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Real Estate Agents

How to Choose a Real Estate Brokerage to Work For

Choosing the right real estate brokerage to work for is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your success as a real estate agent. This decision holds the power to shape your earning potential, provide essential training, and even influence your professional reputation. With so much at stake, it becomes important to understand the key factors in selecting the ideal real estate brokerage that aligns with your goals and propels your career forward. By delving into the process of how to choose a real estate brokerage, you can ensure that you make a wise and informed choice—one that sets the stage for your flourishing career in the dynamic world of real estate.

What is a Brokerage Firm?

When considering which real estate brokerage to work for, it is essential to understand what a brokerage firm is and the role it plays in the real estate industry. A brokerage firm serves as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of real estate properties. It acts as a hub where licensed real estate agents can affiliate themselves and conduct their business under the brokerage's umbrella.

In the United States, real estate brokerages are managed by experienced professionals known as sponsoring broker-owners. These individuals hold employing broker's licenses and possess extensive knowledge of the real estate industry. In order to demonstrate their expertise in real estate laws and practices, they undergo additional coursework and examinations. Sponsoring broker-owners assume responsibility for the actions of the agents or associate brokers they employ, serving as mentors during their early years in the field and providing guidance on various real estate matters.

One significant advantage of working with a brokerage is the availability of errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. This insurance coverage protects both you as an agent and other real estate professionals associated with the brokerage in the event of a client filing a lawsuit. With E&O insurance in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have a layer of protection should any legal issues arise during the course of your real estate transactions.

Breaking Down the Roles: Understanding Brokers, Agents, and Realtors®

In the world of real estate, it's important to understand the different titles and roles of professionals involved in buying and selling property. Hence, before we delve into the details, let's clarify some key terms related to the real estate industry:

Real Estate Broker

In the realm of real estate, brokers hold a higher level of licensure, typically subject to stricter requirements set by each state. They are required to complete more extensive education hours and pass more rigorous tests compared to real estate agents. Brokers may engage in various roles, such as buyer's agents and listing agents, while also assuming additional responsibilities associated with managing a real estate firm.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are professionals who have fulfilled the educational requirements and passed the licensing exam. However, they cannot operate independently and must work under the supervision and guidance of a licensed broker. Agents play a vital role in assisting clients with buying, selling, or renting properties, relying on the expertise and support of their designated broker.


The term "Realtor®" is a licensed designation governed by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). To become a Realtor®, real estate professionals must adhere to a strict code of ethics outlined by the NAR. They are required to complete an orientation course provided by the association and submit an application to attain the Realtor® status. Being a Realtor® signifies a commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct in the real estate industry, distinguishing them from agents or brokers who are not part of the NAR.

Understanding these differences will help you navigate the real estate landscape with clarity, recognizing the varying roles, responsibilities, and ethical commitments associated with each designation.

Choosing a Real Estate Brokerage to Work For

When evaluating a brokerage for the first time, it's common to prioritize the commission percentage you would have to share with the broker compared to others. While this aspect is certainly worth considering, it may not be the most crucial factor to focus on. Instead, it's essential to shift your attention to the following key considerations:

1. Your Expenses

Before embarking on a comparison of different brokerages, it's crucial to understand your starting point. Begin by identifying your income requirements based on personal expenses and projected business expenses as a newly licensed real estate agent. Having a clear baseline figure will enable you to make an informed decision that sets you up for success right from the beginning.

When discussing the compensation provided by brokerages, focusing on the specific dollar amount they pay is often irrelevant due to the multitude of cost structures available. Instead, the key consideration should be the preferred fee structure that aligns with your goals. Brokers typically utilize two primary business models to determine their fees:

1. Flat Fee: Under this model, you pay a fixed amount to your broker every month. The advantage of a flat fee structure is that it offers predictability and makes monthly cost planning more straightforward.

2. Commission Split: This option varies among brokers, but a popular split is the 70-30 ratio. In this scenario, for every commission you generate as an agent, 70 percent is retained by you, while the remaining 30 percent is received by your broker.

Determining the best path for you depends on your business strategy and priorities. If your focus is on selling a substantial number of properties and making commissions a central aspect of your income, the flat fee structure might be more suitable. On the other hand, if you value the freedom and data access that comes with having a real estate license and commissions are not your primary focus, opting for a commission split arrangement could be a better fit.

Consider your long-term goals and the nature of your real estate business to determine which fee structure aligns with your objectives and supports your overall success as an agent.

2. Know Your Preferred Location

If your investment focus is primarily centered around a particular neighborhood or city, it is crucial to select a brokerage that is well-acquainted with and conveniently located in that area. Partnering with a supervising broker who possesses comprehensive knowledge about your desired real estate transactions can prove invaluable. Moreover, working within the locality where you intend to invest enables you to stay updated and connected with the dynamic pulse of the local real estate industry.

