We highly recommend that you meet with at least three different brokerages — and do your research on each one beforehand (see Researching the Best Real Estate Brokers). Once you find the three (or four) that look the most appealing to you, schedule time to meet and ask the following questions:
1) What are your commission splits? (i.e. does the broker get 40% and you take 60% of the commission earned)
2) Are there any franchise fees? Many large real estate brokerages charge a 3% to 8% “franchise fee” on top of the commission split above, so using the example above, the broker would receive 40%, the franchise fee would be 5% and you would receive 55%).
3) Do you offer a commission cap?
A commission cap is the maximum amount of commission that the brokerage will keep each year. For example, if the “cap” is $20,000 and you generate $200,000 in gross commission, you will net $180,000. If an agent cap is NOT offered and you are on a 60 / 40 commission split, then $80,000 would go to the broker and you would net $120,000.
4) Are there any other brokerage-related fees? A few common ones include:
Monthly office fee
Monthly MLS fee
Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O)
Education fee (often charged for the new licensee course they offer)
Start up fee
5) What other expenses might I be responsible for? Examples include:
eKey (to access property lockboxes)
REALTOR designation (usually $400+ per year)
Website hosting and IDX (MLS feed)
BROKER BENEFITS & OFFERINGS
6) Do you offer any of the following:
Stand-alone website or page on broker’s website (fyi: a stand-alone is a big plus)
Home buyer or home seller leads provided? If so, ask the following important questions:
How are they distributed among the agents?
Is there a referral fee or up front charge?
How many leads can I expect each week or month?
Are the leads website registrations or are they actually inquiring about a specific property?
What is the typical conversion rate on your leads (i.e. what percentage of the leads end up buying or selling)
Technology support team
Continuing education classes (for CE credits)
eSignature tools – DocuSign, DotLoop, etc
Paid at Closing option
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
Discounts with local vendors
Marketing resources (try to get lots of details about what is available)
Meeting space (to meet with your clients)
Clerical or administrative support
EDUCATION & SUPPORT
6) What type of classes do you offer and how often?
Also ask if there is a cost for the classes. Many brokers offer lots of classes, but most are taught by agents in the office (i.e. your local competitors). The good classes that are taught by the brokerage may cost between $200 – $1,000 per class.
7) Are the classes all in person or do you offer online courses (that you can view at your convenience)
8) Who can I contact if I have questions about a contract? Are they available after 5 pm if I have an urgent issue?
9) Do you have a mentor program? If so, how does it work?
Typically the agent mentor program will last for your first 3 to 6 months in the business (or the first few transactions) and you may share a percentage of your sales commission with your mentor in exchange for their guidance.
BROKERAGE ENVIRONMENT & EXPECTATIONS
10) How many real estate agents are in the office?
11) How often do you have team meetings, happy hours, lunch & learn sessions, etc?
12) Are there any meetings that are mandatory attendance?
13) Do do you promote our listings, the office, and the agents?
14) Is desk or phone duty required for each agent? If so, how many hours a week?
15) Are you involved with the surrounding communities?
16) What are your expectations for me? Is there anything else that I’m required to do as an agent under your real estate brokerage? This could include selling a certain number of homes each year, being a full-time agent, attending certain meetings, etc.
17) Can you describe the atmosphere of the office?
18) Would it be possible to get a tour of the brokerage and meet some of agents and staff?
19) Can I have the phone numbers of 3 to 5 agents who work in the office? [It’s always a beneficial to have a private discussion with the other real estate agents!]
20) Can I sit in on an upcoming training session or team meeting?
Real estate agent, buying a home, choose a home.