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.