What Are The Best Brokerages for New Agents?

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The first few years of your real estate career are incredibly important. It’s when you’ll be able to put your new skills to the test and see if being a real estate agent is the right fit for you. And the brokerage or team you join can have a giant impact on your budding career.

For example, it’s where you’ll make your first connections with other real estate professionals. You’ll also learn tips and tricks you’ll keep with you for the rest of your career. And the habits you form while there (both good and bad) will impact how successful your real estate business will be—even after you leave the firm. 

So it’s crucial to choose a brokerage that will give you room to grow in a positive and energizing environment. The only hitch is that there are over 90,000 brokerages in the U.S. That’s a pretty big field to pick from. But before you start panic-Googling whatever comes to mind, take a moment to cut that field in half. You can do this by figuring out what type of brokerage or team is the best fit for you. 

This article goes over the pros, cons, and ‘best fit’ for the three main type of organizations new real estate agents should consider: 

  • National brokerages
  • Local firms 
  • Real estate teams

3 Things to Consider As You Evaluate Your Options

As you learn more about different types of real estate firms and teams below, keep these three questions in mind. They will help you critically evaluate if a national brokerage, local firm, or real estate team is the right choice for you. 

  1. What are your short-term and long-term goals? 

When you are still getting your real estate license and before you even start searching for your first brokerage, ask yourself what your career and personal goals are. You might have slightly different short-term and long-term goals. Or, your goals might support and build on one another. 

For example, are you looking to start out somewhere you can get hands-on-experience working next to a seasoned agent? Do you want to play an active role in shaping the future of the brokerage you join? Does the brand of the real estate firm matter a lot to you, or would you prefer to be with a firm where you can stand out? 

All of these are great questions to ask to help get a better idea of what your business goals are. 

Personal goals are usually tied to the type of commission you can expect at different brokerages. It’s best to have a good idea of how much and how fast you’ll be able to make money before joining a firm or real estate team. Ask yourself if you want to prioritize the size of the commission, or how quickly you can get paid. When you’re just starting out, you often can’t focus on both at the same time. 

  1. What can the brokerage offer YOU? 

As you research different brokerages and real estate teams, make sure to consider what the organization can offer you. 

Things like training, mentorship opportunities, and networking with fellow real estate professionals are invaluable for new agents. There are also a bunch of real estate software tools (e.g. CRM and lead generation) that can help make your job easier. Some firms also offer more in the way of business support and marketing materials. For example, certain brokerages may offer discounts on things like office supplies and tech. 

Brand recognition can carry a lot of weight too. There will be customers who feel more comfortable working with an established real estate firm rather than taking a chance with a smaller brokerage. Even though you’re the one who’s going to be doing the daily grind, think about what the brokerage can offer you. 

  1. What do peer reviews say about the firm? 

No brokerage website is going to give you as much insight as a first-hand experience will. And since you’re searching for your first brokerage, reviews from fellow real estate agents are the closest you can get. 

Reviews from AgentAdvice.com or Glassdoor are great places to look for authentic reviews from other real estate professionals. For example, feedback from reviewers can let you know what types of resources a brokerage provides for new agents. 

Some brokerages may also be a better fit for more experienced agents, or agents that prefer selling in a specialty market (e.g. international or luxury properties). Here are some examples of reviews from real estate agents and their experience at different brokerages: 

I enjoy being with eXp! I love the comradery, the cloud-based business model, their revenue share model, and access to work from anywhere with a computer and internet access. They also have weekly meetings and pieces of training, which is useful, especially for new agents.” 

~ Anthony R. | eXp Realty Reviews

Only apply if you have experience, because they only hire the best of the best. My broker doesn’t hire new agents. Compass leads the rest of the real estate world in technology and vision.” 

~ Roy B. | Compass Reviews

“Everyone has good things to say about the Coldwell Banker brand. The training given to new agents wasn’t extensive. And when you are just getting started, there are so many tools it is overwhelming. I am sure the tools are more useful if you have been in real estate for years but when you are new it is just too much.”

~ Anonymous Agent | Coldwell Banker Reviews

The training is good if you are a new real estate agent. Good communication from team leads. I am on a 70/30 split and pay about $70 a month in fees.”

~ Leesa G. | Keller Williams Reviews

National Brokerages 

If you’re interested in working with a firm that has a strong brand and large network of real estate professionals, consider national brokerages. There’s a long list of national firms to choose from, but here are some of the most popular: 

  • Keller Williams 
  • RE/MAX
  • Century21
  • Redfin
  • eXp Realty 

Pros 

There are a handful of key pros that national brands can offer newbie real estate agents. The most obvious is the reputation that comes with the national name. This is especially important for new agents just starting their careers. For new agents that don’t have a few years of experience under their belt, a strong brand can lend needed credibility with future clients. It can be nice to have a national name backing up your personal reputation while you work on building up your own brand. 

