Switching brokerages? Asking the right questions to make sure the company is a good fit is a no-brainer, and a good brokerage will likely do the same. Here are some topics you should be ready to address when being interviewed by a new brokerage.
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I recently wrote a column addressing the questions everyone should ask when exploring a change of brokerage, and suggested that agents should evaluate what’s offered in terms of current and future compensation, relationships, brand and resources.
On the other side of the coin, a good brokerage will interview potential agents to make sure they will have the resources and support systems they need to grow their business. The brokerage will also make sure agents’ expectations are met — that they’ll fit in and thrive within the company culture and be good stewards of the brand.
At our company, we want to make sure that each and every agent who joins us shares our vision and values, and will be able to build and grow their real estate careers. Clever agents will make sure they have a clear understanding of everything a brokerage has to offer before joining or making a switch.
I suggest that if a brokerage does not do its own due diligence, you may want to think twice before joining. Below, I have outlined some topics and questions you should be ready to address when being interviewed by a new brokerage.
History and background
A good real estate brokerage will want to know as much about your background as you will want to know about its history. First and foremost, leaders at the brokerage will want to work with like-minded professionals.
They will also want to know where you are experience-wise to see how much training and resources you may need — and if they are able to provide and meet those expectations. Anticipate the following questions:
- How much experience do you have? (This may not be relevant for well-known agents with a reputation that precedes them.)
- What did you earn last year? Or how much did you produce? (GCI and/or sales volume.)
- What kind of legal support have you needed in the past?
- How comfortable are you with the contract, and have you ever been in legal trouble in the past?
- Have you ever been asked to leave a brokerage in the past? If so, on what grounds?
Great real estate agents will have clearly defined goals, and in order to achieve those goals, a brokerage must be well-equipped to meet their needs. An agent’s goals should be achievable with the support of the brokerage.
This is one of the most important areas where you need to determine if the partnership is the right fit. Anticipate the following questions:
- What are your business goals, and how do you plan to accomplish these goals?
- How much do you hope to earn this year?
- How much are you planning to invest in your business? (New agents need a reserve and experienced agents need to put aside a portion of earnings to reinvest back into their business.)
The brokerage leadership team should be well aware of agents’ goals in order to create and maintain adequate staffing levels of talented professionals in order to make sure all agent goals can be met.
Should agents want to focus on a specific area of development in their business but the brokerage cannot fulfill that need, it’s not right the right fit for either party. Anticipate the following questions:
- What are you looking for in a brokerage partner? (For example: Are you looking for a brokerage with a full public relations department, custom marketing services, etc.)
- What are you looking for in a sales manager? (Someone who can guide you in your transactions to keep you out of trouble, someone who can help you grow your business with coaching, etc.)
- What kind of tools are you currently using in your business?
Everyone has their own work style, and it’s important to make sure your approach to work matches that of the brokerage. For example, some brokerages may encourage or discourage the formation of teams or have strict rules around the marketing of a team.
It’s important to ensure an agent’s marketing approach meets the new brokerages’ brand standards to alleviate any issues later on. Anticipate the following questions:
- Do you like to collaborate or work alone?
- Do you have a team?
- How do you market yourself? Do you have an agent logo or personal identifier that you use?
One of the most important things for both parties to ensure alignment is if the partnership is a cultural fit. We spend so much time with our work colleagues and operating within the work environment, it’s important to love what you do and love the team you work with and for.
Anticipate the following questions:
- What kind of culture are you looking for?
- What kind of events and networking opportunities do you expect a brokerage to offer?
The nuts, bolts and logistics
There will need to be a conversation based on technical and logistical issues to make sure financial needs for both parties are agreeable, and that there won’t be any issues that are a detriment to the brokerage or your business during or after the switch.
Be prepared to have an upfront conversation with the brokerage to move forward. Anticipate the following questions:
- How many listings do you currently have listed or under contract? What does your contract with your current brokerage say about releasing them?
- What are your compensation expectations? What’s your current package? (Split, marketing dollars, etc. If you have any special deals, do you have a contract with a clawback or penalty for leaving requiring you to repay?)
- When are you looking to make a move?
Knowing any roadblocks or challenges you are facing is how a brokerage can know if its going to be able to overcome them. A key question a brokerage should ask you during the interview process should be: What are your biggest concerns or hesitations about making a move?
If they don’t ask this, move on. If they do ask this, and don’t address them, move on.
Considering all options
A brokerage and an agent has to be a perfect match, and you want to make sure it’s a fit for the long term. It’s just as important for a brokerage to make sure it’s the right fit for you as you are for the company, or else the process of joining or making a move won’t be a success for anyone. Anticipate the following questions:
- Whom else are you talking to, and what are they promising you?
- Have you compared apples to apples since many have different commission and fee structures?