I’ve spent some time working in different real estate brokerages before I started Deerwood Realty.  There is a lot of smoke and mirrors in real estate sales.  And, I’d just gotten tired of trying to figure out which game was being played.  What type of real estate brokerage do you want to work in?  The one with all sorts of hustle and bustle, or one that lets you do your own thing?  It’s an important question to answer because the styles are complete opposites, and as a beginning real estate agent, it can have an effect on the longevity of your career.

The real estate brokerage with the slow pace

Ever wanted to get your real estate license?  This office will have classes for that.  You’ll likely pay a set percentage of your commission on every real estate transaction you do.  Sure, there’s training, maybe a company email, but that’s about it.  Your eventual success or failure is going to be determined by you.


A real estate brokerage resembling “boiler room”


There’s another type of real estate brokerage.  Usually this is actually a team that just happens to park their license at a brokerage.  In this set up, there are lots of buyer’s agents and maybe one or two listing specialists.  Everything you do will be put into some sort of transaction manager, and whomever is in charge will preach accountability.  You will start out at the bottom, and your leads will be total garbage.  It might just be you dialing numbers out of the phone book!  There will be all these metrics about how you are doing.  Because you are at the bottom though, you basically have to wait until someone quits before you move up.  That shouldn’t take too long because no one wants to work in this sort of environment forever.

Go to a real estate brokerage that fits you

While the above are the extremes, you have to find a place that fits you.  If you are low key, working in a boiler room atmosphere is not where you want to start.  Similarly, if you have no motivation to work, the slower paced office is going to be a disaster.  Consider the following questions when looking at different brokerages.

  1. What is the process for onboarding? Can you just walk in and do the paperwork, or is there some sort of odd interview process?
  2. How many people are in the real estate brokerage? If there are 90 people in the office, that’s a lot.  It isn’t likely you are going to be able to do anything that causes notice, including when you leave.  On the other hand, a smaller brokerage might allow for everyone to know your name and be interested in how you progress.
  3. Is the brokerage a franchise? There’s nothing wrong with a franchise, but be aware that someone is going to have to pay the franchise fees, and it usually falls on the real estate agents.  While franchise real estate brokerages already have name recognition in your market, there may be a downside to that.  Most buyers and sellers go with an individual agent and not a brand.
  4. What type of technology is available? This is definitely a question to be careful with.  If the broker presentation is all about how their technology is going to change the real estate industry, run.  The real estate business is about connecting with people.  Large, wonky, database managers aren’t going to help you connect with anyone.   I think that real estate brokerages use “technology” for a couple of reasons.  For one, it’s quite nebulous in that it’s never really defined.  The email address you get when you join the brokerage can be considered “technology.” Other brokerages have been said to incorporate AI to help you navigate your work day.  That’s quite a large gap.  The second reason I’m a bit suspect of the technology play is that there are quite a few agents who don’t know anything about the internet.  Therefore, you can pretty much just say anything about the internet and the real estate agent won’t question it because they have no basis from which to work.
  5. What type of training is available? Training is tied with technology for the most nebulous phrase used in real estate agent recruitment.  When a real estate brokerage touts their training, you need to ask yourself if the training makes any difference.  As an example, if there are 20 real estate agents in the office, and they all go to training, why are only 2 doing awesome and the rest not so much?  Is that a training issue?
  6. How many agents move versus how many agents stay over a year? You probably aren’t going to get an answer from the recruiter or broker on this question.  I think it’s a super important question to ask.  Real estate sales can be very cruel.  Many agents don’t leave because they want to, rather, they have run out of money to continue.  That being said, there are also good agents who know what they are doing and they tend to move to the brokerages that fit them.  If you are at a brokerage where there are always people starting their careers, but never staying, you need to ask yourself why that would be.  It’s usually not too difficult to figure it out.

If you’ve chosen the wrong real estate brokerage, remember that you do have options.  Before making a brokerage switch, consider what the exact reason is for your leaving.  Some agents think that another office is offering a better payout when after fees, they really aren’t.  Other real estate agents might feel like their career has plateaued and just need a change of scenery.  Your real estate career is about you.