I'm a new agent looking for a broker to work for.....

Asked by Jc Wong, Seattle, WA Sat Jan 12, 2008

How do I know which office to go with? One with the highest commission split, or best mentoring, or the least monthly dues.....?? thanks

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Ardell Della…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Sun Jan 13, 2008

See this in Sylvia's answer:

"mentoring program - although it turned out that I did not need one"

I was much like Sylvia. Often it depends on the skillset you bring into the career. Most cannot be all things at once in the beginning. In fact very few can. Depends on your mindset and skillset.

You probably won' t know which way is best for you or which Company suits your particular skillset until you sell three houses.

Come back and ask again then. Until then, it doesn't matter much. Go sell three houses and that will tell you much. After you see the whole process from beginning to end three times, as each will be different, you will have a better idea of which questions to ask regarding type of office.

Those who need little support should go for cheapest cost with built in leads, like ours. Those who need too much support may need a partner. Some always need a team or partner as they can't be all things to all people...nothing wrong with that.

You won't know until you sell a few houses. Most times what an agent thinks is involved in selling real estate is not what it actually is, so give it a spin and good luck to you.
3 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2008
Hi Jo:

When I started out, I looked for a broker with the following:

- Great training program , contract, market property and self
- Great reputation
- Great local presence
- Great Support - management, staff
- mentoring program - although it turned out that I did not need one
- Great Agents - who are ethical, supportive, successful share the same value system
- Office with full time agents (this is their primary job, not just one deal a year)
- Great technology and web presence

The other things, commission split, monthly dues, E&O insurance, desk fees, etc all came second to me.

The reason is that you need to look at long term goal and once you have a winning office and winning formula to be a great agent, the commission split will naturally go up - I set out to be successful so this was not a big worry for me.

Set your goal high and find a company / manager who can support you to accomplish that.

3 votes
Ardell Della…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Sat Jan 12, 2008
I agree that large broker and "training" is important. I started with Coldwell Banker. But once you know what you need to do to make it in this business, often the big broker has the big rules that get in your way. It's harder these days for a new person to be successful within their structure. Some won't let you blog, most won't let you negotiate commissions with your buyer clients. Lots of big rules go along with the "big" training.

So go...get the training, but don't quit the business if it doesn't work out. Try a smaller Broker that has looser rules that let you be more Consumer-Centric.

Oh and just so you don't feel like I'm saying I wouldn't want you, feel free to give me a call at 206-910-1000. I'm the Broker of BRIO Realty in Bellevue. That's NOT a commercial and I'll be happy to give you my advices in person without trying to give you a hard sell. I won't lie to you either...so maybe you dont' want to call me :)

We have no desk fees, the cap is $18,500 the split is 80/20 unless you are lots of trouble, then the costs are higher, and you have to pass some of the savings of the low cap and high split over to the consumer. Odd business model...but there it is.

Some people need to work close to home and some don't, so you'll have to figure that out for yourself. Our agents are expected to work on laptops and be very technology savvy. Not all are...most are...and the rest are getting there painfully...but they are getting there.

Good luck to you! If you ever need advice, just give me a call.

Oh, and I train you how to represent people well, not how to kick and and make the big dough. So if you want to cold call and rake it in, try Asset Realty Group. There's a Company for everyone. Just depends on what you're trying to do. So what ARE you trying to do? Make lots of money? Be a good fiduciary? Be better than most agents? Before we can tell you which Company you should go to, you need to tell us what your real objective is. Sorry I didn't ask that first. It came to me as I was typing.

Kind of like a P.S. What do you want to be?
3 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Sat Jan 12, 2008
If you are new, training and support is most important at this time. What type of training you need will depend upon what your background is. If you have a lot of past sales or business experience, you might need less of that orientation, but will still be in need of real estate industry training.

Some individuals respond well to a structured training environment held with other trainees in a classroom. Others might thrive in a less structured environment with a great mentor, broker or coach. Only you can determine what is best for you. There is not a right or wrong. If you opt to go w/ a broker where you are supposed to recieve one-on-one coaching, mentoring and training, get a clear understanding of what that is supposed to mean. Will you meet with the coach/broker/mentor weekly? Will you have tasks and goals with accountability? Or will that mean that you are just supposed to call if and when you have questions?

Not all offices will have monthly dues. I would be lease concerned about the initial split. It's more important that you get good grounding. If you later feel you are worth a higher split, renegotiate it.

I have heard new agents rave about structured training, and I have heard new agents be extremely critical when they thought the class was moving too slowly for them. The complaints further extended to the fact that there was no "practical" training, just theory and classroom. I have heard new agent rave about working side-by-side, one-on-one with a broker/mentor, and I have heard others find themselves deeply disappointed that the expected level of attention did not measure up.

