Professional Development

[dropcap character=”W” color=”blue”]We take professionalism very seriously! Real estate is a profession; it is not a job. No one hires us, we do not punch a clock, and people depend on us for exceptional knowledge, diverse competencies, and specialized skills. We are licensed and governed directly by the State of Oregon and held accountable by the IRS as independent contractors. Realtors® must belong to professional trade organizations at the local, state, and national levels, which work to enhance professional standards and improve the housing industry for the public’s benefit. We are required to forever pursue continuing education. Our failures profoundly affect the lives of our clients. In 2002, all sales associate licensees were required to upgrade to full broker status. Today all Realtors® are full brokers.

As professionals, we are developing our own businesses. The vision for that business may be grand or simple; that is one’s choice. Our businesses fund our mission, our goals, and our dreams in life.  Brokers who join Bella Casa Real Estate Group are either proven professionals, or have the determination and drive to become such.

[pullquote align=”right”]Cooperation sounds nice, and it works even better.[/pullquote]

A cooperative is a voluntary association to which we contribute, and from which we benefit. Greater value is achieved by professional cooperation than by working as a sole proprietor. We choose to share select expenses for better equipment, tools, and offices. Together we skillfully build a valuable brand and powerful reputation. Most important is the value we derive from collaborative professional relationships.

We are colleagues; our organization is flat, de-centralized, and egalitarian. One central principal broker is replaced by numerous principal brokers. While we encourage all brokers to rise to this exceptional level of expertise and respect, we are equals in the way we function together.

[pullquote align=”left”]There is no attempt to shackle brokers with dependency or handcuff them with a plethora of gimmicks and gadgets to retain them. [/pullquote]

In sharp contrast to traditional brokerages, we value independence and autonomy as the foundation for cooperation. Our brokers do not need the brokerage for them to be successful. They are free to leave at any time without consequence to their business or their clients.

While we are competitors at one level, we grow rich from what we contribute to each other, how we assist each other, and what we model to each other. Real estate is amazingly complex and diverse. Priceless is the counsel, the ideas, solutions, strategies, and motivation we gain by interacting with each other. Risk is minimized, our clients are better served, and we are more profitable and efficient.

Real estate can also be grueling and discouraging work. We all experience times when we need encouragement, professional stimulation, and the joy that can only come from a friend in the business who understands. A professional cooperative can be a rich and rewarding place to be. So far that dream has become a reality. If we are wise we will guard this fundamental value for future prosperity.

Meet Our Agents

How to Get Started

Let’s look at how to get from desire to sales and into a successful career.

[accordion_group] [accordion title=”You must get licensed”]The Real Estate Agency of the State of Oregon controls licensing and governs real estate practice in our state. For the most up to date information on licensing go to the REA site and search out its information and brochures:

You will have to complete 150 hours of required curriculum, pass many quizzes, take several proctored tests, and pass a final exam with two sections covering both state and national issues. You can get your classes through community colleges (in their normal curriculum), through local classes, or online through approved schools (I took mine online through Proschools, but there are others to shop as well). More information is on some of the REA forms. Costs are about $365 plus the cost of the course at $600+.[/accordion] [accordion title=”You must pass an FBI background check “]This involves submitting a full set of your fingerprints. This is usually done in conjunction with licensing and often the schools will do this for you.[/accordion] [accordion title=”Interview prospective real estate offices”]You will need to be under the supervision of a Principal Broker for at least 3 years. While you are taking your pre-license test, it is time to interview various brokerage firms or offices and learn everything you can. You are not applying for a job; you are on a fact-finding mission to see who you will join based on what you learn about them. You have a lot to learn about:

