I guess there should be some advantage of being in the business for 30 years and managing small and large offices for more than 1/2 of that time.
The other day, a friend of a friend, ask me if I would give them some advice about how to choose a company for a new agent. I know that it took me a couple of years after I got my license before I realized where I needed to be and what questions I really needed to ask in the interview: In truth, it is very hard, when interviewing, to get apple to apple comparisons because companies are so different.
Here are some of the ideas that I have, not necessarily in order of importance. I would love to hear yours as well.
- What is the companies reputation in the market place with both consumers and other agents. If your office, broker or agents are not respected, it is a strke against you.
- Training is the key as a new agent. Ask them about initial training and ongoing training. Is training regularily scheduled (Every Tuesday, etc) Do they have a published class schedule. If neither, I would be suspect. In my last office, I had a least 2 classes per week. Sometimes, more.
- If it is a multi office company, can you attend classes in other branches? Do you get a copy of their training calendar
- If it is a large company, do they have online classes available or regiional events.
- how often do they have Legal updates?
- who does the training. In a smaller office, the owner broker is most often a competing agent. How often are they in or are they out doing business.
- Who will help you with your goal planning and coaching. Do they have someone assigned to do this. Will they show you their coaching forms and how it works. Is the person who does the coaching the same person who does the training
- If you are starting part time, is there any Saturday classes.
- Ask if you could speak to a couple of the agents in the office. A relatively new agent and an experienced agents. ask them why they are with the company.
- What is their market share? Is it growing, staying the same or shrinking from last year. As a new agent, you need all the help you can get, so seeing your company signs all over town helps your credibility.
- Location matters. Is there a reason you are choosing that neighborhood or city. Do you have a connection there or are you there because it is the high priced area. It helps if you are near where you live and know. Knowledge is power in real estate and if you know an area, it helps a lot
- is your company socially active in the community? Again, it helps your image as a new agent
- Price matters; Many companies tend to stay within a price range. Some specialize in high priced property, while others deal with blue collar people. Look at where the office has most of it's listings and it will tell you a lot about who they are and see if you feel comfortable there
- What about technology. Do they have up to date copiers, scanners, websites, etc, etc.
- Don't get hung up on commission splits. You get a higher split if the broker offers less. So, the question is what am I getting for the cut the broker is taking including training, nice offices, desk (or not), cubicle, office, advertising, signs, website support
- Are there any hidden costs such as tech fees, copy charges, etc.
- Do they let their agent brand themselves or it is all about branding the company. One way to find this out quickly is to lookat agent cards. If the key thing on the cards is the company, then this is a company that brands the company. If the cards are all different, then the company allows the agent to brand themselves and their business.
- How willing are the old timers willing to help new agents. Some will while some consider them pests. One of the clues is to see if any of the experienced agents teach any of the training classes. A good sign
- Besides the starting commission split, how does one progress this year and next year. One of the key questions and red flags is ........are all agents with the same production on the very same split. If not, there are office favorites and could be problem.
- Does the company advertise? How often? How are the houses chosen? Note in some offices only Open Houses are advertised, while others houses in their key market area get preference.
- Is there an inhouse transaction coordinator? In house lender? What support does the staff give regarding paperwork?
I am sure there are a lot more but it's getting late, so I am going to leave it there and ask for your comments.