Picking the right brokerage as a good fit can be a difficult task, especially for new agents and have no prior experience in real estate or with brokerages. There are hundreds of different brokerages out there, so how do you know what is the right fit as a good broker for you?
One great way to determine the best fit when choosing a brokerage is to ask your prospective broker options a list of questions! That’s why we compiled the top 21 key questions new agents should ask brokers that you can ask when interviewing brokerages.
As a newly licensed real estate agent, the first decision you must make in your real estate career is which brokerage you want to sponsor you. For the most part, new real estate agents are required to work under the sponsorship of a brokerage for at least their first few years in real estate.
So it’s a good idea to know the right questions to ask when interviewing a broker!
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What Happens After You Pass Your Real Estate Exam
Once you pass your state’s licensing exam, you are likely to be bombarded with emails, text messages, and phone calls from hundreds of local brokerages asking for an interview with you. After all, brokerages need as many producing agents as possible to make money.
Typically, new agents are so overwhelmed with the sea of brokers looking for new agents that they fail to consider all their top options and have trouble picking a brokerage to sponsor them. Many agents are intimated by the process and treat the experience like a job interview–which this is not.
Remember: It’s all about Brokerage VALUE & Opportunity
Sometimes you get what you pay for, and sometimes you don’t. Just realize that what you should be looking for is overall VALUE and opportunity at a brokerage. You can be successful anywhere, so what can the brokerage bring to the table?
It’s not always the best idea to look for the “cheapest” or the “most traditional”. You have to have an abundance mindset to be stratospherically successful in this business. So look for the brokerage options that give you the most value for what you put in and the most opportunities for training, learning, growth, and freedom!
Full-time Agent versus Part-time Agent
For part-time agents, you’ll still want to use this list when choosing the right broker. But simply add an emphasis that you’re looking for a part-time friendly brokerage.
Keep in mind that many brokers aren’t looking for a part time agent because they make a large portion of their income from top producers. But there are a few part time agent friendly options out there if you know where to look!
Looking for a Sponsoring Broker is *NOT* like Looking for a Job
In reality picking a brokerage is nothing like a job interview. In fact, it is quite the opposite. When you are interviewing with potential brokerages, you are not the one being interviewed, they are. Brokerages have huge overheads and like we mentioned before, need as many agents as possible so that they can be profitable.
That is why we compiled a list of the 21 top questions new agents should ask potential brokers. A lot of new agents end up switching brokerages 3 to 5 years down the line because they realized they didn’t make the best decision when picking their first brokerage.
These questions will give you a structured guideline on what you should be asking potential brokers in your interviews so you can make the best decision possible. Lets dive in!
1) What are your fees and what does that give me?
We put this first because this question is probably the one that most new real estate agents think is the most important. We will discuss later why this is not necessarily true.
As a real estate agent you have to pay your broker a monthly desk or technology fee to cover the brokerage’s expenses. This can range from $200 a month to $85 a month depending on what the broker has to offer and their business model.
Usually brokerages will mention their monthly costs and fees at the very end of the interview so it is a good question to ask right off the bat so you have a benchmark to measure all of their value adds with.
Remember: it’s not necessarily about how much you pay, it’s about the value you get for that fee!
2) What is the commission split?
A brokerage cap is the amount of the money you have to pay in splits to the brokerage before you get to keep 100% of your earned commissions. Although some brokerages offer this incentive to their real estate agents, in reality, most brokerages do not. Especially if they have a more lucrative split.
While most non-agents think that real estate agents bring home the entire 2-3% commission on their side of a home sale, in reality they usually take home less after their broker split and any additional fees.
Usually brokerage splits can be between 50/50 and 70/30 (meaning you get to keep 50% to 70% of your commissions). Though some high value options are as good as 80/20.
3) When does the commission split cap and go to 100% commission?
Make sure you ask them not just for their splits, but also for their cap. A commission cap is where once you’ve paid a set dollar amount in commissions to your brokerage, the split goes away and you go to 100% commission for the rest of the year.
A cap can range from the lower thousands to no cap at all (you’ll always pay a split). Here’s an example of a $16,000 cap.
Keep in mind: If a brokerage offers a 90/10 split but no cap, you may find yourself to be making LESS money in the long run.
4) Are there franchise, office, or desk fees?
But wait, there’s more! Most “traditional” brokerages are franchises and required to have local offices. Those brokerages typically charge either a franchise fee, an office fee, or both to their agents. So you’ll have more than just a split/cap at those brokerages.
While some brokerages don’t have office or franchise fees, most “traditional” brokerages are a franchise model – so they’re locally owned and operated by a local broker (just like a Chick-fil-A). All brokerages must have at least one office in the state and local franchises have to have offices.
In today’s post-COVID world, clients never ask to go to offices (they want to see houses, duh!) and in a digital environment, there isn’t much added benefit to a physical location. You just need to determine if paying for an office and for franchise fees provides enough value for the cost for you.
5) Who will I get support from and when are they available?
One of the most important questions new agents should ask brokers is whether or not new agents will be able to get support from their managing brokers.
