Interviewing a Broker

An Effective Interview Process for Choosing a Broker

It’s an exciting day when you finally get your real estate license. You’ve studied hard, taken the test, filed all the paperwork, and gotten the shiny certificate. So what happens next? Where do you go from here?

Finding a Sponsoring Broker

As a newly licensed real estate agent, you can’t legally work entirely on your own. When you first receive your real estate license, it will have an inactive status. You’ll need to find a sponsoring real estate broker to activate your license and help to manage your career.

The broker is more than just your boss. It will be a beneficial relationship to provide you with guidance, networking, and legal protection. Brokers have years of experience and extra training that is very valuable for agents just starting out, and their knowledge of the specific region is information that you can’t get from a textbook. They’ll help you navigate the whole complex world of real estate. In return, the broker receives fees or part of the commission from sales.

Preparing for the Interview

The interview with a broker will be less like a traditional interview of a potential employee, and more like a meeting to determine if you will work well with each other. Still, dress in your best professional clothes and project confidence about your abilities. The broker might ask you some questions about real estate sales to understand what you already know.

If your first choice turns out not to be a match, that’s ok! It’s better to get the right fit for your career.

Questions to Ask at the Interview

You’ll also want to ask your own questions during the interview to make sure that the company has the right environment for your work. Here are some questions to help you decide if the office will be right for you.

1.     How is the commission split?

There’s no single standard for commission splits, but a 70/30 split is common, with the agent keeping 70% of the commission, and the broker taking 30%.

Some companies might use a different percentage for splits, or instead charge a flat fee on a monthly basis. You should factor commission splits into your calculations of how each company works, as well as all other fees and services provided, in order to get a clear picture of how much you’ll actually earn.

It’s a good idea to get information about fees, commission splits, and other policies in writing, so you can take the time to fully consider the costs and benefits of a particular brokerage.

2.     How is the office space organized?

Some agents will choose to work remotely, but you might also be interested in having a desk at the office. Some real estate companies provide a desk for a fee, while others use a flexible workspace plan like hot-desking. Some companies charge a desk fee even if you don’t use the physical space, so it’s best to know your intentions for your work area and determine any fees in advance.

3.     What fees are charged to agents?

Most real estate companies have fees involved for the agents that work with them. It’s a good idea to get a list of what the mandatory fees are, and what they cover. Fees might be charged for desk space, training, technology, printing, and insurance. The brokerage should be able to give you a list of these charges in writing.

4.     What kind of training do you provide?

Some companies will have a formal training program, while others offer more informal mentorships. As a new agent, training will be vital to your career development, and learning from more experienced agents will give you the tools for success for years to come.

5.     Is there administrative support?

Many brokerages will have a licensed real estate assistant or administrator. This person can help with paperwork, schedule appointments, answer phone calls, and more. This can save you time and help you stay organized. Smaller companies may rely on agents to do more of this work, but they may have other organizational tools and software to help you along the way.

6.     What kind of technology is provided?

Depending on the brokerage, there may be computers and specialized real estate management software available for your use. The software can help you track leads, store client information, manage marketing, and more. Perks like this could help you make the final decision between similar companies.

7.     Is There a Company Policy Manual?

A company policy manual should be expected at any experienced brokerage, with information about their rules, standards, and values. The manual should also let you know if there are any restrictions against investing in property for your own purposes. There should be a copy available for you to look over in detail. You should read the manual before signing any final agreements.

Interviewing can be stressful but knowing in advance what to look for in a company will make the process go more smoothly. Once you find the perfect fit, you’ll be ready to sell your first property!