Ep. 5 - How To Find The RIGHT Brokerage


Who will you spend 40+ hours a week with is a big decision. Don't just choose the first brokerage that will take you in. You need to know how to find the RIGHT brokerage for you and your family. Listen to this episode to learn what to say and look for!

Hello my friends, Kenny Stephens here and welcome to Rookie Real Estate, where your road to success begins right here, and right now!

Whether you are looking to transition from your day-job to your dream-job or you are on the road to your first 50 transactions…..

Success is in the details my friends and we are going to unpack the fundamental principles required for you to thrive!  Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Today I want to talk about how to find a brokerage.  Where should you hang your license? Where are you going to call home.  

When you think of HOME, what are the “feelings” you get?  For many people, that word evokes an emotion. Some, stronger than others.  

I’ll admit, the word HOME means a lot to me.  I was a Police Officer for many years and if you ask any Officer, our primary goal each day, is to go home that night or morning…. Depending on what shift you worked.  It’s likely that most of you have never had to wonder when you left for work in the morning, if you would return home that night.

It’s such a powerful word in our company that my wife and I made it our Vision Statement:  DeSelms Real Estate is an empowering partner bringing Agents, Clients and Communities HOME, simply put We Bring You Home!  

Finding a HOME to hang your license with, is as critical to your success as where you lay your head down at night.  

If you are local to Nashville, Don’t worry, I’m not selling our brokerage.  This podcast is not designed to recruit agents. I’m here to provide you with information and value so that you can win!  So that you can figure out what needs to be done in order for you to thrive, in any market across the Nation. Friends, let me remind you….. Don’t get into Real Estate if you are content with being average!  It’s too hard. Set your focus on being GREAT and finding a work HOME where you can thrive.

Being a new agent or an Affiliate Broker as we are called…. You must hang your license with a Broker for a period of approx 3 years before you yourself can test to become a broker.   Once you have been licensed for 3 years, you can open your own Brokerage if you so wish. But, in the meantime…. You need a home to hang your license.

Guys, there are hundred and maybe even thousands of places you can hang your license in a given city.  This step in the process can literally make or break your launch. No short cuts allowed on this step. Prepare to interview at least 3 Companies.  This will be your work family. You need to get a feel for their “culture”. Ask if you can attend one of their sales meetings or trainings. Meet a few people.  Listen to the chatter. Speak with the Broker or even ask to meet with the owner. If a company doesn’t have time for you….. Move on to another, assuming you are showing value in your interview.

 Often what people do is speak with friends about the companies they are working with….. Everybody knows a RE Agent, right?  If by chance you don’t, pose a real estate question on facebook and they will come out of the woodwork.

Call and talk to your current real estate friends, ask them how they like their company.  Ask them “if you WERE NOT with _________ who would you consider the next best option. Then, contact both for an interview.  Google “best real estate company in ______ city”. See who comes up. Read their bios online. Do you like their website? Check their google reviews.  See if they have a facebook page and see what kind of content they share….. If they look like they are struggling….. DON’T call them. Move on. If they don’t have social media…. Keep looking for one that does.  This step is critical. When talking to people, ask who their biggest competitor is. I know who ours is and I know what my plan is to stay ahead of them…. My point is. Pretend you are a private investigator. Dig in deep, PRIOR to the interview.  Know everything about the person that plans to interview you. Find out if you are getting pawned off to an assistant or a lower office manager. Your goal is to speak to the Broker or Owner which might be one in the same. They need to see you as an asset and somebody who is serious about working with their company. But, sometimes you’ve got to work your way to the top….  The decision makers…. You want to be so dynamic that you spark their interest.

What if you are the person that hates “interviews”?  Sitting across from somebody you don’t know and selling yourself is not your strong suit and you’d rather have a root canal….. Real Estate probably isn’t for you.

We have a system for interviewing agents in our company.  They make contact many different ways but always land on my desk.  I call them and talk by phone first. If they don’t have phone skills, I politely tell them we are not looking to add another team member at that time.  If they sound confident and competent, I give them a time that fits MY schedule, for an in-office interview. I want to see how flexible they are and if they are serious about wanting to get an interview.  If they strive hard to make that time work or ask for time to make arrangements…. That’s a good sign.

Guys, if you are interviewing at a high producing brokerage, getting an interview is likely difficult.  How bad do you want to be considered. Do you want to learn from highly driven and highly successful team members with a proven track record of success or did a friend barely making ends-meat them self, recruit you to be their buyer’s agent because they are tired of working nights & weekends?  This is NOT the time in your life to “settle” because it might be more comfortable. Find a great company and get yourself an interview. Blow their socks off!

If you remember from my previous podcast, one of my first questions is “why real estate”.  

Friends, Please be prepared to answer that question…… you’d be surprised how many don’t know that answer.  Also, describing how you would like a flexible schedule where you get to make your own hours….. Might cause the person interviewing you to laugh out loud.  Go back and listen to my very first podcast, titled “don’t do it”.  You are fixing to trade in your current boss and pick up a dozen more.  All of which will expect you to drop everything at a moments notice….. as if you didn’t already have something planned……  you eventually learn how to manage this but if you are getting into real estate for a free schedule….. Man, you have misunderstood what is necessary in this profession to succeed.  Especially at first.

Ok, I hope you are getting my point.

Be prepared to discuss your time frame for transitioning to full-time.  Remember, there is no such thing as a part-time real estate agent….. I jokingly say that but it really has a lot of truth to it as well.  You may plan to do real estate part-time for a while as you transition but you will have two full time jobs because your clients won’t care that you have a day job and are doing real estate at night and on the weekends……  Maybe you have been a stay-at-home-parent and you can dive right in. Family commitments may come up on the discussion. Your level of launch will affect you being hired at some brokerages.