A lot of brokerages have so many agents that the managing brokers won’t be accessible all the time for support and questions on compliance and training. On the contrary, some smaller brokers who only have a few agents might also not be as responsive because they are constantly doing deals themselves as well.
This question is extremely important for new agents because they need to have access to a responsive and knowledgeable managing broker or broker staff during most of the week because that is going to be the place you go to when you have issues with compliance, your contracts, and disclosures to clients and customers.
You don’t want to have to waste time commuting to an office to find that the broker is out golfing… again. They should be available to support you!
Example: I have can meet with and reach my broker team instantly during weekdays from anywhere at anytime, and within a few hours by email, call, or messenger on nights and weekends. I can also lean on assigned mentors, my sponsor, and other experienced agents for help. That’s the support agents should be looking for!
6) Is there a local office and what does that provide?
Listen, if you’re going to be paying a higher split or additional fees to support a local office, you’d better get some value from it! I know agents who haven’t stepped foot in their franchise brokerage’s office in YEARS.
Office location is an important factor for new agents. If the commute to the brokerage’s office is too excruciating, then it makes it very difficult for agents to be productive. On top of that, if your broker and staff is only accessible in person and in the office for support and training, you will want to make sure that the office location is accessible as well.
Some brokerages will also allow you to work from wherever you like. If you run into any of these situations I highly encourage you to consider these options as working as a real estate agent requires a lot of running around and moving about.
So if there is a possibility for you to get work done remotely and on the run, it can save you a ton of time and really boost your productivity. Plus, why pay for an office if you’re never going to use it…
7) What is the training like and how often is it?
Training as a new agent is crucial. Without the proper training, new agents will be lost like a deer in headlights when they are traying to build and operate their business.
Make sure your broker has proper training and ask them about how these trainings will be administered and provided to you. Some brokerages use a third party to provide all of their trainings in order to save time and automate their business.
One thing I particularly want you to avoid is only having access to training limited by the knowledge of a few people (your broker or experienced agents), limited to certain times of the week, and limited to a specific location. You should be able to get unlimited training from top agents at anytime from anywhere.
For an example of great brokerage training options, check this post out.
Make sure that the people providing your training are agents that are competent and successful themselves so that you know what you are learning is credible and useful.
8) What is the mentorship program like?
As a new agent you want to look for a mentor program and opportunities that pair you up with an experienced agent in the field so that you can learn through experience and practice. Real estate is not something that you can master by simply attending countless hours of trainings and modules. On the job training is crucial.
Usually mentorship opportunities will cost you a percentage of your commissions in the beginning but that is not always a bad thing. You want your mentor to be incentivized to help you succeed so that they will have a stake in your business. The best mentors are the ones that actually care about your success and growth as an agent.
Be sure to align yourself with a brokerage that assigns you a local mentor!
9) How will I get administrative support?
Administrative support from your brokerage can include things like accounting, tech support, human resources, on-boarding, legal, contracts, referrals, payment, and compliance. A brokerage is like any business and has systems and staff in place to look out for your needs as an agent.
Some brokers will do a lot of these tasks themselves while other brokerages hire a team of staff to support you with each situation. New agents should not overlook administrative support from the staff because a lot of your business rely on these details to be perfectly in place.
10) What kind of lead generation tools will I have access to?
Lead generation is usually the most difficult aspect of a real estate agent’s job – especially as a new agent. Finding the right prospects to turn into clients is usually more difficult than negotiating the sale and getting to closing.
A lot of agents spend countless hours of their weeks only on lead generation alone with time consuming but effective strategies such as cold calling and door knocking.
Make sure you find out how your brokerage will assist you with lead generation. Some brokers will provide agents with new lead generation platforms for free that agents can then turn into a marketing machine.
How is the lead generation training and lead generation tools training? Do you have access to ALL kinds of lead generation strategy training so that you can find out what works for you?
Spoiler alert: what works for one agent or broker may not be the best lead generation strategy for you! Make sure you have access to the lead generation training and tools to succeed.
11) What unique technologies and benefits do you have?
In the modern era of real estate, brokerages and agents are not only competing with each other for market share, but also against emerging iBuyer companies. One of the key takeaways you should get when you are interviewing each broker is how they offer their agents an unique competitive advantage over other agents and iBuyer programs.
Some brokerages are partnering up with iBuyer platforms in order to ensure that the real estate agent is getting paid for their efforts when helping sellers find a solution to their problems. Platforms such as eXp Realty‘s Express Offers programs are changing the game for real estate agents because they now give agents the tools needed to gain a competitive advantage over not only other agents, but also popular iBuyer programs.
12) How are successful agents recognized and rewarded?
As a motivated and passionate new agent, you are probably banking on becoming a successful top producing agent or even a company leader in the near future. The rewards of selling a plethora of homes is definitely lucrative enough in itself but wouldn’t you like to be recognized or even rewarded in some way for your top notch success?
Many brokerages have agent recognition programs for new and seasoned agents alike, ranging from fancy company award galas to equity opportunities within the company. Make sure you ask about their different incentives for agents who reach various benchmarks in their real estate careers, these can make a difference financially in the long run.
13) What Benefits do you Offer Agents?