  • Being an “independent contractor”, a technical term with the IRS. This is similar to being self-employed in business.
  • Different Business Models in our industry and how to differentiate between them (the world has changed a lot).
  • Requirements and responsibilities you will have in that office
  • Your compensation (including commission splits & caps, royalties, fees, and expenses).
  • The ‘corporate culture’. Some offices are large, some small, but that does not say enough about the working conditions. All Realtors® are competitors with each other, but there can be big differences in the way that manifests itself within a brokerage. New agents can be particularly vulnerable to extreme completion. Be thoughtful and do your due diligence.
  • How much independence and autonomy do they offer? Do they dictate commission amounts? What about personal transactions? Can you develop a team? What is required in advertising; whose phone number?
  • What happens should you leave the brokerage? What happens to the listings, for example?[/accordion][accordion title=”Your principal broker will authorize your license. “]Your Principal Broker will sign a form authorizing you to ‘hang’ your license at the brokerage of your choice. Now is the time to finish the process of being able to sell:
  • Go to the REA Office in Salem and pay your $230 to get your license. When you walk out, you will be a licensed Realtor® and part of the office of your choice; congratulations!
  • Go to the RMLS (Regional Multiple Listing Service) office in Salem and pay your subscription fees for the MLS access ($100 & $35 per month), and your electronic Realtor® Key (about $50 deposit and about $10 per month). You can purchase lockboxes now or later ($100 each new, sometimes used are available for slightly less). If you choose to belong to a second MLS, you can go to the WVMLS (Willamette Valley MLS) office and sign up and pay your subscription fees.
  • Pay for your OREF Real Estate Forms subscription through RMLS, about $75 per year.[/accordion] [accordion title=”Bella Casa Orientation”]At Bella Casa Real Estate Group you will be given an orientation by several people. Bring your laptop, and some of the things we will do are:[space5]
  • Receive keys for 24/7 access to the offices and review the security system
  • Connect to wireless network
  • Enter access code for printer/scanner
  • Set-up your RMLS software settings
  • Purchase signs, directionals, flyer boxes
  • Get bio information on the website
  • Register for your efax number
  • And more… [/accordion] [accordion title=”Important real estate websites”]
  • State of Oregon Real Estate Agency (REA) state law governs most real estate, and this agency governs licenses for real estate agents (referred to as ‘licensees’) and property management, You can access the statutes and the rules related to them on this site. You can also look up any licensees anytime and see the status of their licenses, who they are with, and when the licenses expire.
  • National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is a trade organization of real estate agents who join together to serve our industry and the housing sector. The term Realtor® is a trade name. Not all licensees or agents are Realtors®; only those who belong to the NAR can call themselves Realtors®. is the public site for NAR, and is the Realtor® resource site,
  • Oregon Association of Realtors® (OAR) is the state organization for Realtors® and oversees local Associations,
  • Yamhill County Association of Realtors® is our local Association. Read articles there about the value of each association to you, our industry, and our clients, Other close local associations are PMAR (Portland Metro Area Realtors®, and SAR (Salem Area Realtors®,

Why You SHOULD Get into Real Estate

With so many online tools, a booming market, agencies like Search Party Property Buyers Agent, and countless helpful podcasts, it is easier than ever to invest in real estate successfully. And we welcome those who have a vision for what they can accomplish in real estate, and a desire to be successful. We want you to become one of the finest professionals in the business and successful enough to fund your dreams and mission in life. But we also encourage you to carefully consider your motives before you pay the price to get into this profession.

The Right Reasons:

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  • I am entrepreneurial by nature.

  • I love sales because I love helping people succeed.

  • I like the fact that my reward is directly commensurate with the time, energy, and strategy that I invest into it.

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These are the reason that I joined the real estate industry. I have owned businesses and enterprises since I was out of college and I have enjoyed it. Later I entered corporate sales to learn what it would be like to enjoy days off, vacation pay, health benefits, etc. Although I performed well in sales, I chafed at the stifling corporate culture. I needed to be free, I needed to build, develop and explore. I found real estate to be fulfilling and rewarding. But I have worked harder than I ever have before in my life. Having your own business can be like waking up every day to wrestle a bear, but it’s still amazing to buy a property in Paradise! Of course, it is likely that there will be different issues that will crop up whilst running your own real estate company. However, with some resilience, these problems shouldn’t stand in the way too much. One issue that many real estate business owners experience is a lack of clientele. This is easily resolved with some strategic marketing. One of the most popular marketing tactics is SEO marketing and link building. This method can be extremely effective at boosting business awareness and bringing in more potential customers. To learn more about small business seo, it might be a good idea to get in touch with a company like Victorious. Hopefully, SEO and other marketing strategies will help your real estate company to grow to success quickly, allowing you to run your dream company. Also, with the amazing property photographs, I get from companies like Virginia Architectural Imagery, who have already got samples from a zillow photographer, it should not be hard to gain the clientele you need to be successful.