If you are new, you need support. Decide what structure and environment will best allow you to learn and thrive. It is more important that your broker teach you ways to build your business than provide you a lead source. Ask about ongoing broker support/training in business building.

Good Luck and Welcome to Real Estate!
3 votes
Linus Toy, , Mercer Island, WA
Mon Mar 10, 2008

Start with a strong, honest self-examination of your strengths and weaknesses.
Have you previously worked in an all-commission-based compensation system before?
Are you a strong self-starter? Do you have an inquisitive, sometimes skeptical mind? Are you analytical? Do you network easily? Are you highly competitive or more collaborative? Fancy yourself to be a star or member of a bigger team?

Interview/Network with a number of agents/brokers...try to find people with your background, whether that be straight out of school, mid-life career-change, or retirement career...figure out what's worked and what hasn't for these people, and how it might apply to you.

Once you answer these, your questions on commission split, mentoring, training, monthly fees, etc. should be more apparent. Don't forget--this is a business you pay to go to work in.

All that said, you will come down to a set of priorities--needs and wants that you need to find or match in not just the broker, but also the office culture...even within the same company name (brand), you're going to find differences with brokers, office cultures, etc. One of them will be right for you, hopefully in an area you're interested (i.e. close to home or serving the area you want to work).
1 vote
Britney John…, , North, SC
Sat Mar 8, 2008
Hi JC,

I read everyone elses comments here so I hope that my words of encouragement are not going to overlap. As you can see from reading the rest, realtors (agents) are helpful people who really strive to do their best for others, even though you sometimes have to work extra hard to convince your client of that.

As an agent, you will be faced with a dilemma that is going to take some skill developement to overcome. You are a sales person and certainly you will want to encourage a purchase, but you are also charged by law with protecting the interests of your client. The dilemma comes in when you have to explain to a client why you can't do something that is really important to them because it is simply not within the law.

This leads me to my first recommendation:

1. Re-read your law course work, but this time make a real effort to understand the meaning and intent of it. Then when you are faced with such an issue, you will have the knowledge to know how to work around it and not lose the sale and a good client. Ask questions from those who have been in the business and go over "what if" scenarios and how you can handle them.

I am the broker for an investigative real estate company. In addition to the usual purchase and sales, we do real estate fraud investigations and prepare the court presentations for the plaintiff and/or prosecution.

Real estate fraud is growing at a fast pace and we hire only the sharpest of the sharpest agents. These are people who immediately can spot a red flag and detect the small twitch in someone's eye who is being questioned. Most of my agents can rattle off the various sections of the Revised Code of Washington from memory. This agents are very well paid for there investigative abilities and they recover a lot of money for the insurance companies (title and otherwise). Their court presentations often shame the defense attorney's and often result in a conviction or monetary award. This brings me to my next point:

Start out maybe in residential, but at some point figure out what area of real estate you would like to settle into. Will it be residential, commercial, business broker, or maybe even something non-triditional such as my company.

I'll keep this short and end by saying that you were brave enough to come onto a public forum to seek advice-that is a good thing because it already tells me that you are not afraid to learn new things.

Good luck!
1 vote
Jc Wong, , Seattle, WA
Sat Jan 12, 2008
So Ardell, are you saying that a being a good fiduciary cannot be better than other agents and make lots of money at the same time?? "Can't be all things to all people including yourself"?? I don't get it. I'm not just me....I'm also a husband, dad, friend, uncle, and much much more. Sorry didn't understand your latest input. But I do appreciate all the help that you and everyone else have given me. Thanks for all your support!!!
1 vote
Ardell Della…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Sat Jan 12, 2008
"Just depends on what you're trying to do. So what ARE you trying to do? Make lots of money? Be a good fiduciary? Be better than most agents?"

LOL JC, you were supposed to pick one. You can't be all things to all people including yourself. That cracked me up when you answered "yes" as in all things.

Stay lose. You can change your license in a hearbeat. Go try something on for size. You won't have the right perspective into you see it from the inside.
1 vote
Gary McNinch, Agent, Kent, WA
Sat Jan 12, 2008
Hi Jo,

Congrats on entering a great business. All the answers below are good. Ardell is right that you must be tech savvy or you'll be left far behind. The fact that you are here, probably answers that one.

Being new you will need training and mentoring. Some companies charge you more than 50% of your commission for that. Others have quite a bit of free training but it is worth exactly what you pay. A good mix of new agent business and sales training with an experienced mentor to help you through your first several transactions is critical to success.

There are many good ethical companies and several awful (by that I mean they mostly are only concerned about their money... not service of the client and not your success).

I have been here for 6 years, so have a good handle on what might fit you best. I am affiliated with Keller Williams in Renton. We have good training for new folks and amazing training for top producers and teams. Our splits and costs are fair and we have the benefit of long term residual profit sharing. But like any business, you must be willing to work hard and smart and do this full time.

