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Lj, Other/Just Looking in Nashville, TN

Can anyone give me advice on which company would be best for a new agent? Remax, Keller Williams, Exit,

Asked by Lj, Nashville, TN Wed May 21, 2008

Century 21?

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LJ: Since you're in Nashville, I thought it might be good for you to hear from a local agent who is not a broker or owner. In 2005, I joined my first and only company, Village Real Estate. I interviewed no where else. I wanted a company that neighborhood/community service was #1 and matching buyers and sellers was a secondary function. Village Real Estate was founded on the notion of community service and giving (both in finance and sweat-equity) to the community. The Village Fund gives thousands and thousands of dollars annually to organizations varying from Nashville Greenways to Habitat for Humanity.

The second reason I chose Village its reputation as a Nashville-specific, Nashville-centric company. I have found it to be a place that fosters concern for other agents, a non-competitive environment, amazing education opportunities and success that I didn't know was possible. Thanks to Village, I was the Rookie of the Year for Nashville in 2006, selling 62 homes in my first year.

Bobbie Noreen, our broker, is possibly the best local broker educator I've ever seen. She teaches classes ranging from contract basics to new home sales. Outside of her teachings you will find education topics such as "Search Engine Optimization," "Digital Listing Presentations," "Using Video To Promote Product & Brand," "Finding and Retaining Buyers For Life," "Marketing For Free," "Price Strategies," "The Top 50 Things You Need In A Changing Market," "Using Outlook, Word and Powerpoint in Your Business," "Photography Techniques," and the list goes on and on.

We have group meetings weekly which include promoting each other's listings, recognizing a community organization and sharing tons of good, positive stories. We also have "agent trench" time where we gather around a big table and share advice, struggles and great ideas.

Our owner, who is Nashville's top producing agent, is at every meeting, every week and is never hard to find. Ultimately, Village (while not perfect) is a fine choice for a new agent. It was the best decision I've made in my real estate career.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008

The brand of the company does not really matter. Here's the bottom line when you're considering joining a real estate broker -- it's not the color of the sign, it's the quality of the broker. I run a Prudential franchised-company, but I would never encourage an agent from outside my area to join a Prudential company just because of the flag they fly.

I think if you're starting out in the business, you need to look at who is actually running the companies that you're thinking of joining. People in this thread have recommended their own franchises, and I respect their opinion (and their passion for their franchise model), but unless they're actually in Nashville they really can't say whether, say, the Re/Max franchise in that area would be the right place for a new agent. After all, the Re/Max broker in Nashville might be a doofus, or a crook, or just a lousy, lazy broker who will do nothing but hand you a set of tapes and say, "go sell houses." (I want to be clear that I have no reason to think any of those things about Re/Max brokers in Nashville, I'm speaking hypothetically.)

The best advice I could give you would be to act as if you were looking for a home in the area.
Look for a broker to work for like you'd look for a broker to list with. Go online, and see which brokers have strong websites. See which ones have ponied up to feature their homes on third-party sites. We used to tell people to look in the newspaper, which is less important now but can at least can tell you who has a public profile. Go see their offices, and see what you think. Meet some of the agents, and decide whether they're the type of people you could come into the office and see each day.

And then once you get a sense of how the companies work, go for interviews. Figure out what's important to you, and ask questions about it.

Bottom line is this -- you don't work with Century 21 or Keller Williams or Exit or any of those franshises. You work with the broker who operates the franchise. A bad broker can make a good franchise a place where good careers go to die, and a good broker can take any business model and create great opportunities for motivated agents.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 22, 2008
New agent? Not REMAX. Keller Williams has, by far, the best training materials out there. Other companies primarily teach you what to do to keep out of legal trouble, Keller Williams teaches you, in detail with numerous support materials, HOW to do this business, WHAT to do daily to prosper. By the way, I have my own brokerage; I do not work for Keller Williams, but I am a real estate instructor and see excellent training at KW.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
Hi Lj,

Welcome to Trulia.

I am a Keller Williams aficionado so guess which brokerage company I am going to strongly suggest you to investigate.....yes..Keller Williams...:)

Seriously, you are doing the right thing; ask around you, ask other agents, interview different brokers, make yourself as knowledgeable as possible about the industry practices. Don't forget, as an individual contractors (as most agents are) the best brokerage company is the one that empower you to reach beyond your goals.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011

I personally think that Coldwell Banker is the best company for a new agent, and I have worked for Prudential and Sotheby's my entire career. They have tremendous training for new agents and it should be more about the education than the commission split for new agents. If you don't know what your doing you wont get a signed contract and you will never need to worry about commission splits. Best in your decision
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011

I personally think that Coldwell Banker is the best company for a new agent, and I have worked for Prudential and Sotheby's my entire career. They have tremendous training for new agents and it should be more about the education than the commission split for new agents. If you don't know what your doing you wont get a signed contract and you will never need to worry about commission splits. Best in your decision
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
If you are looking for a small, boutique type agency Lifestyles Realty is great. I am an agent there and Debbie Hewitt, my broker is fantastic. She will mentor you well, if you need it. During these times our office is very busy with listings and buyers...come join us.