You will find that there are a great variety of people in real estate who are successful according to their own goals and objectives. There is room for all kinds of people in real estate, but whoever you are I think you need to wrestle through some issues that many Realtors® face right up front.

I am glad to further this discussion with you and debate the merits of what I have said. If you have your eyes wide open and still want to pursue a real estate career, call me and let’s talk more. No one can do it alone in real estate; we all need help and guidance.

Randy McCreith, Principal Broker
Bella Casa Real Estate Group

Bad Reasons to Start a Career in Real Estate

[dropcap character=”I” color=”blue”]I believe my first ethical responsibility is to share the truth and try to talk you out of pursuing a career in real estate if it is not the right career for you. You wouldn’t want to end up working somewhere like Hupman Group if your heart is not really in it. If I can save you thousands of dollars and a couple of years of your life, then I have done something worthwhile. But don’t just take my word for it; ask around for the opinions of others. Contacting a realtor similar to this Houston Realtor, might be a good idea to see if they have time for an informal chat, but there are plenty of sites out there for you explore. If you’re still interested in becoming a Realtor after reading this article, then we should really talk! If that is the case, there is lots of training for realtors that you could take, as long as you are a good candidate for a career in real estate.

We welcome those who have a vision for what they can accomplish in real estate, and a desire to be successful. Being a part of real estate agencies is no easy business, and only the very best can become highly successful. We want you to become one of the finest professionals in the business and successful enough to fund your dreams and mission in life. But we also encourage you to carefully consider your motives before you pay the price to get into this profession.

Why do you want to go into real estate?

I have interviewed scores of new agents over the years and I always ask this question. 95% of the time I hear these first two responses,

[accordion_group] [accordion title=”I love working with people”]And what about those people you love? It’s true, there will be many wonderful people and you will make many new friends. You will gain great wisdom about people. This truly is one of the great rewards of our work.

But… you also will work with every conceivable kind of person on the planet. Many of them will stretch your patience and push all your buttons. You must be purely professional in spite of rudeness, inconsiderate behavior, indecisive personalities, quarreling spouses, irrational responses, unfair demands, costly disloyalty, and people who will not trust your knowledge and expertise. You will be blamed unfairly, and when you accomplish great feats, you will not be appreciated for what you have sacrificed for them. You must have patience, exceptional tolerance, and persistent endurance to be successful with people.

The most challenging part of any human enterprise is working with people; it is not the tasks you have to complete nor the knowledge you need to attain. When the stakes are high and the pressure is on, you will be tested to the limits. It is at this moment that you will meet the real person you are working with (and perhaps the real person you are), not the façade a client can control under normal situations.[/accordion] [accordion title=”I would love to show homes”]Here’s the reality regarding showing properties… You will show homes 5-10% of your time, at most. That is the fun and easy part. The rest of your time will be pain-staking research, persistent and unrequited communications, incessant continuing education, relentless problem-solving, and managing complex and frustrating transactions with an inordinate amount of paperwork.[/accordion] [accordion title=”I want to be my own boss, control my own schedule, and take time off when I want to.”]Really? You will no longer have one boss dictating your schedule, that is true; you will have a dozen bosses at any given time, and you will not be one of them! Real estate is a service industry with highly irregular hours and demands. We serve the needs and desires of people making some of the most important decisions in life for their futures and their families. They cannot wait for us while they lose crucial opportunities and they will not tolerate us being on vacation while their transaction appears to be crashing. Our clients have their own best interests in mind, not ours, and they take them seriously. If your schedule causes a client to miss out, you will be fired on the spot and you may not realize it for days or weeks.

