Real estate brokerages see their agents in one of two ways, either as a profit center or as a client who they can help to succeed. Many of the large brokerages and a few smaller companies perceive the associate agent as a money machine, with the attitude of “How can I get the most out of the agent?” This differs from those companies that instead seek to support the associate agent, showing an attitude of reciprocity. They will help the agent in order to succeed and achieve higher goals, thereby increasing everyone’s income.
When looking for a company to affiliate with, a new agent should know the right questions to ask in order to get a better understanding of whether the company is a good fit for them. Some questions to ask are:
1. Does the company offer continuing education?
Classes and tutorials are a great way to stimulate an agent’s growth. The company should have systems in place so that an agent can learn and become proficient in all aspects of real estate, from understanding the required paperwork, how to look to create value for their clients’ properties, to the marketing of themselves and their listings, and how to grow their business. A company invested in the agent as a partner, will have all of these continuing education and advisory services, while those that do not may try to compartmentalize many aspects of their job so that they create a dependency of the agent to the company so that the agent feels that they cannot leave.
2. What are your commission splits?
A good company will have fair commission splits, based upon gross commissions the agent generates. Also, splits should not need to “roll-back” every year. After all, if you as the agent worked so hard to get your split to a higher percentage, then you shouldn’t necessarily be penalized because your closing took place on January 1st, and not December 31st.
3. Do you offer any other compensation, such as profit sharing?
Many companies offer profit sharing for their agents; however, many profit sharing plans are structured so that they are just golden handcuffs, keeping an agent with the company and allowing them to share in profits as long as they are with the company. Instead, an agent should look for a plan where once they’ve vested in the plan, they don’t lose their hard earned vesting status just because they need to leave.
4. How do you support agents in a way that will accomplish everybody’s goals more quickly & efficiently? What new technology are you investing in to stand out against your competitors?
A company that shares the goals of the agent to succeed and grow will offer support to the agent to accomplish those goals. This support can range from marketing, on-going training, up to the date software, and technology that supports the growth. As the market changes, so should the company’s support, embracing new technology, as well as finding new and creative ways for an agent to market themselves.
5. What kind of working environment does your brokerage have?
All of the above won’t mean a thing if you don’t like the people you are working with or worse yet, can’t trust them. A company should promote a positive work environment where everyone, from the newest agent to their most senior agent, respects one another and looks to see everyone succeed. With the successful agent spending upwards of 10+ hours a day at their office, this is a crucial component to finding the right company for you. After all, no one has time for office politics.