Debby Hill
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
I have to object with the posting and answers that say that brand name is not important or an unimportant factor.

Brand name for a brand new agent is paramount to someone who is starting out. It opens doors and give you credibility.

Yes, management is important, training is key but you should look at a company has a strong brand presence in your market (listings), has management that fits your business philosopny and has a developed training and mentorship model.

Branding is different everywhere. In your area, a local brand may be more prevalent than a national brand. Nonetheless, study market share. Very best of luck.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 23, 2008
Talk to all of the real estate companies in your area, and get information on their training and their commission splits. Once you have a comparison of these measurable items, you can start narrowing down your search by determining the "personality" of each office.

The company brand is one of the least important factors when deciding which office to join. Most important is the personality of each office, not the brand's propaganda. A horrible broker can turn any brand's propaganda and strong points into a nightmare.

Also, consider what type of marketing you're allowed to do with each office. Many franchises have a "franchise first" mentality, where all of your marketing must show the franchise in the primary position on all marketing materials, and allow for limited (if any) customization of your marketing materials. This may seem good for new agents, since everything is pre-designed for you, but in the long run it may not be what you want.

If the office that you're interviewing says that it passes leads on to the agents, ask how that is done and how much it will cost you per lead. You'll likely find that some charge nothing, some charge a 25% referral fee, and some charge a referral fee plus a reduction in your commission split. As a new agent, you'll want to have as many opportunities as possible to generate new business.

As for profit sharing and other "extras", truthfully that doesn't impact the majority of the agents. If you don't recruit other producing agents, then you don't get a share of the profit sharing pool. And if you do bring agents into the firm and your recruit has a large sale in a month where the company is not profit sharing for some reason (likely a high-expense month), then you get nothing from their efforts. Get the facts, not the propaganda, before making a commitment to an office based on these "extras".

Good luck!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 23, 2008
Keller Williams is a great company and there are many programs there for new agents as well as seasoned agents. I began my career with Keller Williams and have had great training.
Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 22, 2008
After 12 years with the same company, I moved my licenses to Keller Williams Realty. Financial aspects aside, my decision was made when they told me the company philosophy : "God first, family second, and then your business."

My second week with the company I attended their convention called "Family Reunion" that offered intense education oportunities. I was blown away when Gary Keller said from the podium, "You don't work for me. I work for you." As a new agent, you will be offered as much education, motivation and optimism as you can absorb. You will be helped and encouraged as much as you want, but you will not be smothered. If you are a self-starter this will mean alot to you.

Then there is the financial part. KW offers profit sharing which is vested after three years and gives financial planning education to help you keep some of what you earn for retirement. You will have a say as to what is spent in your Market Center, so the profit line is held by the agents themselves. I was REALLY impressed as well, because I'm very opinionated and like to put in my $.02.

Keller Williams is also very altruistic as a company. After Hurricane Katrina KW agents helped take care of other KW agents affected by the destruction with huge donations. We take care of each other and reach out to our local communities as well. There are so many examples.

Please do yourself a favor and call your most convenient Keller Williams office to talk to the Team Leader who can outline all of the Keller Williams better than I ever could.