And controlling your own schedule and taking time off? Good luck! Someday you might learn how to do it but it is a Herculean challenge! Yes, you deserve to have a life but you will have to work hard, work strategically, and build your business wisely to make that a reality. It is not a given.

Real Estate is an entrepreneurial enterprise. You are building your own business much like an insurance broker or a new resturant, or any other small business person. No one gives you clients or accounts; you find and develop them by your own skill and determination. You build your own success and you must craft it wisely to create the lifestyle you want, but not at the expense of your clients. If you build well, you can have a life…eventually.[/accordion] [accordion title=”I want to make a lot of money and I heard you can do this in real estate.”]True, sales is the highest paid profession. Many corporate sales people make even more money than their CEOs. Why? Because sales people move goods and services so that everyone else can do their jobs and make money. Without sales, the whole economy grinds to a halt and everyone dies financially. Sales people make the world go round, insure people’s investments by their work, and create more opportunities for everyone.

Realtors® can make a lot of money but it is not automatic or assured. This is true in every industry. You have heard of the famous 80/20% rule for much of life? Applied to real estate it is more like the 90/10% rule; 10% of the agents make 90% of the money. Guess what is left over, and for how many people?

During the good years, the average agent made $42,000 per year. Considering you will be an independent contractor and pay much of your own expenses and self-employment taxes, this number is significantly lower in ‘take-home’ money. So much for those filthy rich Realtor® rumors so many people spread around!

Commonly it can take two years to make decent money in real estate. In my first year, 5 of us started with the same brokerage. At the end of the year one agent made no money, one made $4,000, and one $11,000- gross income! I and another agent earned $65k and $75k respectively. So while you are not destined to do as poorly as some, it takes special talents, training, and good opportunities to do better than the average Realtor® (more about that in other articles).

In the past few difficult years of the housing market, most Realtors® have made no money at all, or very little money. We have become somewhat content just to pay our business bills. In fact, I talked with a Vehicle Repossessor in 2008 who said his most frequent assignment was to pick-up real estate agents’ cars. While the depth of the down market years varies, real estate is a cyclical industry. In the fat times, you have to save for the lean times.[/accordion] [accordion title=”I want to supplement my family income and be able to work part time.”]Wow. This one is tricky. It is not that this cannot be done, but it is not as easy as one might imagine. Consider these thoughts:

Our industry is changing rapidly, as it always has been. Continuing education is crucial to keep up with legal requirements, current issues, specialty information (e.g. mortgage), and industry fads, etc. No matter how long we are in this field we never stop coming across challenging situations we have never faced before and we are forced to expand our knowledge. Without being constantly active in the field and learning from experiences, our colleagues, and from other routine sources, you may be a risk to yourself and your clients.

Consider also the logistics: What will you do when your client comes in from out of state and wants to spend 3 or 4 long days with you seeing all the properties they can? What happens if 3 clients decide to be active at once? So much for part time! Many real estate appointments take place during evenings and weekends. Is this workable part-time?

Building a successful business requires enormous effort and much personal sacrifice. It does not happen automatically and it is never easy, and rarely a part time task. However, once you become successful and have built a large or referral business, then it can be easier to control how much you work. You can do this by carefully selecting your clients, referring clients to other Realtors®, or through leverage with a team or partner. You can also build cooperative relationships with others to cover for each other when you are not available. But usually you must first become successful in order to have the option of cutting back.

