How to Interview Brokerages

FFor someone just getting into real estate, interviewing with brokerages can be both intimidating and frustrating. Remember it is you who are interviewing to find the right brokerage to contribute your talents! Perhaps this guide will provide some ideas to help combat any frustration.

Some interview questions are intended to elicit information. Some give insight to values and priorities, and the feel of an environment. Keep all your senses attuned to more than just the words…

Sometimes you just have to create what you want to be a part of! Geri Weitzman

Tell Me About Your Brokerage/Agency/Firm/Office

  • Who owns your office? How many offices do the owners own?
  • Is this a franchise? Is the brand national, regional or local?
  • How long in business here? Why did you start this brokerage?
  • Who is the Designated Broker- the managing or supervising Principal Broker?
  • How many brokers ‘hang their licenses’ here? How many full time and part time? How many do not sell each and every year?
  • How many supervising Principals in the office?
  • How many staff members are employed? (reception, transactions, marketing, administration, technology, etc.)
  • Do you have ‘affiliated businesses’ (mortgage, warranty, title & escrow- same ownership)?
  • Mission statement? Brokerage Goals and Objectives?
  • Accomplishments in the past 5 years? What aspirations for the next 3 years?
  • Who are your top producers and what makes them great?
  • How are leads which come into the office dispersed? What is the criteria, the method, the justification, and who decides how they are distributed?
  • If I receive leads from this office or the larger firm, what is the referral rate?
  • What is the process for joining your brokerage? Who makes the decision to welcome me on-board?

What Products and Services Do You Provide? Are There Costs Associated With These?

  • Marketing and Advertising?
  • Transaction management?
  • Education, training, mentoring?
  • What services am I required to purchase and use?
  • Do you provide ‘Errors and Omissions’ Insurance? Cost?
  • Technology:
    • Is your office wireless? High speed internet? Phone? Fax? efax?
    • Do you provide a company phone number? Can I use my own cell only?
    • Do you provide a company email address? Can I use my own private email only?
    • Do you provide a company database management system? Can I use my own software for this (Outlook, MobileMe, Act, Goldmine, etc?
    • )Do you provide a website for me? Is it a page, templates to choose, or can I develop my own?
    • Apart from printer drivers, is there any software you install on my computer?
  • Do you provide yard signs, flyer boxes, lockboxes, directional signs, Open House signs, presentation folders, marketing collaterals? What are the costs?

 What Are My Responsibilities As a Member of Your Brokerage?

  • Do I have required sales numbers to achieve for any given period of time?
  • What meetings am I required to attend?
  • How often am I required to be in the office?
  • Am I required to cover ‘floor-time’ (reception, phone, walk-ins); How often?
  • Am I required to do open houses or assist other agents in their work?
  • Are commission rates dictated for my listings?
  • Are there required courses or assignments?
  • Do I manage my own transaction and paperwork?

 About the Compensation Package

  • What is your commission split (% for agent vs the brokerage)?
  • Do you have a commission cap (when I can make 100% of commissions)?
  • Do agents pay royalties, %, or fees to the national/regional office, franchise, or brand?
  • How much per transaction?
  • What other fees will or can be deducted from a commission check?
  • What are other expenses that may be paid to the brokerage (desk or office space, copies, services, etc.)?
  • Does your commission structure vary based on sales, success levels, or other variables?
  • Are all your agents on the same compensation plan? If not, what kinds of modifications and why? How many plans?
  • How soon are the commissions paid after a sale closes?


May I See Your Contracts and Policies?

  • What agreements will I be asked to sign? Can I take a copy of them with me today to review before making my decision?
  • May I also take a copy of your Policy Manual to review?

Describe your ‘Corporate Culture’

  • How would you describe the culture of this office? What are its characteristics, strengths and values? What is its personality? How do agents treat each other?
  • Could I get a list of all your agents and contact any of them by phone or email to interview any of them about their perspective on life in your brokerage?
  • What group projects or causes do you all work together on (past, present, future plans)?
  • What do you do in and for the community? What percentage of your agents are involved in charity events, non-profit work, service clubs, or other beneficial contributions to others?
  • Talk to me about some of your success stories? (What is highlighted here may be symptomatic of values, culture, and priorities)
  • Freedom and creativity:
    • Can I form my own image and design my own look for communications, marketing, and advertising? (websites, business cards, ads, venues, etc.)
    • Apart from the brokerage identification, do I need to put any company phone numbers, email or website information?
    • Can I structure my business the way I want to (dba, s-corp, LLC, PC, various business models, select principles, independent practices, policies, etc.)?
    • Can I be on a team or build a team?
      • Is it limited in size?Are their compensation benefits for this?
      • What limitations are there?
    • Can I choose my own commission rates for my clients?

 What Happens Should I Leave Your Brokerage?

  • Are my listing clients mine to freely take with me?
  • Are my commission agreements (splits & caps) changed for current transactions in process at that time? Will I receive my full commission on any transaction I have initiated?
  • Do you uninstall any software from my computer?
  • What happens to the technology you have given to me?
    • Are emails forwarded to me?
    • Are calls forwarded to me?
    • If someone walks-in and asks for me by name, are they told where to find me?
    • Do I keep my database or do you keep its contents?
    • Will you immediately remove me from your website?
  • Are there any contract restrictions on me that survive my departure?
    • Is our relationship “at will” so I may leave anytime regardless of contract term?
    • Are there any non-compete restrictions?

 Personal Responses?

  • What made you join this office? Why do you think agents select your office?
  • What benefits do you think are the most valuable?
  • What reasons have others given for leaving in the past?

This is not a checklist, just a way for you to know what to get at and where you can probe for real understanding of the office. You will find more information about specifics mentioned above in articles in this list.

I would be glad to be interviewed by you, answer these questions about Bella Casa Real Estate Group, and help you understand further why these issues are significant.

Randy McCreith, Principal Broker
Bella Casa Real Estate Group