GOOD LUCK! Becky Henley, Affiliate Broker, Keller Williams Realty, Germantown, TN
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
Interesting answers,,,my advice? Check with the local real estate boards in the area you will be servicing. Find out what type of support they provide; which agencies support that board as well as the community(ies) you want to service. Then, sit down with paper and pen and make a list of questions to ask the agency YOU are interviewing. (My website has a link to a report of "10 Questions Agents hate to be asked". Review that - - pretty interesting,,,, )Then decide the type of environment you feel you best work in; do you enjoy a really large "corporate" environment? do you find a mid-sized environment is less distracting and more helpful? is a smaller environment more beneficial to you due to the ability to work more closly with your co-workers and learn more and able to support each other better? Or not?
THEN review the agency's in your area that fit these requirments, take your list of questions and go interview them. You'll find that by taking a bit more time to educate yourself on who and what's out there, you can make a much better decision based on what YOUR needs are going to be.
Best of luck and welcome to the best group of professionals in the business world!
Tina Evans, Principal Broker
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
Iv'e been a Realtor exclusively in Sonoma County for 30 years and started with a large shop for the training. If I was new I would probably seek out a Keller Williams office and speak with the "Team Leader" in the office about the training THEY offer. Our particular Market Center here in Santa Rosa has training almost 5 days a week, regional training, "Mega-Camps" for those really wishing to expand their existing business plus a superior "mentoring" program to get you on the fast track. Our "culture" is second to none for the support and nuturing of the new Realtor. We also have a unique "profit-sharing" module which is solely based on the individual "market center" success. Some call us "Multi-level" and a "Pyramid Scheme" but these are folks who have never explored our business model. I encourage you to interview many of the top flight franchises and local "regional" companies in your area of Nashville. Good luck--you've picked a super time to enter this market!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
I came fresh from getting my license with no real estate experience. I interviewed KW, had an issue with them,r REMAX would not talk to me until I had experience. I went with ZIP Realty. ZIP offers you leads, medical , dental, 401k and too many monetary perks to mention based on your productivity. I made presidents club in the 3rd quarter because the viable leads ZIP sent me. They are a publicly traded company, and have an excellent computer based program. I left them because they do require full time employees only and I am going in to the restaurant business. If there is a ZIP office near you, you will succeed if you devote yourself to their business model! Call me for more information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
I asked the exact same question when I started in Real Estate. After interviewing with large companies, small companies, well know companies and companies that had just started I felt the most comfortable with Century 21. Just like Heidi said, they have an award winning trainig program. They also offer computer training for those that are not up to date on various progams as well as a ton of training on being the best agent possible. I have nothing to gain by telling you this like other companies do. I'm just trying to save you all the time that it took me. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
As an Exit agent, I have to throw my vote to them. Not for any company loyalty reasons, but simply because I am very happy there. My broker provides excellent training and our entire office is constantly there to help. I can't guarantee every Exit office works like that, but ours is excellent in terms of constant training and support from both the broker and the other agents. As for the financial end of things, I like the splits, the franchise fee isn't unbearable, and the opportunity to sponsor other agents into the company are the basic reasons I chose Exit at the end of the day. I had spoken to several brokers and always had the feeling that they were "dodging" money questions, which annoyed me. If I am to succeed (and make them money), I should be able to ask a question and get an answer. My broker had no problem telling me anything, good or bad. Of course if the broker is bad, but Exit is great, your experience will still be bad. So look beyond the company and to your broker as well.

That's my two cents.

(And I'd be crazy to not say that I'd gladly speak to you more about it and help sponsor you in to Exit...)

Matt Stigliano
Exit Realty North-San Antonio
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
I believe that the best business models are RE/MAX, Exit, and Keller Williams.
If I were to start again, I would begin with a power team. Corporate training will not be as meaningful as working with an experienced team.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
I suggest that you interview with at least three companies and see what they have to offer. You want a company with excellent training, a support staff, and a manager that is available. A company with integrity, that is personally invested in you, not just looking at your potential income. Take a look at Coldwell Banker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
Many Realtors are going to tell you they are witht he best company. Best is a subjective term. Interview interview interview and do not believe the hype ask about more than your split because many times you will do better at a 60/40 at a company tat provides you with a lot of services like virtual tours enhancements etc than a 70/30 at a company that provides very little. If you are looking at a company that provides kickbacks for recruiting concider if you want to focus on that or marketing homes to make those systems work youdo have to recruit. I strarted my own retirement plan and found an office that provides access to health insurance. I personally chose Century 21 because they have an award winning training program a truly world renound name and I found an office that has a philosophy that I believe in, Those were my choices the great thing about being in this business is you get to choose for yourself. Try to start deciding what best means for you and go find it! Enjoy your journey!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
I understand that Keller Williams has a wonderful training program for new Realtors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
I have work with Remax, Crye-Leike and Exit. I am Currently with Exit Realty Network. The potential to ensure the security of your retirement and your family is why I picked Exit. If you sponsor agents in you receive 10% of the gross commission upto $100K. If you have sponsored agents in at retirement you receive7% and upon your death your faily receive 5% for as long as the sponsored agent stays with Exit. This could be the only income that you may ever need if you sponsor producing agents in. There are no deck fees. Exit starts new agents at the 70% commission. This is on the gross not the next. Be sure to ask all the other companies if your commission check will be paid off the net or the gross. And if it is the net what comes out of the commission before it makes it to you. There are so many questions for you to ask when looking at a company to hang your lisense. Exit is the fastest growing company in the USA and the reason why is easy to see. The Agents take more money home. I would love to tell you more just give me a call or send me an email. I'll make time for you. Our agency is starting a lead generation team. Come be a part of an exciting time.! Brenda Skees 615-349-6073
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
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