What questions should you ask when you are interviewing brokerages? Choosing the right brokerage that fits your real estate business is such a tough decision for any new real estate agent, let alone new part time agents.
Everything is brand new, you don’t have any prior experience in the real estate business, nor do you know exactly what to consider as a new agent. Part time agents have a particularly difficult task because they need to find a brokerage that they can partner with and is part time agent friendly. More on how to become a part time real estate agent, click here.
20 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Brokerages
- Does the brokerage allow both full & part time agents?
- What type of training do you offer new & experienced agents?
- Is the training in person, virtually, or available on demand?
- What mentorship opportunities do you provide new agents? Is there a fee for this mentorship program?
- Do I have access to the managing broker for support and at what times? Who do I speak with when I have contract questions?
- How many full & part time agents are in the brokerage?
- Do you offer team meetings, masterminds, lunch & learns, etc? If so, how often & when?
- Where is the office located? Can I get a tour of the office?
- Do I have any obligations to the brokerage? Is desk or phone duty required for agents?
- What is the culture of the brokerage like?
- How are agents who are successful recognized?
- What platforms & technologies does your brokerage offer?
- What lead generations tools will be available to use? Do you provide leads to your agents?
- Do you have any restrictions on personal branding?
- What are your brokerage & franchise fees?
- What are your commission splits & cap?
- Are there any other expenses you should know about?
- How are transactions processed?
- Are there any additional benefits you offer your agents, such as revenue or profit share, stocks, insurance, etc?
- How does your brokerage set you apart from other brokerages?
1) Does the brokerage allow both full & part time agents?
When you are interviewing brokerages with the expectation of being a part time agent, this is probably the most important question in deciding if this brokerage is the right fit for you. Your needs as a part time agent are going to be different than a full time agent and this may not fit the business plan of the brokerages you are interviewing, and that’s ok. Your brokerage is going to be your partner in business and if it is not a good fit for either of you, then it is ok to keep interviewing brokerages.
2) What type of training do you offer new & experienced agents?
As a new part time agent, training is so key to getting your business off the ground running. Pre-licensing course work is important to learn as it keeps you out of real estate jail, but it doesn’t necessarily teach you how to be the next neighborhood rock star agent.
As you are interviewing brokerages, you need to ask how these trainings will be provided to you and by whom. Is the training provided by the top agents who are currently crushing it in their real estate market? Or are we being taught by someone who was a top producer 20 years ago, but no longer is active in real estate? Its important to know where this training is coming from & the quality because education is how you are able to grow your business. Quite simply, the more you know, the more you grow. For more information on how to become a successful part time real estate agent, click here.
3) Is the training in person, virtually, or available on demand?
Flexibility in how you access training is going to be really important as a part time agent. When you are interviewing brokerages, ask them how the training is provided. If they offer live in person or virtual training, do they offer it at different times through out the day, ie early morning, evenings or weekends, so if you need to work a 9-5 job, you have these available to attend?
If they only offer the training live in person or virtually at certain times, are they recorded and available on demand? Having the option to watch recorded trainings at your convenience and at a location of your choosing is a game changer for the part time agent as it allows you the flexibility you need.
4) What mentorship opportunities do you provide new agents? Is there a fee for this mentorship program?
As a new part time agent, you will want to inquire about any mentorship programs & opportunities when interviewing brokerages. The training in the classroom will only take you so far and it will be crucial to get hands on learning in the field with an experienced agent that is your real estate market.
When interviewing brokerages, you need to ask if there is a fee or a percentage of your commission owed to the mentor and for how many deals. Even though it may cost you up front, because the mentor will be incentivized to help you succeed as they will have an interest in your business growing.
Picking the right mentor is also important as you need to find one that works for your schedule & understands your needs as a part time agent. The best mentors are ones that are patient, understanding & actually cares about your success & growth as a part time agent.
5) Do I have access to the managing broker for support and at what times? Who do I speak with when I have contract questions?
