What to look for in your first real estate company

houseI read a great post the other day about a woman who is looking to become a real estate agent. This inspired me to think of what type of advice would I like to give to aspiring agents, and I’ve come up with these six things to consider in a real estate agency:

1) Broker Compentition. In general, be weary of firms where your broker also acts as an agent. There is enough compentition in the industry so that you shouldn’t have to compete with your broker for a listing.

2) Training. Just about every company will market their wonderful and unique training opertunities. Get the details. Are their classes offered in your office or do you have to travel far? Who’s teaching the classes? How much do they cost? The best real estate agent are always learning new things.

3) Office fees and commission structure. In general, there is a trade off with most agencies. Sometimes the monthy fees are high, but you get to keep a much larger portion of your commission. Other companies have low monthly fees, but take a larger portion of your commissions. Along these lines, office fees might very anywhere from $50 to $1000 for a month. Also, make sure you ask about all the fees. Is there a cost to use the office supplies, like copy machine or fax machines?

4) Office atmosphere. Are there experienced agents around who can give you advice and help you if needed? There will probably be times when your broker will be unavailable… Is there someone else to help you out?

5) Location. Is the office near your home, so you can get there on short notice? Is the office close to the market you want to concentrate on? Is it convenient for your clients?

6) Successful agents. Also know that when you begin, a great way to get clients is by doing open houses. Being part of an office with lots of succesful agents can mean that you can host their open houses when they are too busy. Are their lots of successful agents in the office?

Most importantly, make sure you interview a bunch of real estate companies. Just about every agency has a different feel to it. Interview enough and you are sure to find a company that will suit you. If you are interested in interviewing with Keller Williams, let me know and I can introduce you to the appropriate people!

To help you along, I’ve compiled this list (almost entirely compiled by Seattle Property News with just a few additions by me) that lists the residential real estate agencies in Seattle. The list is not exhaustive, but does include most of the companies that have practicing agents.

If you want to find agents, instead of agencies, the google directory provide a pretty comprehensive list of agents with websites.

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