What are the company fees?
This is where you can get stuck if you are NOT careful. You should completely understand all the fees because once you get in, it is time consuming to move to another company (and brokers know that). So be SURE. I knew one company that every year in November billed $50 to each agent to pay for the holiday gifts for the staff. If you were not paying attention you could have missed this fee. The idea was the company was saving you the hassle and taking the money and splitting it amongst ALL the staff. Was that disclosed to new recruits when they joined? NO! I had another company present me my name tag about a week after I joined, I was so excited to start showing off my new brand, 2 weeks after I got my name tag I got the bill. That was the first of MANY eye opening experiences that had me leave that firm VERY quickly. You can decide how you feel about that. The message here is get ALL the facts, all the numbers.
Deal makers! BEWARE the “deal makers” (just for you if you sign today). Today they are offering you the deal of a lifetime but tomorrow they are making the deal of a lifetime to someone else. Any deal you are offered is a deal you should sleep on and or go back and renegotiate with the company that “felt right”. Remember brokers know it is harder to leave once you get settled so be sure you ask ALL the questions now.
Big Vs Boutique
Big brands usually have more than one office location, multiple staff and a big brand behind them pushing ads on TV and radio. You will often see “The Big Gun” agents working there because larger companies have the man power (staff) to support agents who do 100’s of transactions each year. Big firms often focus on high producers to keep their market share high, this can cause smaller lower producing agents to feel invisible at times.While it is true Big Brands can bring instant recognition to agents and generate 1000’s to their web sites the most successful agents out there (even those with these brands) will tell you it is all about relationships and past client referrals. Leads generated from a mega site a Ice cold at best and sometimes include more fees. Yes there are a few exceptions to this but when you factor in how many agents they have, how many leads come in and out with those that actually close… your odds might be better to win the lottery (-:
Many boutique firms have started opening in the past 5 years to combat the rising costs of the big brands, they offer a way to utilize a brand without the large fees the big brands have. They are independent and therefore do not have franchise fees or annual dues usually. They are not “Agent Factories” and can offer more individual attention and a more custom training program designed for you. For someone looking for a “Family feel” instead of a corporate one, it might be the right fit. While it is true Big Brands can bring instant recognition to agents and generate 1000’s to their web sites the most successful agents out there (even those with these brands) will tell you it is all about relationships and past client referrals. Leads generated from a mega site a Ice cold at best and sometimes include more fees. Yes there are a few exceptions to this but when you factor in how many agents they have, how many leads come in and out with those that actually close… your odds might be better to win the lottery (-:
Cut rate brokerages. There is one other type of brokerage out there and that is the “Cut rate” broker. These brokerages are all about MORE. Because the fees are so low they thrive on recruiting MASSIVE amounts of agents. The systems they offer are often automated to keep the costs down. These methods can leave an agent feeling with little or no personal support. If you are someone who needs no support or guidance this might be an option for you but most sales people seem to flourish in a company that offers some support and camaraderie.
There is lots of SMALL print and hidden fees especially in the big brands and or mega offices. Things to ask about include;
E & O insurance- (Basically malpractice insurance for Real estate agents) is it annual or per deal?
Buyer Seller transaction fees*- This is a feee the buyers or sellers pay on TOP of your commission, it can often have a client choose another professional to represent them.
Franchise fees*- Again this is a big brand fee 5-6% comes off the top of your commission even BEFORE your commission split. It may seem small but it adds up.
Annual company dues*– brands can also have annual dues just like your real estate licensing dues.
Monthly fees* – Office space or membership or technology fees can often be charged monthly
Copies and more – Even smaller items like copies, folders, forms etc can come at a price, understand ALL of the small print before you say YES.
As you can see a 50/50 split at one company can be VERY different than another company based on what other fees they may have hidden in there. The highest split is NOT always the best factor to decide on.
Integrity. Sometimes you just know that you know that someone is the right fit for you. Integrity is something that cannot be bought. It just is. Ask for the list of agents in the company and feel free to meet with or call & interview them. If the company is too big you might end up being just another number. If it is too small there might not ever be any support. Here are some questions you might want to ask.*These fees are often associated with the larger brands
Attached is a document you might use when comparing companies.
What are the office hours?
If I have a question who do I call?
Who do I call nights and weekend?
Do you have weekly meetings?
What kind of training do you offer?
What 3 tips would you give me to get my business off the ground?
How many agents are in the company?
(Will you be just a number?)
Can I get a list and call any of them?
Can I get phone leads or walk ins if I work from the office?
So, What are the fees they charge, below is a sheet to help you compare.
In the end you what ever type you choose; Big Brand, Boutique or Cut rate brokerage, you need to pick the one that feels right to you. If you REALLY want to build a successful business you need to find someone who will stand behind you and coach you one on one and not just send you to review pre-recorded training videos. Training videos are helpful and have a place in this business there should just be some other pieces to help keep you focused and or guide you when you need to make a course correction.
Fees you need to know about
What are some of the cost related to the business. This sheet is JUST to calculate the costs associated with a firm, feel free to print it out and bring it with you to any interviews.
|Company A||Company B|
|E & O Annual/Mon or per deal|
|Online document signing|
|Copies Color/BW Cost|
|Office or Desk Fee|
Note from the Author : I have worked for 3 of the 4 Biggest Brands in my market, when I built my company I believe I took the best from each and wrapped them into a package that offers support, competitive commissions and great value. Unlike the large brands we do not need a hundred or more agents to succeed instead we can choose carefully who would be the right fit for our team. I am completely confident with each and every agent who is a part of our team. Whether they are newer to the business or over 20 years experienced we support and respect each other and are treated equally as valuable members of the team. If you would like to work in an office like this I encourage you to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.