a clearly stated business philosophy is one that has laid out a roadmap for every client, employee, and real estate agent to follow. Their goals and values are defined for the entire team to rally around and point them in the right direction. 

Business Philosophy Examples:

  • We build our community one sale at a time, and we do it by bringing excellence and positive energy to every event, meeting, or showing.
  • We create leaders who smash their goals and build up their teammates.
  • We embrace innovation, we build leaders, and we deliver amazing customer experiences.

An excellent brokerage should stand head and shoulders above the rest because their culture, ethics, and business philosophy align with your own.

2. What Kind of Education and Mentorship Does the Brokerage Provide?

Deciding between a national or boutique brokerage can be a great starting point to guide your decision. For many agents, a national brokerage can provide them with the training they need to quickly shed their new agent status. For other agents, the risk of getting overlooked in a large brokerage sends them straight to a smaller brokerage. As a new agent, a strong mentorship program at a brokerage can help you hit the ground running. 

You’ll want to consider all of the opportunities that the brokerage provides, including:

  • Training programs specifically for new agents
  • Incentives to earn certifications
  • In-depth local market analyses
  • Networking opportunities
  • Community outreach programs
  • Ready-made marketing materials

3. What Is the Reputation of the Brokerage?

It’s natural to ask your friends for recommendations when you’re looking for a new restaurant or tutor for your kids. They can send you to the best steak place in town, or warn you away from the local hamburger joint that isn’t what it used to be. Just like restaurant recommendations from friends can introduce you to your new favorite lunch spot, a brokerage’s public reputation can make or break the company’s success.

Start with a simple Google search for any local news articles, online reviews, or ratings on sites like Yelp, Angi, and the Better Business Bureau. While one negative review doesn’t mean that a brokerage has a terrible reputation, a string of bad reviews or poor online responses can point to rapidly sinking public opinion.

By extension, a brokerage’s notoriety within a community can affect your own reputation. Before hanging your license with them, you should do a little sleuthing to check on their standing in the local area.

4. What Are the Benefits of Partnering With a Brokerage?

Besides education and mentorship, partnering with a brokerage can provide you with more marketing, lead generation, and branding opportunities. 

Marketing- If you don’t know the first thing about putting together a billboard, setting up a radio ad, or running Facebook ads, leaning on the brokerage to teach you can be another huge benefit of partnering with an agency. 

Lead Generation- Newbie agents generally start with a thin network while they get their feet wet. You might reach out to everyone in your neighborhood, at your church, or from your old job to let them know that you’re a newly licensed agent. You can encourage everyone you know to send your way friends who want to buy or sell a home, but there’s still a limit to your reach. Established brokerages can plug you into a network or CRM that spans the entire city or even state, and they may already pay for lead generation services that are simply out of your budget. 

Branding- Another facet to consider as a real estate agent or Realtor® is your personal brand.  If you’ve never built a brand before, it can be overwhelming. Telling a story that connects with your audience is just the start of your branding journey. 

You’ll also need to consider:

  • Headshots
  • Social media content creation and scheduling
  • Consistent fonts, colors, and graphics in digital and print content 
  • Website creation, blogs, and upkeep

There are so many moving parts to an agent’s success. Connecting with a brokerage can help you learn the ropes more quickly than on your own.

5. How Do You Know When It’s Time to Leave A Brokerage?

A great team helps you smash all of your goals… until it doesn’t. Sometimes the energy in a brokerage starts to wane as you become too comfortable in your relationships with team members. What used to make you excited to go into the office or work from home has just disappeared.

As an independent contractor, you’re paying to associate with a brokerage. If you’ve learned everything you need to know from this one, if there are ethical red flags that are waving in your face, or if personalities in the office are beginning to clash, then it’s normal to want a change.

You don’t need to leave behind your real estate career when you feel this way. Instead, try searching for a new brokerage that helps you feel that spark all over again. Maybe it’s time to partner with different top producers or find a brokerage with a better commission split. 

Shoes that get worn out need to be replaced. When a brokerage isn’t meeting your career aspirations, it’s time to go shopping for a new brokerage that aligns better with your needs. 

The Bottom Line

It might take you a few tries to find the right brokerage for your real estate career, but an excellent  brokerage can have a profoundly positive effect on your real estate education and training. By looking for a brokerage that has a culture and business philosophy that resonates with you, you’ll become more professional and fulfilled as a real estate agent.

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