As a part-time Realtor® you might be content to help family and friends when opportunities arise, but think about whether they will they want to entrust one of their most vital financial issues to someone who is a novice, distracted, unavailable, or unskilled.[/accordion] [/accordion_group] [space5] [button size=”large” link=”” color=”blue” textcolor=”#ffffff”]What are good reasons to start a career in real estate?[/button][space5]

Randy McCreith, Principal Broker
Bella Casa Real Estate Group

We Are Your Cheerleaders

[dropcap character=”T” color=”red”]The #1 complaint I have heard from agents thinking about changing brokerage is that the claim to offer excellent education, training, and mentoring was hollow. When you are new to real estate, it takes personal guidance and responsive people as well as the abyss of an intranet!  Your best authority to learn how good a brokerage is, is to ask their agents and their former agents! Make some calls and get the inside scoop.  We have successfully built a brokerage with agents willing to give a hand-up, answer questions, help with issues, and cheerlead for the success of others.

We offer you the following resources:

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  • The Owners and Designated Brokers. I answer my phone almost 24/7/365, and it is not a problem. If you are writing an offer, about to go into a threatening appointment, or are stuck on an issue, or you need a person to assist you now or very soon. Our children are grown, and Joni and I have the time to do this. Our Realtors® and our clients are our highest business priority.
  • Our business model has many Principal Brokers: We want all of our brokers to become Principals and know the value of increased prestige and credibility. We want everyone to be fully competent and be able to wear that badge. Currently we have about a dozen Principals, and 4 people who have owned their own brokerages. Each of our Principals have extensive knowledge and experience and are graciously eager to help anyone become an independent professional who in turn will one day help others
  • We have developed a culture of sharing and collaborating among all our Realtors®, and it is refreshing and satisfying to see it in action. Everyone can help someone else get at least to where they are. Bella Casa Realtors® are generous and willing to collaborate to make us all more successful.

[pullquote]When people interview with me about a place to develop their business, after all the discussions, I ask them to call anyone (or everyone) in the brokerage and ask them questions.vWhat is the good, the bad, and the ugly? Are they who they claim to be? Do they deliver what they say they will?[/pullquote][space5]

This is the test of validity. “If I had to do it all over again, what would I have liked to help me make it?” That was our intention and our design 6 years ago, and we have not stopped doing what made us the fastest growing office in Yamhill County. Check us out!

Randy McCreith, Principal Broker
Bella Casa Real Estate Group

I Need Help! Education & Training

[dropcap character=”W” color=”yellow”]When you first get your license, you know very little about ‘how to do real estate.’ You likely have never seen an earnest money agreement, do not know where to find any forms, and wonder how you will find leads, prospective clients, and what to do to convert leads into clients. You have likely just spent more than $2,000 for your licensing education, your license, your Association dues, MLS membership and your Realtor® key, some clothes and equipment. You wonder how and when you can make that money back. You may feel weak on technology, have never received professional sales training, do not know a great deal about the area you are selling in, and you feel terribly alone in this industry. You wonder what you would even do if someone asked you for a valuation on a property or how you would show properties if someone were to ask. It is a vulnerable, and sometimes terrifying feeling.

We have all experienced this and will likely never forget it. No one becomes successful in real estate on their own. We all owe gratitude to many people for how we were treated, assisted, and for the examples we had. Our inspiration likely came from someone else, and realistically, we all had a person or two who became our backbone and kept us persevering in spite of our apprehensions and frustrations.

Continuing Education: What You Need to Know

Education is about gaining more information. It is important that you become a life-long learner. Our industry changes significantly each year and you must never stop being informed and expanding your knowledge base. This must be a passion and a hobby. Continuing your education can be a huge bonus for your career prospects. If you are a teacher you may want to continue your education to better teach your students, to advance in your job role, or to train for additional teaching areas. There are summer courses for teachers provided online for those who may want to do this for their professional development.

Some brokerages hook you with their extensive intranet libraries of information and streams of information that they bring to you. All of that information is readily available online, in bookstores, through certification courses, by way of endless class offerings by vendors and 3rd party suppliers, and constant conferences and annual conventions. I can set you up to receive regular, informative emails that will weekly overflow your mailbox. At your fingertips is more information than you can ever read, and if you tried, you would never have time for sales. There is no lack of supply, and no one has any secret information; the question for you is at what price does a brokerage’s package of information come? I think it is too expensive since it can be yours for free!

