Your First Real Estate Office, A Dozen Questions for Your First Interview

I am going to suggest a few things you can do to make a better deal for yourself with your first broker. The relationship between a broker and an associate is not like the typical employer-employee relationship. That is the first basic difference between a corporate type job and selling real estate. You are not an employee. You are an independent contractor. Your new broker is not going to tell you what you have to do. He is going to guide you or lead you to do what he thinks will lead you to your success. Let me tell you for what they are looking and for what they are NOT looking.

They are looking for someone that will work hard. If you are a hard worker, let the broker know that. Tell him how hard you worked at your last job. They are also looking for someone that presents a good image. Any interviewer knows that what he sees across the desk today is as good as it is going to get. Men, wear a suit. Ladies you know what the equivalent of a suit is. Dress up. I have had people come in for a job interview with jeans and a tee shirt. Who would want that person in their office even if they were selling a million a month?

If you have sales experience in other industries, let the broker know that. Let the broker know you have a desire to be successful. This is no time for trepidation or modesty. Do not leave them wondering if you have enough desire. Also, let the broker know that you are trainable. Most brokers are not looking for fresh new ideas. They are looking for someone that will implement their ideas. Make it appear that that is you.

Put a smile on your face. When you cross the office threshold, put on your best smile and keep it there until you get back in the car. I find it amazing how many people do not smile. Smile.

Mr. Broker is looking for happy upbeat people. Do not complain, whine or make excuses. I have interviewed plenty of people that give me twenty one reasons why they can’t be successful. The easiest thing to do is don’t hire that person. Mr. Broker is not looking to hire aggravation.

Let’s assume you have made a good impression and Ms. Broker wants to hire you. This is the important part.

A good question to ask Ms. Broker is “How much money can I earn here?”. The answer should not be vague and ambiguous. Ms. Broker should be able to show you what you have to do to earn a certain amount of money per year. If the broker ask you how much you want to make, a good answer to that question is 150% of what you made last year. If you made fifty thousand at your old job, seventy five thousand is a worthy goal for your first year in real estate. Mr. Broker should be able to tell you what you need to do to earn that.

This may surprise you but most real estate salespeople do not work very hard. If you go to any reasonably good office and really go to work, you can make an extraordinary income. You must learn how to prospect. You must learn how to present. You must learn how to close. Look for a broker or sales manager that can teach you these things.

A very important concept in real estate is that you will make more money listing real estate than you will selling it. Look for a company with “listing clout”. Their reputation and standing in the community should help you get listings. Look at franchises and look at no franchise. Which is better? Who knows?

This brings us to our next question that you need to ask Mr. Broker. Word it just like this; ” If I sell (or list ) a one hundred thousand dollar house, how much will my check be?”. Get this question answered in detail. Many brokers have hidden costs or fees like transaction fees or franchise fees or whatever fees. This is not necessarily bad but the best surprise is NO surprise. This is important. Use the same number every time. Don’t use $100, 000 with one broker and $200, 000 with another. Use the same number every time. Be certain you understand the answer to this question.

I assume you learned in your pre license course how commission splits work. This can range from a low of 50-50 to 100%. No matter what they offer, ask”Can you do any better than that?”. That is just a good question in any negotiation. If they offer 60-40, ask for 65-35. Many companies offer a in- house bonus if you sell a company listing or if your listing is sold by your co-worker. Ask about this and be sure you understand how it works. Some companies pay a bonus to the selling agent but not to the listing agent. Some companies pay a bonus to both.

A good way to be sure you understand this is to read it in the company policy manual. Which brings us to another good question; “Do you have a policy manual? Can I read it?” It is important that the company have a policy manual. If they do not, the broker just makes up the rules as they go along. It is important that they have a policy but ask the broker “Do you have the authority to make exceptions?” Brokers and sales managers like for you to believe that all rules are cast in concrete and can not be excepted. Anything can be changed or excepted.

