10 Tips on How to Choose a Real Estate Broker to Work For in Florida

When working as a real estate agent in Florida, one of the most important steps you'll take is choosing a real estate brokerage to work for.

You may think, "Since I am an independent contractor, can't I get my real estate license and go into business for myself?" While this may be true with most independent contractors, this is not the case with real estate agents. A broker must oversee the work of real estate agents.

Whether you are a new real estate agent or a seasoned real estate professional, there are many factors you should consider when choosing the right brokerage. Here are three clusters to consider.

Compensation-Related Issues

One of the most critical factors to consider as a real estate agent is compensation and factors related to pay. Since you'll be entirely on commission, it is a good idea to know the breakdown of your income. Here are some compensation details to consider when choosing a broker.

Commission Plan For Real Estate Agents

Knowing the company's commission splits is critical but shouldn't be the only reason you choose a broker. This is high on the list of concerns for most agents, but making good money in a toxic work environment isn't ideal. So, prioritize this as one of your top concerns, but don’t let it be the only important factor when choosing a broker.

In Florida, the commission on the sale of a home is typically 5 to 6 percent. This amount is then split 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, or some other split with you and your broker. You’ll also want to discover if your commission split will change as you continue to earn with the company. You may start at a 50/50 split, but after fulfilling a certain number of sales, your broker may change to a 70/30 split in which you retain more of the commission.

Also, learn if there is a commission cap. This means that once you reach a certain amount of sales, splits for the year will end, and you will retain 100 percent of the commission earned on a deal. When it comes to commission, make sure you understand all the details.

Fees Charged By Real Estate Brokerages

Besides what you will earn, it is critical to know what you’ll pay out to your broker in fees. So, it is a good idea to check with potential brokers about how much you will owe in fees. You may have to pay for things like marketing, desk space, and real estate software. Note that many fees will be the same from one broker to the next. However, some fees may be associated with a particular brokerage.

Discover which fees are standard and which are unique to the brokerage to make your final decision. Also, determine the interval when you pay these fees. Many brokers may charge monthly fees, while others charge at other intervals, particularly annually.

Broker Benefits Offered

Besides commission and fees, you'll also want to know if your real estate office provides benefits. These benefits could include health insurance, 401k, E & O insurance, business insurance, and other benefits. These items will be due whether you’re earning money or not. Additionally, you may have to pay at certain times of the year or may have to pay pro-rated amounts. So, inquire with the broker about how benefit plans work.

Agency-Specific Matters

Besides money issues, you'll want to choose a broker based on matters related to the agency itself. Here are several other factors to consider about the agency when selecting a broker.

Brokerage Reputation Locally and Nationwide

Another factor to consider is a firm’s name recognition and a great company culture. While it is a good idea to choose a firm that has a good name nationwide, you should also determine if your local office has a good reputation. Check Google, Yelp, or other local listings to see what the community thinks about the local office before you join. If there are too many negative reviews, you may want to consider another location or another brokerage entirely.

Boutique v. National Franchise

A critical factor in choosing a broker is whether the company is a boutique brokerage or part of a larger national association. A boutique may allow you to interact with a smaller group that can help you grow and learn. A national franchise may not provide the close contact you want, but it gives you the nationwide exposure you may crave.

Brokerage Locations

Does the brokerage you want to work for have many office locations? This could make a massive difference in terms of commuting. If there are many office locations around town, you may not have to drive to your home office to conduct business. You can visit a site near the client to close deals and perform office work.

Not only should you be concerned with the brokerage having plenty of offices around town, but you should like the office aesthetic. Does the office look attractive to you when you enter it? Your reaction will likely be similar to your client's response. So, you'll want to choose a brokerage with office spaces that look aesthetically pleasing.

Real Estate Agent Support-Related Matters

As an independent contractor, you may think that support provided by a broker isn’t a big deal since you’re in business for yourself. While this may be the case with most independent contractors, this isn’t always true with real estate agents. The support provided by your broker can make or break your career. Here are some support-related matters to focus on when searching for a broker.

Training For New Real Estate Agents

Does the broker you want to work for provide training and support, mainly if you are a new agent? One of the main reasons agents give up on their real estate careers is that they feel they need more training or support. So, when choosing a brokerage, keep this in mind.

Internet Presence For Agents

Another essential thing to consider when choosing a broker is whether they have a strong internet presence. In these times, the internet and social media are critical. So, working with an agency that has a strong internet presence is essential. Not only should the business have a strong internet presence, but they should also allow you, the agent, access to a high-quality agent page. Also, make sure that your agency has a robust online presence on top real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.

Lead Generation Options

Leads are essential to your success as a real estate agent. As an independent, you'll have to generate your own leads. However, some brokers may provide leads. These leads may go to newbies or seasoned agents who complete floor duties. Ultimately, you're responsible for drumming up your own business. However, working for a real estate broker who offers leads as a perk is ideal.

Teamwork or Independence

You will typically operate in a brokerage as an independent real estate agent. However, some brokerages may allow you to work on a team with other real estate agents. This could change your commission payout structure. So, ensure you know the pros and cons of working with a team and going solo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to choose a sponsoring broker before starting real estate training?

No. In Florida, you have until the time of scheduling the exam to choose a broker. Your scores will be sent to your broker of choice after you successfully pass the exam. However, it is ideal to start searching for a sponsoring broker as early as possible. This will allow you to vet your choices thoroughly.

Will I have to stay with the sponsoring broker I chose?

No. Florida does not require staying with your sponsoring broker for a specific period. If you want to move to another agency, ensure you pay your agent any outstanding payments and leave on good terms.

Should I let my broker know I want to be a part-time agent?

Yes. Some brokers may allow you to be a part-time real estate agent, but many don't. So, when choosing a broker, be transparent about how much commitment you will provide in the role so the broker can decide if you should join the team.