I will be glad to buy you a cup of coffee and see what your goals are and I'll give you my opinions on all the companies. Also go ahead and hit my website and look at the careers section. It has great info on questions to ask any broker. And you absolutely must be serious about your search.

One other thing is to build a business mindset. You want to be a business owner, not a salesman for someone else, because your business will be built one satisfied customer at a time, on a personal basis. Good luck and give me a call at 206-696-2329.
1 vote
Melanie Nard…, , San Francisco, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2008
As always Deborah -- and everyone else -- has great answers. Training was my priority, even with a sales background. Getting started having a broker who said "my job is to make the phones ring!" was also important. And being in an office with a culture that was aligned with my own values was also on the list. Good luck and welcome!
1 vote
Dirk Knudsen, Agent, Hillsboro, OR
Sat Jan 12, 2008
Go Big Name. In this market you need that. In Washington John L Scott, Windermere, Re\Max, and Coldwell banker:Bain are all great choices. The Web Strategy and ability to get you and your office leads is key! This is a big deal. Go for it. I like JLS to be honest. Plenty of good small Brokers too. Go for a busy office with lots of top agents and share business with those folks!

Best wishes;

Dirk Knudsen
"The Real Estate Doctor"
Web Reference:  http://www.nwhomecenter.com
1 vote
Pam Winterba…, Agent, Danville, VA
Sat Jan 12, 2008
Congratulations. I would suggest looking for an office with a good reputationa and one that will provide good training. At this point I would not focus on highest commissions. Since you are in the Washington area I might suggest you try a Windermere office, Coldwell Banker or Prudential. Good luck.
1 vote
Fred Kissin…, Agent, Sparks, NV
Sat Jan 12, 2008
Hi Jo,
First congradulations!

Picking a broker is more about what you want and what is most important to you. I personally went with Prudential because of the additional training they continually offer. The next decision was the broker/manager. I wanted to be capatible with him/her and the other agents in the office. I was looking for a office that acted as a team and not alot of individuals renting a desk.

My suggestion would be to:
1) decide on your priority
2) start interviewing with everyone.
3) talk with the other agents in the office(s)

You will find the one that is right. Keep in mind you are interviewing them more so than they are interviewing you.

Good Luck
1 vote
Scottfarley1, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Tue Jun 27, 2017
I don't think you should have to choose between those positives. Why not low, transparent monthly dues and a high commission split? Plus leads?

My friends have had a great experience so far with Mont Sky Real Estate. Primary difference, they give sales leads and referrals consistently to their agents. Their commission splits are pretty generous for your own deals, I believe they start at 75% to you.

Main question you have to ask yourself is do you have an edge over the 50,000 other licensed agents in NYC? Some agents have connections with developers, international buyers or live in a 200 unit co-op building. Unless you have an edge it'll be extremely tough in the business.

That's why the leads matter so much. Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://montskyrealestate.com
0 votes
Rob Graham, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Mar 10, 2008

First of all welcome to the community. The best advice I can give you is this: When I started in the business, I had a philosophy that I would talk to anyone who knew more about real estate then I did. IN the beginning that was anyone and everyone. Make appointments with brokers, mortgage, reps, title reps, etc. Be honest and tell them you are new in the industry and ask what they would recommend. I learned lots from the experience. Many insights that I still use today.

With that in mind, your search for a broker needs to take into consideration two big factors, support and education. What does the company offer and how much is it going to cost you. There is no shortage of people trying to get their hand in your wallet when you start. Talk to as many people and get a good feel before making a committment.
If you want to grab a cup of coffee some time, let me know. I'd be happy to talk.
0 votes
Spokane Real…, , Spokane, WA
Mon Jan 14, 2008
Hey JC,
Well I'll keep mine short and sweet. Split is important because you don't want to be leaving a bunch of money on the table, i have worked for big and small and in the end if your doing your own branding and building your name and logo, you need a company that will not get in the way and that doesn't take too much. In this competitive market to be honest I don't think it matters to the seller and buyer who you work with unless they have a bad name. Most of my clients pick me because of what I offer and all of my marketing. Unless you want to sit in the office and wait for a trickle of company leads.

If someone wants to know about company I tell them that it really doesn't effect them as much as it does me and my split. The old school way was to boast the company name, but most top producers now all have their own branding and that is where it is moving. When I switched companies people hardly knew because the smallest logo (the company logo) changed. If you are focused on the company you will be building their business and not yours.

Training. Keller Williams still top in my eyes. And they attract agents who build businesses. But don't sweat it. You should be building your name and business anyway and when you do it will all be about the split.
Web Reference:  http://www.TeamQuintana.com
0 votes
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