Areas of Knowledge to Pursue

  • Required Courses: The Real Estate Agency is a State of Oregon Agency that governs the legal compliance of real estate licensees. Your license requires you to maintain a minimum of 30 hours of certified continuing education for each license period. Beginning in 2011, all classes and instructors must be certified according to specific standards. You can find out more at: YCAR (The Yamhill County Association of Realtors®) offers 36 hours of certified continuing education each year. Classes are held in Newberg and McMinnville on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 8:45- Noon. They are free with your membership! For more information:
  • Forms and Documents: This is a core competency you need to learn quickly. This is a massive assignment you will have to master quickly. This requires systematic reading and then interacting with those who have learned how to communicate this well. Our Principals will help you until you are comfortable. We also have systematic discussions in our workshops and in MP3 format.
  • Sales Training: If you are a good sales person, then you are adept in psychology. It is not about teaching you how to manipulate people to do what you want, but how to serve every kind of person well and help them to make the best decision and accomplish their needs and desires. It is about communication and connecting with people. It is about seeing through the clutter and understanding the mechanics of the process, and operating efficiently and effectively. It is about creating leads, who become prospects, who become clients for life. This is both a science and an art. While some people intuitively understand this, many of us need to learn from the best in the business through sales training courses like those offered by Impel Dynamic. Whether you use your skills for good or not is an issue of your character, not an inherent weakness of sales training.
  • Basic Technology: We are in an increasingly sophisticated technological environment. Without adequate knowledge, you limit your potential. When you decide you are done upgrading your skills you are slowly killing your business. You must know how to set up your computer settings for access to sites and peripherals, learn your software, and get onto directories and websites. Electronic faxing, designing informational signatures, network settings, document management, social networking, manipulating pictures, etc. are all very important. For document management, you might be using Sharepoint as this is very popular. If that is the case, then you will want to take a look at these sharepoint web parts as they allow you to tailor Sharepoint to your requirements. If this is all a bit alien to you, then you might want to take some courses to further your knowledge. The ITSM Zone may be a good place to start, as they offer different courses that will allow you to develop your understanding of service management. They will help develop your skills to manage your own technology infrastructures and control your computing elements with ease.
  • Area Knowledge: Our products are homes and properties. You must become the expert of towns and neighborhoods, of a myriad of local issues, climate distinctives, and issues you need to caution people about (like a bypass). You will be asked about schools and businesses, about shopping and restaurants. You will be selling condos and vast rural properties – each of these have amazing complexity. You need to learn property values and why two statistically identical houses have dramatically different values. Did you know the difference in rainfall between Grand Ronde and Sheridan is over 50″ per year? Might that be important to a buyer?
  • Risk Management: This is a broad area of knowledge that is right at the top. It incorporates almost every other area, and we must relentlessly pursue this. Your value is in protecting and informing your clients, but your colleagues also depend on you to know what is right and good and profitable. You must know where the pitfalls are and how to appropriately solve problems. We all suffer when someone fails, so we all have motivation to be aware of changing laws & regulations, and issues.

Training: How To Do Something

  • Workshops: Bella Casa offers practical interactive workshops on Friday mornings for any agents wanting to attend. These revolve around key issues and current questions and concerns. What we do is determined by the immediate need as expressed by our Realtors®. There is a time for questions and discussions about anything, even if it is not related to the topic of the day.
  • Our affiliated businesses like title companies and mortgage companies offer much training to all Realtors®. Many will offer free software for you and access to the kinds of data they have. Some Title representatives also train on marketing and advertising, social networking, and other practical services.
  • If you want to learn how to build a business by referral, Brian Buffini offers extensive training online and through seminars and conferences. Others offer specific real estate training on various models, wide ranging issues through books, online, dvds/mp3s, and more. (NAR) has a vast library of information and training to be tapped into. Our State Association and our MLSs also offer training.
  • Certification Courses: You can advance your knowledge and skills by buying certification courses offered by OAR and NAR (GRI, ABR, CRS, and many more). There are also useful 3rd Party certifications in the business and sales industries.