Understanding the availability of your managing broker when interviewing brokerages is so important because as new part time agents, you need that extra support to make sure you are staying in compliance with all of your contracts, disclosures & proper company procedures, and in the times you need them. If the managing broker is not available at the times you need them, who is the next line of defense when you need a question answered? Some brokerages may have many agents to support, and may not be as accessible to agents who work part time. Asking this questions while you are interviewing brokerages will help you to know what to expect from your managing brokers.
6) How many full & part time agents are in the brokerage?
Learning how many agents are in the brokerage is important to ask when interviewing brokerages, so you can understand what the company culture is like. Also, asking in particular how many are full time and how many are part time agents, will give you a good baseline if the brokerage caters to one group or the other. Its important to note that if there are less part time agents, that they don’t necessarily mean they discourage them in the company, but if you see that they foster and encourage part time agents, you have a better chance of success.
7) Do you offer team meetings, masterminds, lunch & learns, etc? If so, how often & when?
Whether the brokerage offers team meetings, masterminds, lunch & learns, etc is important to ask when you are interviewing brokerages because you can find out if the culture fosters collaboration amongst agent to agent. Learning from the top producers from the company and what is happening right now in the market, is imperative to keeping your real estate business current. Part time agents need to have access to this as well, so it’s important to know if they are offered during off hours of the day, multiple times through out the week or recorded for later viewing.
8) Where is the office located? Can I get a tour of the office?
Location, location, location. This is something that you will learn when selling real estate as an agent, but the saying holds true when picking a brokerage and their office locations. If the commute to the brokerage is too cumbersome and out of the way, it will be make it very hard for agents to be productive. It makes it even more important as a part time agent because you also have to consider in what proximity to your full time W2 job is this brokerage & if you have access to it during off hours.
Some brokerages don’t actually have any brick & mortar locations, which means you are allowed to work from your home office & to do transactions online. This may be an important option for people who are already working from home or don’t have many brokerages to choose from in your market area.
If having a brick & mortar location is important to you, then when you are interviewing brokerages, ask if you can get a tour of the location. Actually seeing the location in person, will give you a good visual if you can see yourself in that setting. Also, taking notes on who and how many people are in the office & how it is being used is a good indicator if having one is totally necessary for your real estate business.
9) Do I have any obligations to the brokerage? Is desk or phone duty required for agents?
Generally, when you are interviewing brokerages to partner with, you are finding what they have to offer you as an agent. There are times though that the brokerage will also have necessary obligations for their agents.
For instance, you may be required to do a certain number of deals as a production requirement or a certain GCI (gross commission income). This may be beneficial to motivate agents to be productive, but it may not be for another agent who is looking for freedom to run their real estate business their way. Part time agents may have more of a difficult time with production/GCI requirements as they don’t have as many hours in the day to work on their business. This isn’t to say it isn’t possible, but it may take a lot more time management, motivation & dedication.
Another type of obligation that you might find out when interviewing brokerages, is that they require a certain desk or phone duty in the office. As a part time agent, you may need to find out if this is possible for you to do while keeping your full time W2 job, and if not, if there are any other options allowed by the brokerage. The other option is to find a brokerage that does not require desk duty, like a cloud based brokerage.
10) What is the culture of the brokerage like?
What is the culture of the brokerage like is an important question to ask when interviewing brokerages. Is the brokerage agent centric? Does the brokerage support your personal beliefs & core values? Does the brokerage promote agent collaboration & support? Does this brokerage foster individuality & allow you the freedom to run your business your way? These are all questions that are important to know because if the company culture is a good fit for you, then you have a better chance at becoming a successful agent.
11) How are agents who are successful recognized?
As a new part time agent, your focus at the beginning of your career is how to start this new venture and a have it be a viable business. What you also need to consider when interviewing brokerages, is how do they recognize & reward their top producing agents?
Some brokerages give their top agents recognition in some way, whether it will be an actual award or equity opportunities within the company. This can be a motivating factor for agents, new & seasoned alike, on becoming high achievers and retaining top talent within the company, and to help your business financially. If you are looking for ways to become a successful part time real estate agent, click here.
