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The best way to get the most from our guide is think about your priorities before you begin your research. That way, you can see which brokerages better respond to your needs. It’s not all about commission levels. For instance, if interacting with agents in the office or live online is important, make sure the brokerage schedules team meetings and other opportunities to form professional relationships with agents.  On the other hand, if training requires your presence in the office and you need the flexibility to jump in a class online as time permits, make sure that’s available.

When reviewing brokerage profiles, see what how they address your needs:

As an independent contractor, you’re a self-employed person earning a commission on sales. What’s the broker’s commission structure? How does it change as your sales grow? For instance, some brokerages will pay 100% commission after you’ve reached a certain revenue level or pay larger commissions early on and charge a monthly fee or flat fee per sale.

Is there a mentorship program in place? Having someone to help guide and educate you through the process is worth it’s weight in commissions! How did they survive the ups and downs of real estate during their early years? What’s their “secret to success?” They’ll also show you the best way to leverage a range of brokerage provided resources. Of course, education and training can come in a variety of formats. Find out what they are.

On the marketing side, what materials are available. How does the brokerage use technology and social media to help generate leads? How are leads dispersed among agents? What administrative services are available to agents? You’ve got the questions and they have the answers. It’s up to you to get them!

What’s the office environment like? How many agents are associated with the brokerage that are full and part-time? Are there regularly scheduled meetings where attendance is expected? Is there desk duty? This can be a great way to start working with potential buyers and sellers. Are there sales expectations of new agents?

Some brokerages charge a desk fee. Home access, business cards, signage, website may be in part or wholly the agent’s responsibility. MLS membership, REALTOR designation and association fees are standard. Some states require Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. As George Harrison says, be prepared to invest “a whole lotta spending money.” There will be times you’ll feel somewhat like a cash cow for the rest of the industry, but with time and hard work you can earn it all back and much, much more!