Helpful Definitions

In any industry you have to learn a new language and sometimes have to work through the alphabet soup of acronyms. We call it Realtor®-speak. Here is a start but there is much more the deeper you get.

Your Identity Crisis!

  • The Real Estate Agency (REA) only knows you as a Licensee. Their job: to license qualified people and then regulate their licensees.
  • In our Associations (NAR, OAR, YCAR or PMAR) you are a Realtor®. This term can only be used by one who is a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Many times commercial brokers and property managers are not Realtors® and in some places significant numbers of licensees are agents, not Realtors®.
    • Are you a real-i-tor, or a real-tor? It is the latter; someone who works with real estate!
  • Agent refers to your function of representing clients. You act in behalf of another.
  • Sales Associate is obsolete but may still be used in a traditional firm to keep lines of authority clear. This is a term used before agents became brokers.
  • We are brokers in that we broker sales for someone and are paid commissions. In 2002 all sales associates were required to upgrade their education and be licensed as full brokers. This was in response to increased abilities and responsibilities associates were able to take on because of technology.
  • Principal Broker is a higher level of licensing which allows a licensee to function independently (think sole-proprietor) with direct legal and ethical accountability. A Principal Broker in a brokerage can also be designated and charged with supervision of other licensees and accountable for their practice. In the world of our Associations, the “Designated Broker” is the ultimate responsible and accountable PB in the office. At Bella Casa, we have multiple Principal Brokers and some of them supervise others, many do not.

Where You Will Work

  • Brokerage: This is an office where brokers work and is the most common term for a real estate office.
  • Agency: This is an office where agents work and can be used interchangeably with brokerage. Sometimes this refers more narrowly to a franchise organization emphasizing that this office is an agency of the parent company or brand (e.g. common in insurance).
  • Firm: Usually refers to a partnership type of ownership, hence law firms. In real estate often refers to multiple offices/brokerages owned by the same owner(s) even though they may share a national brand name with others.
  • Office: Used synonymously with brokerage but is particular to a branch or independent standing.
  • Corporate terms apply when offices are incorporated (Inc, LLC, S-corp)
  • Who owns the business???
    • Might be a ‘national store’; e.g. owned by C-21 or Coldwell Banker
    • Might be owned by a regional owners (Re/Max Equity Group; Prudential Northwest Properties )
    • Might be owned by collection of agents (Keller Williams)
    • Any national or regional brand might be owned by small or larger groups of investors, local or not. Could be owned by a family or individual.
  • What does local ownership mean?
    • See our article called Local Ownership Considerations.

Compensation Related Definitions

  • Commission split: What percentage of the gross commission do you get when the sale closes? From this number there may be additional royalties, fees, and expenses taken before you see the net amount your receive. As an independent contractor, you will then be paying many of your own business taxes and your own expenses before seeing your ‘take-home money’! Does this percentage slide based on sales or other considerations?
  • Commission cap: Is there a point at which your brokerage will no longer take their split and you will be enabled to keep all the gross commission?
  • Royalties: Is there a national or regional brand or corporate office which gets some of your commissions on each sale? Does it cap or apply to every sale?
  • Fees: see article on Commission Compensation to see examples of these
  • Expenses: You will have brokerage expenses (like copies, or space/desk rental), and your own business expenses like your cell phone and computer etc.

Working in Sales

  • Lead: Raw opportunity for you to explore. You hope some leads will turn out to be prospective buyers or sellers for you.
  • Prospect: A qualified lead that you have connected with who is a prospective client of yours.
  • Client: Someone who is committed to working with you for their sale or purchase, or someone you have worked with in the past.
  • Colleagues: Our preferred term for our fellow Realtors® whether in our own company or not.  At some level we are all competitors, but we also work together as colleagues in our industry.

Randy McCreith, Principal Broker
Bella Casa Real Estate Group