3. The Broker’s Referrals

When evaluating real estate brokers, it is not only acceptable but also highly encouraged to inquire about how you will receive leads and prospects. A reputable and well-established broker should be able to provide you with projections regarding various lead sources such as phone leads and website leads. These estimates can be immensely valuable in helping you form realistic expectations regarding your potential income while working with the brokerage. By gathering this information, you can make informed decisions and align your goals with the brokerage's lead-generation strategies.

4. Mentorship and Training Programs for Brokers

If you are new to the real estate industry, it is crucial to consider the availability of mentoring and training when evaluating different brokerages. The process of learning to navigate contracts, negotiate effectively, and handle daily procedures in your market area can be challenging, and having access to quality training and mentorship can greatly facilitate your professional development. It is important to keep these needs in mind as you compare various brokerages to ensure that you find a good match in terms of training opportunities. A brokerage that offers comprehensive and valuable training can provide you with the guidance and support you need to succeed in your real estate career.

5. Company Values

One of the most critical questions to ask yourself before selecting a real estate broker to work for is whether the available option aligns with your personal values. It's essential to consider whether the company you are considering is one that you would genuinely feel good about working for.

If you prefer a more personal and intimate approach to your real estate practice, it would be incongruent to work for a "real estate mill" that focuses on quickly cycling through agents. It's crucial to evaluate whether the company's social values and the values demonstrated by its leadership resonate with your own.

Choosing a brokerage that doesn't align with your values can lead to challenges and dissatisfaction. Beware of brokers who promise abundant support but are unavailable when you truly need assistance. To gain a genuine understanding of what it's like to work at a particular brokerage, it's advisable to speak with other agents who have been with the company for at least a year. Hearing their experiences and insights will provide valuable information about the working environment and culture of the brokerage.

By conducting thorough research and seeking input from current agents, you can avoid making the wrong choice and ensure that you select a brokerage that reflects your values and offers the support and environment you need for a successful real estate career.

6. Brand Name

When choosing a real estate brokerage, the decision of whether to go with a big-name company like RE/MAX, Century 21, Keller Williams, or opt for a smaller brokerage is subjective, and there is no right or wrong answer. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Big-name brokerages often come with higher fees, but they also provide the benefit of brand recognition. When you present a business card with a well-known brokerage's name on it, you can project a professional image. Additionally, larger brokerages may offer enhanced educational opportunities, which can be valuable for your career development.

However, name recognition may not be a priority for everyone. Some agents may prioritize personal connections and career support, which can be more readily available at a smaller brokerage. The size of the brokerage doesn't determine your success as much as your professionalism, competence, and care for your clients. Building trust and treating people right are fundamental regardless of the brokerage you choose.

Ultimately, it's important to evaluate your own priorities and consider what matters most to you in your real estate career. Assess the advantages and disadvantages of both big-name and smaller brokerages, and select the option that aligns with your goals and values. Remember that your success will be determined by your actions and the relationships you build, rather than solely relying on the name of the brokerage.

7. The Broker’s Support Services

When you're comparing different brokerages, it's crucial to take into account the range of professional services they offer to agents. These services are specifically designed to assist and enhance the success of agents in today's competitive real estate market. It's worth investing time in carefully evaluating these services, as they may include valuable resources and tools that are vital for starting a career in the industry.

While cost might be a concern when considering a particular brokerage, it's essential to evaluate the impact that these services can have on lead generation and workflow improvement. In certain cases, the benefits and advantages provided by these services can outweigh the associated costs. Therefore, accepting a slightly higher commission split in exchange for access to these services could prove to be a worthwhile decision.

8. Examine the Office

When considering a brokerage, it is essential to pay attention to the office structure they provide. Assess whether the workspace aligns with your professional requirements and offers the necessary services and support for you to perform your job effectively. This evaluation is crucial to ensure a suitable working environment.

Evaluate whether the brokerage's office space meets your needs. If you prefer a simple setup with just a desk and access to basic amenities, ensure the brokerage can provide a professional workspace with the necessary infrastructure. On the other hand, if you require more advanced resources such as versatile software, IT support, and modern office equipment, ensure that the brokerage can meet these requirements.

By carefully evaluating the office set-up of a brokerage, you can determine if it aligns with your working style and provides the tools and support necessary for you to excel in your role. It is essential to choose a brokerage that can meet your specific needs and enhance your productivity and effectiveness in the real estate industry.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right real estate brokerage to work for is a crucial step in building a successful career in this industry. It's important to do your research, ask the right questions, and consider all aspects of the brokerage's culture, support, and compensation. Don't rush into a decision and take the time to weigh your options before making a commitment. Remember that finding the right fit will help you achieve your goals and thrive as a real estate professional. So take these tips into consideration and start your search today!

Rahul Agrawal

Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Styldod

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