Updated: Nov 28, 2019
Tips on what to look for in a brokerage firm as a new real estate agent in Ontario.
As you launch your real estate career, you should know that you have options on what’s next after you get your license. There are hundreds of brokerages in Ontario, and the choice is yours, but you have to choose wisely.
HOW TO MAKE THIS DECISION
Do your due diligence, undergo thorough research and interview with at least three brokerages to assess what firm fits your needs best and aligns with your goals. The right firm will help to position you for success and promote your personal brand more effectively.
With so many big industry players and smaller independent boutique firms, how to choose what brokerage to work with if you are a new real estate agent?
While your success if primarily up to you, the brokerage you choose will make a big difference in helping you reach your goals.
PICK THE TYPE OF REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE YOU WANT TO WORK FOR
Finding a great brokerage company takes a bit of work on your end. After all, you are looking for an organization that’ll help you grow into a better real estate agent. To do that, first identify what type of real estate brokerage best fits your needs, desired income bracket, goals and aspirations, and long-term plans. Here are the options for a real estate agent in Ontario, per Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA):
● Full service
● Limited service
RESEARCH BROKERAGE FIRMS IN YOUR AREA FROM BUYER AND SELLER PERSPECTIVE
You may already have a few names in mind, but the more you know about each one of the brokerage firms, the more informed and educated your decision will be. Here are six great tips from our Only With Team industry experts on how to research real estate brokerage from the buyer and seller point of view.
1. Visit the real estate brokerage website: The company’s online presence starts with their business website. It gives great insight into the history of the brokerage, their professional affiliations, mission, and information about team members. A user-friendly and modern look of the website with easily accessible tools like an online rental application and Live Chat functionality will give you an insight into the company’s modern approach to business practices and adaptation of innovations.
2. Follow the agency on social media channels: While many companies have social media profiles set up, not everyone consistently contributes valuable industry information, news, and updates on their channels. Those that use social media platforms regularly and consistently, typically, have a closer relationship with their target audience – engaging with their followers on a regular basis, keeping their brokerage brand atop of mind of prospective buyers, sellers and real estate agents, and ensuring their marketing practices are up to speed with industry standards and consumers’ expectations.
3. Perform a Google search test: Today’s buyers and sellers are digitally-savvy. And while a common perception in the real estate market is that word-of-mouth business prevails, many consumers will start with a Google search before committing to an agent. Try searching some queries in Google the way your clients would and see which real estate firms pop up. Something like this:
Posting fresh content that eventually appears in Google, shows the brokerage management team’s awareness of the latest marketing principles and ability to compete with other players in the industry. You’d be surprised how many firms continue to function the same outdated way without leveraging the power of SEO, social media and other critical promotional, lead generation and brand awareness techniques.
4. Advertising and marketing presentation: Seeing a real estate brokerage from the consumer’s perspective means taking into account the way the company presents itself in various advertising and marketing materials: newspaper and magazine ads, billboards, bus stop ads, pay-per-search ads, and social media posts. As Real Estate Express, a pioneer in online real estate education, points out - this will give you a preliminary understanding into the:
● Broker’s professional policies
● Corporate communication style and tone
● Firm’s reputation
● Company’s ability and efforts to attract quality clientele
● Select real estate agents’ personal brand exposure
5. Talk to local agents: While opinions of agents from different real estate firms might be biased, having a candid conversation with a few might give you the insider information you might not get otherwise. Talk to them and ask for their honest opinion in terms of what they like or dislike in their brokerages, what support and training they get, and the type of services available to agents.
6. Pay attention to the most common FOR SALE yard signs in your area: while quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, brokerage firms with the most listings in your area most likely means a good exposure and presence in your market.
ENSURE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, MENTORING AND TRAINING IS AVAILABLE
It’s quite natural for new real estate agents to think that the commission split is the main factor in choosing which brokerage company to join.
Most agents that have just acquired their license, require additional experience and training, specifically in the areas of contracts, the art of negotiation and persuasion, understanding proper procedures, follow-up practices, and other industry nuances.
Jay Frenkel, Agent Relations Manager of Only With team recalls that education was one of the biggest reasons why he chose his first brokerage firm.
He notes, "Working with a great brokerage will teach you everything from lead generation to building your sphere of influence, to sales and marketing. This will help you make valuable networking connections and continue to teach you with weekly meetings, monthly events, and ongoing training.”
While often, the training and mentoring come with a cost, some Team Options like Only With consider this their unique value proposition and offer tremendous learning opportunities to their agents at no charge.
The following are some of the learnings that real estate agents that join the team can benefit from:
● Document preparation and editing
● Social media marketing
● Positioning yourself as a real estate expert in your community
● Connecting with customers and gaining trust
● Language techniques and industry standard vocabulary
● Lead generation
● Building your image
● Sales techniques
● Maximizing your results
● Inspiring actions from customers
● Creating a circle of influence
INTERVIEW THE BROKERAGE AS MUCH AS THEY INTERVIEW YOU
When you team up with the right company, you increase your chances for success as a new agent. Choosing a brokerage is no easy task so when presented with an opportunity to interview, come prepared to interview the broker to understand whether this partnership will help propel your career forward.
Here are some of the questions to ask when determining whether it’ll work for you:
● What training is available to agents?
● What are the office expenses/franchise fees (if applicable) or any hidden costs?
● What are the advertising and marketing policies?
● What type of advertising does the company do?
● What is the brokerage culture?
● Is there computer equipment available for agents?
● What is the compensation structure (commission split, salary, retainer fees, etc)?
● How many agents did the company hire last year and how many are still with the firm?
● What is the company’s market share?
● What resources and tools are available?
FIND THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE
Shop around for a real estate brokerage firm to ensure you find the one that's not only in tune with industry standards, but also innovative, knowledge-driven, and marketing-savvy. At Only With – we believe that as the consumers’ and agents’ demands are evolving, so should the nature and role of the real estate brokerage - to efficiently and effectively support all stakeholders.