New to the Business? Time for a Change? What to ask when interviewing Brokerages?

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I have been in Real Estate for the past 15 years and it has been the best Career I could have ever asked for. I have been involved in every aspect from Receptionist, Office Administration, Licenced Assistant, Part Time REALTOR® and now a Full Time REALTOR® . I have worked for 6 different Real Estate Brokerages over my 15 years (some Franchised and some not) and have learned a lot. I share with you now some ideas that I have on what to ask when it comes time to interview a Brokerage.

Training and Continuous Education

  • Does the Brokerage have a Broker of Record and/or Office Manager who is willing to help you 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week or are there limited available times?
  • Does the Brokerage have a Mentoring Program where a mature REALTOR® takes the time to help a new REALTOR®? If so, is there a cost to this program?
  • Will the Brokerage sit down with you to help guide you through the necessary paperwork of any given transaction (Listings, Offers, Amendments, FINTRAC, Working with the REALTOR® Brochure, etc.)?
  • Are there costs associated with Training Programs and/or Continual Education Sessions with the Brokerage and who provides that training?
  • Do the current REALTORS® within the Brokerage participate in ongoing training and/or education? Is their training and education available for every level of professional (New to Mature)?
  • Do the current REALTORS® within the Brokerage attend Real Estate related Conferences whether hosted by OREA, CREA or their own Franchise?

What services does the Brokerage Supply to its REALTORS®?

  • Does the Brokerage provide all the necessary Real Estate Forms? If so, is there a cost to those forms or are they included in your fees?
  • Does the Brokerage provide the material for you to utilize for a Listing Presentation or Listing of a Property or for a buyer?
  • Will the Brokerage be providing you with a “Start Up Kit” of some sort for sale/sold signs, sign frames, business cards, marketing materials etc.?
  • What technology does the Brokerage have to offer you?
  • Does the Brokerage have a marketing centre for you to print flyers, brochures, postcards, and/or tips & tricks to start a client base? Or with your current client base?
  • Does the Brokerage provide a Lead Generation Platform or Program as a bonus for their REALTORS®? Is there a cost associated?
  • Does the Brokerage have a Referral Network or does it work with relocation companies?
  • Does the Brokerage have a duty system or schedule? And how does it work?

What is the Brokerage’s business model and what types of professionals are there within the Brokerage?

  • Is the Brokerage a franchise? If so, what are the fees and how does the franchise benefit me?
  • How do the franchise and Brokerage market the brand? Locally? Nationally? Worldwide?
  • Are there fees you have to pay for franchise marketing?
  • What geographical area does your Brokerage cover? Who is responsible for each area/branch/office?
  • Which areas of expertise does the Brokerage specialize in? Residential? Commercial? Rural? Property Management?
  • Does the Brokerage have Policies and Procedures in place and updated regularly? Who is responsible for making sure proper Policies and Procedures are followed?
  • Ask for Statistics for some of the Brokerage’s New REALTORS® to show their success in the first 2 or 3 years.

Brokerage Commission Packages Available?

  • What are commission splits? And how do they work with the Brokerage?
  • Can you work towards a higher commission split? If so, will it continue once reached or does it restart each year?
  • What do those commission splits include?
  • What additional costs could there be? (i.e. real estate board fees, association fees, administrative fees, franchise fees, fees for supplies etc.)
  • How do commissions get paid out? By cheque or direct deposit? Is there a fee for direct deposit?
  • How quickly do commissions get paid out?

Brokerage involvement in the Community or Charity work?

  • Does the Brokerage have a charity that they work alongside? And are they actively involved with fundraising and events for this charity?
  • Is the Brokerage involved with community events? If not, are they open to starting? If they do, how involved are the REALTORS® within the Brokerage?
  • Can charitable contributions be deducted from my commissions upon request and donated on my behalf?
  • Will the Brokerage work outside a franchised charity to raise money for a charity that is important to you? Will the Brokerage’s REALTORS® support you as well?

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when making the decision to join a Brokerage. The main piece of advice that I can give to someone, is don’t be afraid to ask a Brokerage questions. The more you know, the more confident you will feel about your decision.

Knowledge is Power!

This article contribution is from OREA YPN Member Kim Clouthier. Kim is a Full Time REALTOR®  and sits as President Elect for 2016 with The Sault Ste. Marie Real Estate Board.

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