Aside from recognition and incentives, brokerages are beginning to offer real estate agents various benefits as well even as independent contractors. As many of you may know, real estate agents do not have access to the traditional taxed advantaged retirement accounts that W-2 employees have. That is one of the many reasons why real estate agents never retire.
Make sure to find out whether or not each broker you interview has retirement plans for their real estate agents. Selling real estate is fun and rewarding, but wouldn’t you at least want the option to stop selling one day?
Another industry trend is that a few brokerages are beginning to offer their agents health insurance options through third party partners that can save real estate agents money on their healthcare options. If you happen to interview one of these brokerages, make sure to ask more about how they can help you save on your healthcare.
14) How will my transactions be processed & how will I be paid?
An overlooked aspect of being a real estate agent is the time it takes for transaction documents to be processed by your broker. Since all transactions are technically run through your broker according to each state’s compliance laws, your broker will need to review and process all of your contracts and disclosure documents to make them official so you can get paid.
Ask your potential brokers how they process transactions and documents. Some brokers require documents to be submitted physically while others will take electronic copies so agents can save time by uploading documents online.
Will your pay take time to work it’s way through the broker’s system? Or by having all your paperwork in ahead of closing, can a disbursement authorization be sent to title so that you can be based at closing?
15) What are my requirements & obligations as an Agent?
Usually, when you are in the process of selecting a brokerage, you are interviewing them and finding out about what they have to offer you as an agent. But sometimes, brokers will have requirements and obligations for their agents as well.
Sometimes agents are required to do a certain amount of deals as a production requirement to stay as an active agent within the company. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. It might be good because it gives agents the urgency to do business, but it may not be as attractive for agents who are looking to become a real estate agent for the freedom to run their own business.
16) What makes your Brokerage Unique?
This last question should be asked at the end of the interview as a final way of letting your potential brokerages pitch themselves one last time. We mentioned earlier that the fees are not the most important aspect of picking a brokerage. That is because each brokerage offers their agents an unique environment and business that they can then take and improve upon by themselves.
An ideal brokerage should be one that is suited towards your personal goals and business style. When interviewing brokerages, you shouldn’t look only at their tools and resources at face value. Learn about the brokerage’s culture and see how much value they can really add to you and your business!
17) What are My Growth Opportunities?
Too many agents across the real estate industry miss out on earning much money as possible by not having access to additional growth opportunities income streams.
Can you benefit financially by growing the company? Can you launch your own real estate team? Can you learn commercial, luxury, REO, and new lead generation niches to expand your commission opportunities? Will you have access to a big referral network?
18) Can I Build My Brand Here?
Your real estate business depends on one thing: YOU. Your potential buyers care less about your brokerage name and more about aligning with the right agent to help them succeed.
Some brokerages force you to market their name instead of putting your own name first. The right real estate brokerage is going to encourage you to execute your own marketing plan and to push YOUR content and name out there. You are simply partnering with the right real estate broker to help achieve your goals.
19) What is the Culture/Vibe Like?
It isn’t all about numbers and tools. You want to be working with the right people that help you succeed an agent! There should be a win win, helpful, enthusiastic atmosphere. It shouldn’t feel cutthroat or competitive.
As a sales agent there’s so much of that out there already, you don’t need that from your own brokerage company!
20) How are You Evolving with the Times?
Do you have the best technology and training? Are agents required to pay for offices and desks they don’t need? Can agents become owners of the company? How is your brokerage staying ahead of the competition?
If you start at a company that has failed to evolve with the times, you may find yourself at an out of business brokerage and having to switch before long.
21) What exit strategies are available?
If you could build a cash flow streams on top of your commission, stock, referrals, team splits, and other agent income to create financial freedom, would you?
As real estate agents, we love to find clients a solution to their real estate problems. But have you ever thought about when there comes a day when you might want to retire from real estate and just enjoy life?
Make sure to look for potential exit strategies that a broker may be able to offer you, because most real estate agents never retire, they just expire. (And we don’t want that to be you!)
Download the Full List to Take to Your Brokerage Interviews!
Download the full 21 question printable list with 5 bonus questions you MUST ask to ensure your success at a new brokerage:
Have You Considered eXp Realty?
As a real estate agent who started at eXp Realty and then became successful very quickly, going from part time to full time in just a few years, I truly believe in eXp Realty as one of the best brokerage options to consider. eXp Realty is the fastest growing, most agent-centric, highest value real estate brokerage in the World!
But unlike old fashioned franchises, the way to learn about eXp is by meeting with eXp agents! If you’d like to learn about eXp Realty and what sponsoring with our team (for free) will do to provide additional support, tools, training, coaching, collaboration, and resources for your growth, success, and freedom as a real estate agent, schedule a call below!
Learn More About eXp Realty & Our Free Partnership Team!
If you are interested in joining the best brokerage for agent growth, compensation, and opportunity in the world, be sure to partner with the best sponsorship team in the world as well! We provide additional training, tools, coaching, partners, collaboration, masterminds, and resources for your success!
We believe in massive growth and financial freedom for all real estate agents! Live your dream real estate lifestyle with us.
For more eXp Realty details, check out our comprehensive About eXp Realty – Everything You Need to Know article.