12) What platforms & technologies does your brokerage offer?
Making sure the brokerage you choose stays current with the emerging technologies, such as the iBuyer, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc is so important to make sure your business does not get left behind. What are they doing to combat with these and what unique competitive advantage do they have or will be developing is important to find out when interviewing brokerages.
13) What lead generations tools will be available to use? Do you provide leads to your agents?
Most agents think that they are in the business of selling houses, but in actuality, they are in the business of generating leads, because lets face it, if you have no leads, you have no business. That is why it is so important when interview brokerages you ask how leads are generated & how if they will assist you in generating leads.
Some brokerages are successful in providing leads to their agents, while others focus on providing you the tools you need to generate your own leads. Picking the right model is an individual choice and it comes down to what is right for you for your business. If you are a full time agent and need leads constantly & consistently handed to you in order to keep business moving, then picking a brokerage that provides leads may be right for you. If you are a part time agent and have the time to learn how cultivate your own leads, then maybe learning to how to use the lead generation tools is the right move for you.
14) Do you have any restrictions on personal branding?
Do you have any restrictions on personal branding can be important when interviewing brokerages. Some brokerages will only allow you to use their branded marketing material and some will allow you to take some liberties to be creative and build up your “brand”. This will become important if you ever decide to leave your brokerage as you may have to start building your brand from scratch if it is not allowed to be carried to the other brokerage. If you are looking for free or low cost ways to brand yourself, check out Canva as it is a great way to create a cohesive look & use already designed professional looking templates.
15) What are your brokerage & franchise fees?
This may be one of most important questions to ask as a new part time agent when interviewing brokerages. Usually brokerages will require monthly costs & fees to cover the brokerage’s expenses, and can range anywhere from $85 – $200 a month depending on their business model. Asking for these cost up front will help you understand what to expect & the value given for these expenses.
16) What are your commission splits & cap?
Depending on the brokerage business model, you will find many different variations of commission splits & caps when you are interviewing brokerages. A brokerage cap is the amount of money you will have to pay to the brokerage before you can keep 100% of your commissions. Its important to note, that not all brokerages offer a cap, especially if they have a more desirable split, but it is not always the best financially for your business. Make sure you compare the compensation plans side by side in order to get a clear picture of what your income will be at the end of the year.
17) Are there any other expenses you should know about?
When interview brokerages, asking if there are any other expenses that are required but not covered in monthly fees and commission splits. A good example is that most brokerages require you to join your local real estate board, which is an additional expense that you will need to account for. Also, who is responsible for marketing materials, advertising & continuing education costs are important to ask when interviewing brokerages.
18) How are transactions processed?
It is important when interviewing brokerages that you ask what the procedure is for processing transactions. All transactions will need to be processed according to your state compliance law, it is important to understand how they are processed, whether in person or electronically, and the time necessary for this, as paperwork is how you get paid.
19) Are there any additional benefits you offer your agents, such as revenue or profit share, stocks, insurance, etc?
As an independent contractor, you are often not offered the same various benefits as some one who is still working a full time W2 job. As a part time agent, this may not be as important to you at first, but if you ever want to one day turn into a full time agent, having access to additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement accounts, and other streams of income besides selling real estate, may become more important. Its important when interviewing brokerages to ask if they offer these benefits such as revenue share, profit share, equity options, health insurance, etc. and how they work.
20) How does your brokerage set you apart from other brokerages?
This final question to ask when interviewing brokerages is important because it is a final way for the brokerage to let you know why you should partner with them over the next brokerage. Each brokerage offers their agents unique opportunities and you need to weigh each of these carefully. The best brokerage for your business should be one suited for your personal & business goals as a part time real estate agent. You should also take into account the brokerage’s culture and how their values align with your own.
Now that you are equipped with the top 20 questions to ask when interviewing brokerages, the next step is to go out, research & meet with your future business partners!
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