Change broker? Asking the right questions to make sure the company is a good fit for you is a breeze, and a good broker will likely do the same. Here are some topics to address when being interviewed by a new real estate agent.
We want to help you make more money – right now. Go back to basics with Inman all month as real estate professionals share what’s working now and how they’re setting up to benefit in a post-pandemic world. Here you get a 50 percent discount on the series.
I recently wrote a column discussing the questions anyone should ask when investigating a move in brokerage and suggested that agents evaluate what is on offer in terms of current and future compensation, relationships, brands, and resources becomes.
On the other side of the coin, a good broker will interview potential agents to make sure they have the resources and support systems they need to grow their business. The brokerage will also ensure that agents’ expectations are met – that they fit and thrive in the company culture and are good stewards of the brand.
At our company, we want to ensure that every single agent who joins us shares our vision and values and is able to build and expand their real estate career. Clever agents make sure they have a clear understanding of everything a broker has to offer before joining or switching.
I suggest that before a broker fails to do their own due diligence, you should think twice before joining. Below, I’ve outlined a few topics and questions that you should answer when being interviewed by a new broker.
History and background
A good real estate agent wants to know as much about your background as he does about their history. First and foremost, the broker’s executives want to work with like-minded professionals.
You’ll also want to know where your experience has been to see how much training and resources you might need – and if they can meet those expectations. Expect the following questions:
- How much experience do you have (This may not be relevant for known agents with a previous reputation.)
- What did you earn last year? Or how much did you produce? (GCI and / or sales volume.)
- What legal support did you need in the past?
- How satisfied are you with the contract and have you ever been in legal trouble in the past?
- Have you ever been asked to leave a broker in the past? If so, for what reasons?
Large real estate agents have clearly defined goals, and in order to achieve those goals, a real estate agent must be well equipped to meet their needs. An agent’s goals should be achievable with the assistance of the broker.
This is one of the most important areas in which to determine if the partnership is the right fit. Expect the following questions:
- What are your business goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
- How much do you hope to make this year?
- How much do you plan to invest in your company? (New agents need a reserve and seasoned agents must set aside some of the income to reinvest in their business.)
The brokerage executive team should be aware of the agents’ goals in order to create and maintain an adequate number of talented professionals to ensure that all agent goals can be achieved.
If agents want to focus on a specific area of development in their business, but the broker cannot meet that need, this is not the solution for either party. Expect the following questions:
- What are you looking for in a broker partner? (For example: find a broker with a full PR department, custom marketing services, etc.)
- What are you looking for in a sales manager? (Someone who can assist you with your transactions to avoid problems, someone who can help you grow your business with coaching, etc.)
- What tools are you currently using in your company?
Everyone has their own style of work and it is important to ensure that your approach to work matches that of the broker. For example, some brokers may encourage or discourage the formation of teams or have strict rules for marketing a team.
It is important to make sure an agent’s marketing approach is in line with the branding standards of the new brokers in order to resolve issues later. Expect the following questions:
- Do you enjoy working together or do you 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 either party to ensure alignment is whether the partnership is culturally appropriate. We spend so much time with our work colleagues and work in the work environment. It’s important to love what you do and love the team you work with and for.
Expect the following questions:
- What kind of culture are you looking for?
- What kind of events and networking opportunities do you expect from a broker?
The nuts, bolts and the logistics
A conversation based on technical and logistical issues needs to take place to ensure that the financial needs of both parties are acceptable and that there are no issues during or after the move that will adversely affect the broker or your business.
Be ready to have a preliminary talk with the broker to move forward. Expect the following questions:
- How many entries do you currently have listed or under contract? What does your contract with your current broker say about the clearance?
- What are your compensation expectations? What’s your current package? (Split, Marketing Dollars, etc. If you have special offers, do you have a contract with a clawback or company leaving penalty that requires you to pay back?)
- When would you like to take a step?
Knowing what obstacles or challenges you are facing can help a broker know if they can overcome them. An important question a real estate agent should ask you during the interview process is: What are your top concerns or concerns about moving?
If you don’t ask that, go ahead. If they ask this and don’t address them, go ahead.
Consideration of all options
A broker and agent need to be a perfect match, and you want to make sure it fits over the long term. It is just as important for a broker to make sure it suits you as it is for the company. Otherwise, the process of joining or moving will not be a success for anyone. Expect the following questions:
- Who are you talking to and what do they promise you?
- Have you compared apples to apples because many have different commission and fee structures?
Rainy Hake Austin is the agency’s president in Los Angeles, California. Connect with her on Instagram.