Choosing the right real estate brokerage is one of the most important decisions an agent can make, whether they’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out.

There’s a lot to consider, from the training provided to available technology, commission split or where you are in your career.

For example: A new agent should be more focused on the training, support and mentorship programs a brokerage offers, while a seasoned agent is more than likely focused on commission split, market share and the freedom to conduct their business the way they want.

Here are some of the many things to consider when choosing the right real estate brokerage to join:

Franchise vs. Independent/Boutique Brokerage

A franchise brokerage is one everyone knows; think Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, etc. These brokerages have a network of offices throughout the country consisting of thousands of agents.

An independent or boutique brokerage is similar to a mom-and-pop shop that is locally known and respected after being in business for dozens of years. These types of brokerages are more likely to consist of a smaller number of agents.

There are plusses and minuses to both types of brokerages.

A franchise brokerage brings cachet with its name and could have a robust training program in place which, combined with such a large agent network, could make it a nice option for rookie agents looking to learn the ropes.

An independent or boutique brokerage, however, might make a new agent feel like part of its family and give veteran agents more freedom than a corporate brokerage to conduct business as they see fit.

Check out this piece for a great run down on more differences between these two types of brokerages.

Commission Split

The vast majority of agents get paid on commission, so how much of that commission you share with your brokerage is a huge part of your bottom line.

The standard agent commission is 6 percent, with half each going to the listing and buyer’s agent.

A quick example: If you sell a $250,000 listing, you have $7,500 to divvy up between yourself as the listing agent and your brokerage after the showing agent’s cut. A 60/40 commission split means you bring home $4,500, with the remaining going to your broker.

Commission splits vary depending on your market, your broker’s resources and other factors, so make sure to do your homework and ask each broker you interview with to explain their terms.

Training & Education

While the commission split between an agent and their broker is a big part of choosing a brokerage, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker for new agents.

Don’t decide which office you’ll first join based solely on the commission split, writes Colorado agent Debbie Laity. She did, and ended up belonging to four offices before she was even in the business for two years.

Focus instead on education, training and finding a mentor to help show you the ins and outs of the industry.

Company Culture

As with any company and industry, you want to join a brokerage that aligns with your values and is a business you’re proud to call yourself a member of.

Do you prefer to be part of a big-box corporate culture or a small family-like atmosphere? Do you want weekly get-togethers, or would you prefer to strictly stick to business?

How will these companies integrate you into their team?

Identify what type of culture you want to join and, of course, reach out to current agents to see what they think of the culture at the places you’re considering.

Market Share

How successful is the brokerage compared to its competitors? In what areas of your local market do they succeed or come up short, and how will you fit in?

Is your niche client or type of listing a need of theirs, and can you make an impact?

These are just some of several questions you need to ask to gauge the success of the brokerage and where you’d fit.

Investment in Technology

Many brokerages offer various types of tech tools for their agents.

The most popular tools agents look for, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Technology Survey, are: predictive analytics, CRM, transaction management software, personal website, tablet and technology support staff.

Don’t forget to ask how you’re charged for the technology your brokerage utilizes. Thirty-nine percent of respondents to the above survey said they’re charged a monthly technology fee, but 18 percent said a percentage of their commission split goes to technology products and services.

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