Here is an example. Ask your new broker to pay you 100% of out of town referrals that you send. He can do this if he wants to. This is not expensive for a broker because most of his agents never send a referral. Maybe you never will either. If Mr, Broker agrees to this, you will make more money if you do.

Ask Ms. Broker to reimburse the expense of getting your license in your first check. Let’s see. You paid $220 tuition to the real estate school. You paid $105 to apply for your license. You paid $57 for your fingerprints. You paid $31 to take the exam. “Could the company reimburse me this in my first check?” What if they say no to everything but the tuition? You have that. Ask. It a funny thing about real estate brokers and the way they think. Most brokers are very reluctant to pay for an agent’s education in advance but they will agree to reimburse you for education after you have experienced it. Why not have that in your employment agreement. Here is the question. “Would you agree to reimburse me for real estate related education tuition that I invest in myself?” Many will say yes. This will put a few shekels in your pocket in the future. It will also help you decide to go see that hot shot trainer that is coming to town for fifty dollars per seat. Now all you have to invest is your time. This is a good decision for the broker too. An educated agent is a productive agent. Your broker will benefit from this as much as you will.

Find out who pays for advertising. Who pays for Board of Realtors fees? Who pays for E & O insurance? Who pays for initial training? Do not pay for initial training. The best surprise is still no surprise.

Here is another great question. “When do I get paid?” In Florida, if Mr. Broker instructs the closing agent to pay the salesperson at closing, the closing agent can hand a check to the agent at closing. I like that. Another system is the agent gets a check at closing made out to the company. Then, the company makes a check out to the salesperson two or three days later. Ask the broker to pay you at closing. If the broker is reluctant to do that, be certain you know exactly when you will get your check.

Here is another issue you need to address;your own house or should I say your home(where you live). When you get into real estate, most likely, your income will go up. Couple that with the fact that you are walking into houses every day. You start to become an expert on what houses are worth. One day you spot a super bargain. You decide to buy it and move into it. Let’s assume the price is three hundred thousand dollars. It is listed with a competitor in the M. L. S. at a six per cent commission. What about the commission? $300, 000 X. 06= $18000. Your company’s share is nine thousand dollars. Wouldn’t it be a nice gesture if the company let you have one hundred per cent of that commission. Nothing keeps an agent working hard like a big house payment.

Many years ago I had one of my students tell me he wanted to go to work for Broker A who offered him a 60-40 split but Broker B offered him a 70-30 split. He asked my advice. I suggested he make a deal with Broker A that he would accept the 60-40 split if the broker would agree to pay him 85-15 on his third closing every month. Broker A quickly agreed to this because he did not expect my student to sell three houses per month. After his second month in the business, he never had less than three closings. You don’t need written goals if you have a deal like this. I had another student that made a deal with her first broker that the company dollar she paid to the company would never exceed twelve thousand dollars. That means she would she would have to bring in thirty thousand dollars on a 60-40 split to max out. The broker agreed to that. If you earn a broker twelve thousand dollars in a month, you are an asset to the company.

If you interview with a company that has a non compete clause in their contract, just say NO. This is a clause that says if you leave the company you can not go to work in the same industry with another company within fifty miles for two years. I foolishly agreed to this with a real estate school back in my foolish youth. I think that business lesson cost me about one hundred thousand dollars. I am positive it cost me ten thousand five hundred in attorney fees. You will not be with this company forever.

Speaking of not being with the company forever. Since we know you will leave one day, make an agreement that when you leave, the company will pay you a twenty five percent referral fee on any listings you leave behind. If you ignore all this advice in this article, please implement this. I left a company one time and abandoned thirty eight listings. Do the math on how much money was left on that table. A broker will probably agree to this readily now. He would not agree to this after you have a bunch of listings.

This written employment agreement is going to govern your situation for a long time. Take it seriously. As I mentioned earlier, nothing is cast in concrete. As you start to do better and make some money you can always modify any agreement. It is just easier to make a good deal in the first place.

Good luck with you new career. Selling real estate is such a good way to make a living and to make a difference. Work hard. Pay attention. See lots of people every day.

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Source by Ron Climer