Tips for Choosing the Right Real Estate Broker

Tips for Finding the Perfect Agent/ Broker Match

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas


You may be in business for yourself, but you’re sorta, kinda not a free agent. To work as a licensed real estate agent in the state of Massachussetts, you’re required to work under a broker. This broker acts as your sponsor, which means that he or she will be responsible for your actions as a real estate agent.

As you can imagine, it’s important for you to choose wisely. Your broker will determine whether you have a successful start to your real estate career or end up flopping around like a fish out of water.

In this post, we’ll discuss what you need to know to find the right broker for you.

Not All Brokers are Equal

First thing’s first, let’s get this out of the way: Not all brokers are equal. Some brokers focus on closing huge deals. Others focus on building salespeople. But just because a broker is more sales-centric, it doesn’t make them a bad choice, especially if that’s what you’re looking for. What works for your needs and personality may not work for another agent.

When choosing a broker, consider what they offer as well as what you need. If you feel that you would benefit from a more hands-on, mentor/trainee setup, choose the broker that offers that service. Know what you need from a broker before your initial interview.

Find Out Who Serves Your Area

What real estate companies are local to you?

There are two ways to find brokers who serve your area. The first way is to jot down a list of every local real estate company that you can think of. Then, head to Google and search for real estate agencies in your area. You may be surprised to find some companies that you haven’t heard of before. But don’t automatically discard those companies. Just because you haven’t heard of them doesn’t mean that they don’t sell.

Make a List and Research

Add every local company to a list and then research. This is the fun but time-consuming part. While you can technically write all of this on a notepad, it’s easier to create a spreadsheet. On your spreadsheet, make categories for the following:

  • Reputation. What is their reputation? Google the company and search for “reviews.” Find out their local and national reputation. Their local reputation is more important.
  • Specialty. What is their specialty? Do they have a niche? What type of clients do they serve? Does their specialty align with what you’d like to do?
  • Saturation. How much of the market do they represent/ cover? Do they have name recognition? Have you come across yard signs, billboards, ads, etc.?
  • Size. How many people (especially salespeople) work at the brokerage? You may prefer to work for a smaller brokerage or a larger one, depending on your goals. We’ll discuss this more in the next section.
  • Benefits. What types of benefits does the brokerage offer? Have a list of your top 3 must-haves from a brokerage. Find out if the prospective brokerage offers these benefits.
  • Satisfaction. What do current/former salespeople say about the broker/brokerage? What is their turnover rate? A high turnover rate is problematic. Use the Internet to find these answers, or strike up a conversation with the right people.
  • Training. Do they have a formal training program in place? Or is training done un an ad-hoc, unplanned way? If you're new to the industry formal training is crucial, but if you're an experienced agent it might not be as important.

Decide Between National or Independent/Boutique

Another important consideration is whether you should go with a national chain or an independent/boutique brokerage. There are pros and cons to each.

A national brokerage offers the prestige of name recognition. They also offer an opportunity for you to build an impressive professional network. You’ll have much more contacts in a shorter amount of time.

The drawback of working for a national brokerage is that you’ll often have to put in more work, especially grunt work. You may have to do a lot of floor work or host open houses. While you will be learning things, you won’t necessarily have that hands-on interaction that you would from a smaller, boutique brokerage.

This is one of the benefits of going smaller: More attention. You’ll likely have a more personal relationship with your broker and fellow agents at the brokerage. You may be able to build deeper relationships and also find a more involved mentor.

Of course, smaller brokerages don’t often have as many resources, and may be limited in what they can offer you in terms of exposure and on-going career training.

Decide which one works best based on your individual needs.

Talk to Agents

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Do you need another reason to network? Here you go.

Meet up with local agents to pick their brain and find out who they work with, and why. Don’t be shy with the questions. Ask them if they like working with broker. Ask them to describe the agency’s culture and vibe. Ask them about the turnover rate. And be sure to ask what types of agents would work best in that brokerage.

But don’t limit yourself to fellow agents. You can also reach out to other real estate professionals such as lenders, lawyers, inspectors, and even movers. Everyone has an opinion. And the more opinions you can gather to help you make up your mind, the better.

Find Their Marketing Strategy

Marketing is what will either make or break your career. If potential real estate clients don’t know about you, they won’t use your services.

It’s crucial that you find out what type of marketing support the broker offers to agents under their keep. Do they do Facebook ads? Radio? TV? What about direct mail? Billboards? Benches?

If you’ve seen them around town, chances are they do invest in marketing. However, they may require you to invest into the marketing costs as well. Be sure to find out how much, if any, you will need to invest yourself.

However, don’t expect the broker to do all of the marketing for you. To be successful, you’ll likely want some skin in the game. Ask the broker if you can do your own marketing in addition to whatever they may provide. Some brokers are funny about this, and others don’t care. It’s important that you know before you agree to work under them.

Check Their Technology

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It’s the 21st century. House hunters start online these days. You need to partner with a broker who understands and embraces technology.

Start by considering their website. Does it look good? Is it easy to navigate? Bad websites are a bad sign. If you can’t find your way around their website, your prospective client won’t either. You can’t hang your shingle with someone who has an ugly website.

Also, find out what technology may be available for you to use. Does the brokerage offer computers, or will you need to buy/bring your own? Will they allow you to use their real estate software, such as a CRM or email marketing service? Will they give you access/tools to create a website or individual listing pages for your properties?

It’s important to work with a broker who has a positive relationship with technology and sees the benefit of investing in the latest programs and equipment.

Find Out What They Offer New Agents

What benefits will you get from the broker?

Perhaps they offer an intense training course. Find out if you have to pay for it. Maybe they offer medical and dental. Find out how much it costs and how extensive the coverage is.

Could be they offer administrative support. Find out if you can also hire your own personal assistant, if and when the time comes.

Perchance they offer office supplies. Find out what they expect you to bring and what they supply for free.

Start the transparency early on. Ask probing questions and you will minimize surprises.

Ask About the Money

Ahhh… Everyone’s favorite topic: The money. Show me the money!

Not every broker works the same. Some require a commission split. Others allow you to keep your commission while they charge you a flat fee. Some brokers may ask for more of the commission initially but then change the split after you’ve worked with them for a certain amount of time.

Find out how the broker works without assuming that they work like the others you’ve interviewed.

Additional Resources

When it comes to finding the right broker to work with, remember that you have choices. You don’t have to settle. Take your time to evaluate the different brokers in your area to find the one that matches your personality, goals, and demands.

Before you go, check out these related posts:

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