Dress sharp, prepare some answers to common questions asked in interviews.  If you don’t know what those might be… google it. Talk about WHO you are….  They are trying to figure out if you will fit the company's culture and if you are worth the massive amount of effort required in getting you trained.  Help them make that decision fast. Listen…. This is critical: Share ways you will bring value to the company. Nobody wants to hear how great you are…. But, if you can articulate how you are looking to contribute as you grow and will apply what you are taught and are willing to help others along the way if necessary…. You then start becoming an asset and not as much as a burden.  

Alright, let’s talk money.  You’ve got to know there is not a podcast available that can describe how many different ways commissions check can be paid.  So, I’m going to give you the most common four ways brokerages pay their agents.

1st and the most common is called “Traditional” concept, which would make you and Independent Contractor and the commission made in a transaction, is split between you and your Broker.  The percentages of this spilt is sometimes determine by who generated the lead to begin with. If they are handing you leads left and right, they will likely take more of the commission….. But if you have a large sphere of influence and start bringing in your own leads….. You will likely get more of the commission.   

Let me give you an example: If you get your license and your best friend wants to buy a house.  Your broker would likely take 20-30% of your commission and you would get the rest. $400K x’s 3%= $12K commission…. You would get $9,600 and the Broker would get $2,400.  

Commissions and splits must be discussed at some point during the interview BUT likely towards the very end.  Try to wait and allow the interviewing party to bring up the splits but it is necessary to know what they are for you to make a decision that works best for you and to compare to the other companies you are going to interview.

2nd is a Flat Fee, which means you are likely an employee of the Brokerage, making a salary. This happens most often in New Construction communities.   I’m not familiar with this style and won’t elaborate on it further. If this is common in your area, you will need to do your homework.

3rd is an “a la Carte” where the agent is paid based on services rendered. Maybe you are a buyer’s agent who just does showings and you get paid per door you unlock.  Maybe your broker allows clients to pick from a menu of options the company provides. Also, not something that I’m familiar with, so dig in deep to know how you are paid.    

4th is 100% Commission.  You pay a fee to hang your license with a brokerage and you go do your thing.  You are overseen by a Broker but little to no training or support is offered. This is most common with investors who know what they are doing already and want to get their real estate license to work their own deals and have access to multiple listing services.   This would be a very tough way to launch a career into real estate. 100% is not always the best deal.

If you want to read more about these, please go to the National Association of Realtors website and study up.  Seek wise counsel. Know what is expected of you, learn what you can expect from your brokerage.

Always keep in mind….. A broker merely has to provide the legal framework for you to hang your license with him/her.  Anything else you recieve is an added bonus. Always get things in writing when onboarding with a company. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if you don’t understand the splits…. There could be sever different types of splits.  It gets easier as you go along but could be confusing at first.

You are naturally going to think MONEY is the determining factor….. But don’t be naive.  Consider the value of training. Avoiding others mistakes. Learning scripts. Being able to shadow top producing agents.  Having somebody dive deep into the contracts with you and give scenarios along the way. You can’t put a price on real life, hands on training.  I’m naturally partial to the traditional approach because it’s the one I’m most familiar with. Yes, the brokerage take a cut of your commissions but they carry the majority of the overhead, most of the liability and likely are providing some support staff.  Don’t worry, as you become a rock star, it’s likely your splits will adjust accordingly AND you will be in a much better position to negotiate…. I promise!

Personally, I’d be looking for all the help I can get and would be promising to give 100% of my being to learning fast so I could contribute to the team/company’s success.   When you are knocking out transactions you will NEVER complain about fees and splits…. You just won’t have time. #truestory

Most companies have a “desk fee” which is a base monthly amount paid to the brokerage.  It’s called a desk fee because you they provide an area for you to work…. Not a private office.  More like a bullpen. A single desk that 10 or so agents might share and as agents come and go, they stop in and are back out again…… so, a desk per agent isn’t necessary.  I’ve seen these range from $200 per month to $500 per month. Most brokerages have a desk fee.

Some companies provide yard signs and lock boxes.  Other require you to buy your own. Signs range from $30-$100 per sign depending on the type and frame.  Lock boxes can range from $10 to $100…. Depending on if it’s a combo box or a digital box with blue tooth.  These are all expenses you will need to know in order to build your business budget. Don’t hesitate to ask what would be expected of you monthly and additional expenses you could expect.   Most good companies will have a fee sheet prepared for new agents.

I’d be remiss not to mention a few last minute points.  

  1. Dress like you want a job.  

  2. Sit up straight in your chair

  3. Use proper English and avoid slang and foul language.

  4. Smile

  5. Use manners… say thank you and yes, please.

  6. Don’t interrupt somebody when they are talking.  

  7. Be on time.     

  8. Mentally prepare answers.

  9. Know your “why”

  10. Do your homework on who is interviewing you.  If not the person, definitely the company.

This could be your new work family…… chose wisely.  Remember, it’s not all about what the company can do for you.  Keep in mind that great companies will expect you to contribute to the winning culture.  It should be mutually beneficial and isn’t always about the money!


Rookie Real Estate is produced and edited by Scott Parker. All of the content is written by me, your host, Kenny Stephens.

Rookie Real Estate is powered by DeSelms Real Estate in Franklin, TN.  I say that with this in mind. The vision of DeSelms Real Estate is to be an empowering partner, bringing agents, clients and communities home, simply put… we bring you home.

This podcast is not designed to recruit agents, but it does align with our vision.  

My dream for the content is that it can be used by any brokerage, any agent and the vast communitie of those who have dreamed of a career in real estate.  I want to educate those on the road to their first 50 transactions and I want to help ensure those who transition from their day job to their dream job, succeed in that process…. If at all possible.  

Until next time my friends, Better Your Best!