How to Choose a Real Estate Brokerage in Iowa

by | Dec 23, 2019 | Is Real Estate For Me?

The brokerage you choose to work with is essential to your success as a real estate agent, especially if you are new to the industry. The right team will give you the support, education and training you need to become a successful agent. Interviewing a brokerage should be at the start of your licensing process– it’s that important! 

The company culture, commission structure, lead generation tools and support are all essential factors to your success as an agent. That’s why choosing the right real estate brokerage to partner with is so important. Not all brokerages are alike: some are small boutique brokerages and others are part of a national brand. 

Find out what these current agents had to share about their experiences interviewing with brokerages, what factors were important to them and the advice they have for new agents who are wondering how to choose a real estate brokerage. 

Jason Mickelson

Licensed in 2017

Mike Crabb

Licensed in 2015

Megan Mitchum

Licensed in 2005

Renee Dunkel

Licensed in 2016

Ethan Hokel

Licensed in 2015

Jessica Gilligan

Licensed in 2016

When did you choose a brokerage?

It is recommended you start interviewing with brokerages immediately during the licensing process. It can take time to find the right one and many brokers will have advice for you about the licensing process, the exam and what your first year as an agent will look like. But not everyone does it that way! Check out what these agents had to say about when they started looking for a brokerage:

 

“I chose my broker before the licensing process began. I knew that I was going to do it and I had interviewed all of them and made up my mind right when I started the classes.”

– Jason Mickelson

“I chose to talk to brokers prior to getting my license. I just wanted to have a good idea of what route I was going to go prior to actually passing the exam. That way, I wasn’t scrambling at the time of getting my license then having to place it with a broker.”

– Ethan Hokel

“I started my licensing online course and then while I was taking the online course I interviewed the brokerages I was interested in. Then before finishing, I did choose a broker.” 

– Renee Dunkel

How many brokerages did you interview?

Everyone’s experience with interviewing brokerages is a little different. You should interview more than one brokerage to get a complete idea of what everyone in your area can offer you. However, some people only meet with one brokerage and know they’ve found the right place for them. Find out how many brokerages these agents interviewed:

I interviewed four brokers before choosing one, mainly to see if there were differences in the pay plan and culture. The most important thing to me was how are you going to help me get started?”

– Jason Mickelson

“I met with three brokers here in Ankeny.”

– Jessica Gilligan

“I just interviewed the one broker.”

– Megan Mitchum

What were you looking for in a brokerage? What was important to you?

Think of your relationship with the brokerage you choose as a partnership, versus an interview. Your brokerage is essential to your success as an agent so come prepared with questions to ask about training, culture and support. Read on to see what these agents asked the brokers they interviewed:

 

“When I was looking for a broker, the most important thing I was looking for was mentorship. I had read online that real estate is pretty much sink or swim and the best thing you can do is find another agent, a veteran agent, that you can shadow and learn from.”

– Jessica Gilligan

“It was important to me to have guidance right off the bat and not just a desk to go sit at. It was important to have someone who could really guide me. Somewhere I thought the people were really on my side and really wanted to help me succeed and not just sell real estate, but also grow a business.

– Ethan Hokel

“What was important to me was guidance on how to be an agent. The online course, and even the in-person course, doesn’t really teach you how to be an agent, just how to pass the exam. I wanted a great atmosphere, positivity and learning because the exam doesn’t teach you everything you need to know.”

– Renee Dunkel

What did you learn from your meetings with different brokerages?

As any agent will tell you, no two brokerages are the same! The more you interview with brokerages, the more differences you’ll notice and the easier it will be to determine what is important to you. These agents had a lot to say about their brokerage meetings:

 

“While one brokerage may have a big emphasis on education and training, another one is more hands-off and they let their agents be more independent and do their own thing.”

– Mike Crabb

“What I took away from the meetings with different brokerages was that there are a lot of different ways people do things and a lot of different ways brokerages function. To be honest, I was just shocked at how different brokerages actually were. You think brokerages might all be the same, but really there’s a lot of different factors that go into how brokerages run their day-to-day operations and how they support their agents.”

– Ethan Hokel

What made you choose the brokerage you work for?

Before you start meeting with brokerages, determine what is most important to you. Do you want a brokerage that is hands-off and allows you to work independently? Or do you want a brokerage that offers continued training and education? What kind of culture aligns with your values? Check out what factors made these agents select their brokerages:

“I chose the brokerage I work for because of their commitment to training. The culture was also very welcoming and supportive. I just felt like if I joined the brokerage, based on what they require of their new agents and how supportive they are, it would lead to success.”

– Jessica Gilligan

“[One of my questions] was ‘what does it look like if I start here?’ I remember them opening a folder, turning it around and sliding it toward me and saying, ‘This is what your first two years on the job here with us look like. We know that in order for you to be successful, we have to cover these things with you and we have these steps in place to make sure you’re successful for two years.’ And I attribute all of my success to that.”

– Jason Mickelson

What advice would you offer to new agents when selecting a brokerage?

At the end of the day, you should select a brokerage that will set you up for success. Your first year is going to have the most challenges and obstacles to overcome. What kind of support do you want? What can a brokerage offer you to make sure you have the tools to succeed? These agents share the advice they would give to new agents looking for a brokerage:

 

“My advice to new agents would be to really look at the culture of the office you’re going to join. Is there a team atmosphere? Is there education involved? Are you working on your own or from home? I think all those things play into how you’ll fit in at your company.”

– Megan Mitchum

“The advice I’d give to new agents who are trying to select a brokerage would be to meet with multiple of them. Also, meet with agents inside the brokerage. Obviously, the brokers can all tell you one thing, but the agents who actually live the day-to-day and represent the brokerage will have a ton of insight– probably even more than the brokers themselves.”

– Ethan Hokel

I think the pay plan is important but I think it’s secondary. What it really comes down to is what are they going to do for you? What does the training look like for me? Who is going to help me when I have a problem (because you’re going to encounter problems)? How are we going to communicate throughout the company? Some of those questions are not things I thought of when I started, but they’re super important.”

– Jason Mickelson

“The commission split is important, but I don’t think it should be at the top of the list. Anyone can pay you more, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s hard to make more.

– Renee Dunkel

Don’t just chase the money. It’s really easy for brokers out there to say ‘Our splits are the lowest,’ or ‘Our fees are the best.’ It’s vital to have that support and company behind you so you don’t have to figure everything out for yourself. That can lead to a lot of growing pains and a lot of problems.”

– Mike Crabb

“My advice to new agents selecting a broker would be to focus on a brokerage that does have a commitment to training or has someone who is there to help you. We are helping people buy and sell their largest asset. I think we owe it to our clients to be knowledgeable professionals that have resources to get questions answered when we don’t know.”

– Jessica Gilligan

Selecting a brokerage is an essential part of the real estate licensing process. You’re establishing a partnership that will be instrumental in your success as a real estate agent. Go into your meetings ready to ask questions about training, continued education, support and the culture so you can find the right brokerage for you.

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