How to Choose Which Real Estate Company to Work with: Where to Hang Your License

As a real estate agent, choosing which real estate company to work with is not only one of the most important decisions you have to make, but it can also be a pretty tricky one. There are so many factors to consider, from the size of the company to the target market and everything in between. Regardless of your preferences, however, there are a few things that you can keep an eye out for that can cue you into either green or red flags, and help you avoid dangerous choices and explore promising ones. Here are three critical things to keep in mind when deciding where to hang your license.

What should you be receiving?

One big decision to make is choosing whether or not to go independent. Believe it or not, with the right resources and training, starting your own independent brokerage can be just a few relatively simple and painless steps away! For agents and brokers with more experience in the industry who know what they do and don’t want from the corporate world, this is a great way to navigate the industry on your own terms.

For those looking for more experience in the corporate world, or simply aren’t wanting the independent path, it’s important to know that you should be getting something from your brokerage. If you’re going to be paying them a fraction of your sales, you should be getting benefits in return. Probably the most important of these is quality leads. The second most important benefit you should be receiving is quality education and training. Both of these ultimately help both you and the firm, and if you’re having to look elsewhere to find these resources on your own, maybe your time and effort would be better spent at a different firm.

Control of your reputation

In real estate, reputation is everything. Buyers and sellers need to trust you, and your reputation always precedes you! Unfortunately, depending on who you decide to work for, your reputation may be decided before you even get a word in.

Brokerages have reputations, and if your license is hanging in their office, that reputation is your reputation as well. Before you decide where to go, make sure to do your research to know what that name is going to say about you. It’s important to note that reputation can be regional, too. A certain brokerage can have a great reputation in one market, and a pretty dicey one in a different market. If your market focus caters to people traveling from all over the country or even the world, being careful about your brokerage’s reputation in other regions can be crucial to making sure clients will trust you, regardless of where they’re coming from.

Working hard and staying professional is how you make sure your reputation stays pristine, but first impressions matter an awful lot. If you aren’t careful with your brokerage choice, that first impression can be entirely out of your hands!

Political alignment

Finally, let’s get political. 2020 and 2021 were the years for political statements made by companies, and they were also the years for empty statements. Statements about diversity and inclusion are important, but they hardly mean anything if those statements aren’t reflected in the company’s infrastructure and practice. A firm with exclusively white people in leadership making a statement about Black Lives? Right.
This is an important thing to keep in mind for two reasons. For one, in order to commit our time and energy to a firm, it’s important to feel at least reasonably socially and politically aligned with that firm’s values. Otherwise, a constant tension between your beliefs and the firm’s practices will make it terribly difficult to put genuine effort into the job each and every day.

Second, if that rhetoric doesn’t match up with the company makeup and you’re an underrepresented minority, what does that say about your future at the company? There are very real barriers to success and growth for minorities in this industry and at many of these firms, and if you want your true effort to be reflected in the results, catching these empty rhetoric red flags is important.

Ultimately, there is no perfect checklist to study when making your decision. These are three super important things to keep in mind, but there are plenty more that can be just as useful. Crucially, though, it’s important to remember that you have options. If big firms seem too corporate and rigid for you, maybe smaller mom-and-pop firms align more closely with your preferences and politics. If that still seems like too little flexibility or just not the right terms, maybe it’s time to go independent. Whatever your choice, make sure the office where you hang your license is right for you.


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