How to Choose a Brokerage
Table of Contents
What is a Brokerage?
In many ways, a real estate brokerage is to real estate agents what a law firm is to lawyers or what a hospital is to physicians. It's a place of employment where agents can work alongside other agents under the real estate broker who owns the brokerage.
Once a real estate agent receives their license, most states won't allow them to work for themselves immediately. Instead, real estate agents must work under a real estate broker at a brokerage. Over time, real estate agents may earn the qualifications necessary to become real estate brokers themselves if they choose to do so. However, every real estate agent should find a brokerage to work for in the early stages of their career.
Agents working at a real estate brokerage may work on their own or team up with other agents. In either case, an agent working at a good brokerage can look forward to access to resources designed to help them succeed, including mentoring and training, assistance finding new leads, and support from experienced professionals anytime an issue or question arises.
What to Look For In a Brokerage
As with choosing any place of employment, it's important that real estate agents put some thought into choosing the right brokerage. In the early phase of their career, choosing the right brokerage is arguably the most important decision that new real estate agents need to make. With that in mind, here are the top six factors to consider when choosing a real estate brokerage.
Mentor Programs and Training
The pre-licensing education that real estate agents must undergo before receiving their license is meant to provide a foundation of knowledge that agents can leverage as they start their careers. However, nothing beats hands-on training.
One of the biggest benefits of working for a brokerage is that it enables new agents to attend training programs and mentor under an experienced real estate broker. As a real estate agent chooses a brokerage, they need to find a brokerage that offers quality mentor programs and training. How long does the brokerage's mentor program last? How much one-on-one attention does it provide? What kind of skills and areas of knowledge are covered by the brokerage's training program? Asking and answering questions such as these is essential if an agent wants to find a brokerage that will best prepare them for a successful career.
The Size of the Brokerage
Working for a small brokerage comes with many pros and cons compared to working for a large brokerage and vice versa. One isn't inherently always the better choice than the other, but since the experience that each option provides can often vary dramatically, the brokerage size is certainly an important factor to consider.
Working at a small brokerage may enable an agent to form closer relationships with the real estate broker and their fellow agents. Working at a small brokerage also provides a somewhat more relaxed and low-pressure environment than working at a large brokerage.
Working at a large brokerage, however, comes with its own benefits as well. A large brokerage can offer more resources such as better training programs and higher quality leads. Working for a large brokerage also enables agents to leverage the brokerage's brand recognition.
Management and Administrative Support
The management an employee will be working under is always a vital factor to consider when choosing a place of employment, and choosing a real estate brokerage is no exception. Whenever possible, an agent should get to know the management at any brokerage they consider before deciding.
How much support does a brokerage's management provide to the agents working under them? How involved are they in the day-to-day operations of the brokerage? What is their leadership style, and what would it be like to work for them? These are all important questions to ask as an agent gets to know the higher-ups at a brokerage.
In the end, few things will affect an agent's experience at any given brokerage more than the people they will call their bosses. In the process of finding a brokerage that is the best fit for them, every real estate agent should make sure that the management at that brokerage is the right fit for their own personality and priorities.
Every real estate brokerage has its own unique culture. Some brokerages provide a high-pressure environment where agents are driven to excel, while others provide a more relaxed environment where the agents working there are treated like family as much as they are employees. This, of course, is just two examples of the culture that a real estate brokerage might provide, and the various cultures an agent might find at various brokerages can span a wide spectrum.
Any real estate agent considering a specific brokerage should spend some time getting a feel for its office culture. What are the other agents who work there like, and what do they say about working for this brokerage? What's the overall vibe that an agent feels when they spend a little time at the brokerage's office?
As with many other factors that go into choosing the right brokerage, one culture isn't always inherently better than the other. Ultimately, it's up to the agent to find a brokerage whose culture aligns with their own personality and values.
Reputation and Online Presence
When a real estate agent works for a brokerage, they align themselves with that brokerage's brand. Any client they take on will associate them with the reputation of the brokerage that they work for. This makes working for a brokerage with a solid reputation and good online presence something that can be a huge benefit for an agent's career.
Getting a feel for the reputation and online presence of a brokerage is something that agents should certainly do before they choose to align themselves with that brokerage's brand. What do customers have to say about the brokerage? How recognizable is the brokerage, and what kind of brand/online presence has it established? Choosing a brokerage that has established a positive presence and good reputation will certainly offer an agent far better opportunities than choosing a brokerage that clients view in a negative light.
Franchises vs. Independent Brokerages
Like many other companies, a real estate brokerage can be its own independent entity or part of a franchise. In the same way that working as a chef at Olive Garden might differ dramatically from working as a chef at a local, family-owned Italian restaurant, there are several differences between working for an independent brokerage and working for a brokerage that is part of a larger franchise.
Working for a brokerage in a franchise offers advantages such as brand recognition, a larger referral network, a more established support system, and access to more cutting-edge tools and technology. Meanwhile, working for an independent brokerage offers advantages such as more room for flexibility and individuality and a more intimate sense of the local market.
The Advantages of Working With a Brokerage
In many states, new real estate agents must begin working under a real estate broker who agrees to serve as their mentor. This means that new agents will typically have no other option but to work at a brokerage. Even if an agent prefers to work independently, working at a brokerage still offers many worthwhile advantages vital to a successful career.
A brokerage provides agents with a valuable support network that can prove incredibly beneficial for even the most experienced agents. Working at a brokerage also enables agents to leverage their brand and reputation to attract new clients rather than build their own brand from scratch. Lastly, working for a brokerage enables agents to avoid the overhead and other various expenses associated with going into business for themselves.
For all of these reasons, working for a brokerage is an ideal solution for most real estate agents, and many agents choose to spend their entire careers working at a brokerage. While some agents may be set on working independently, the advantages of working for a brokerage should not be taken lightly.
Choosing the right real estate brokerage is an essential step in every real estate agent's career path. Only by taking the time to carefully consider all of the factors that go into finding the right brokerage can agents choose a place of employment that is best suited for them and one that will allow their careers to flourish.
Before an agent can receive their license and begin searching for a brokerage, they must first attend a pre-licensing education course. At Kris Lindahl Real Estate, we are dedicated to helping agents launch their careers by providing access to real estate scholarships that cover the entire cost of the pre-licensing courses. To learn more about how to apply for these scholarships, feel free to contact us today!