National firms also provide new agents with the opportunity to socialize with other successful real estate professionals. And you’ll be able to learn a lot from watching them run their own real estate business. 

Excellent training classes and access to a giant network of national professionals are two other perks of working with a national brokerage. Access to more and better real estate technology tools is a plus too. For example, many national brands may offer online marketing and website building tools to help you get your own business started. 

Cons 

However, there are a few potential negatives that come along with working with a national brokerage. One of the biggest drawbacks is that it can be hard to stand out at a national firm and make a name for yourself. 

New agents may not get much in the way of new leads either, at least at first. As a new agent, you should think about this carefully. Most new real estate agents need to put in a lot of time making cold calls and doing other lead generation activities. It can take months for new agents to make a sale. So any leads from your brokerage can make a big difference. 

While there tend to be great training courses for new real estate agents offered at national brokerages, the hands-on experience isn’t always the best. There’s usually not much hand-holding in terms of figuring out how to successfully generate new business. 

Best fit for 

National firms aren’t for everyone. But they might be a good fit for you if you’re extremely self-motivated and don’t mind the competition that comes along with being one of many new agents at a national firm. 

Or maybe you’re confident you can make your future customers happy and are looking for some national brand credibility to help you book meetings. If this sounds like you, a national brokerage might be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you would prefer to work closely under the guidance of a veteran real estate professional for a few years, a local firm may be more up your alley. 

Local Firms 

Local, or boutique, brokerages are another great option to consider. These types of firms operate either locally or regionally and tend to have smaller offices. Compared to national firms, boutique real estate brokerages are more specialized to meet the needs of the local market. 

Pros 

Local firms have a few distinct advantages over national franchise brokerages. If you’re a new real estate agent wondering if a local brokerage is the right choice for you, consider these factors. 

Since the firm is local, it may have a stronger relationship with local clients and real-estate-adjacent businesses. Another big benefit of working with a boutique brokerage is the individual attention and help you’ll receive. 

As a new agent, one of the most important things to consider is what type of mentorship opportunities are available at your brokerage. Since they have smaller offices with fewer agents, there’s usually more room for more experienced real estate agents to take a new agent under their wing. Mentors often have more time to devote to showing new agents the ropes and offer advice and consultation than real estate agents at larger brokerages do. 

There are also fewer agents to distribute leads to at local firms. Meaning new agents also have a better chance of winning some brokerage-generated leads than you would at a national firm.

Cons 

But there are a few cons to be aware of if you’re considering joining a local brokerage. 

The biggest drawback is that local firms don’t have the brand recognition that most national firms do. This is especially important to consider since It can be difficult enough already for new agents to land a deal. There might also be fewer networking opportunities than there are at national firms. But there are plenty of other networking opportunities you can seek out as well. 

Local brokerages tend to not have as much or not as advanced technology as larger firms do. This isn’t a problem for all agents. But if you’re hoping to make your lead generation process as efficient as possible, ask about the types of tools your new brokerage uses. 

Smaller firms might also have less online traffic, less recognition outside of the local area, and smaller marketing budgets. 

Best fit for 

Keeping all the pros and cons in mind, local brokerages can be a great fit for some new agents. If you want to spend quality time with a mentor learning the ropes, a smaller firm might be right for you. 

There can also be more of a feeling of camaraderie within smaller offices. Agents may be more willing to help each other out, and there’s definitely less competition for office-generated leads than there is at national firms. If you’re looking for a more welcoming and less stressful environment, a local brokerage might be a great fit. 

Real Estate Teams 

A real estate team is another great option for new agents to consider. Teams are typically made up of an experienced, successful agent who leads the team. They typically have a handful of newer agents working under them. You can find these teams at both local and national brokerages. 

Pros 

You will still be associated with either a local or national brokerage if you’re working as part of a real estate team. However, being on a team comes with a few key benefits that you won’t find if you work by yourself. 

The biggest advantage to working on a team is access to more and higher quality leads. As part of the team, you’ll share in a small piece of the commission from deals the team lands. This can be a great way for new agents to start making money faster. If this is one of your personal or career goals, consider joining a team. 

Joining a team can also be a great option for new agents because you’ll have more support than if you were working alone. For example, you’ll have access to a whole team of mentors willing to teach you how to run a successful real estate business. Teams can be great for new agents that are either struggling to find new business or very budget-conscious. 

Cons

One of the main cons of working on a team is related to how quickly you’ll get new leads. Teams often feed new agents more leads, but you’ll receive a smaller portion of the commission because of the structure of the team. Since there are multiple agents involved in deals, the commission needs to be split in multiple ways. 

So working on a team means faster but smaller commission checks. Essentially, agents trade working on their own business and brand in return for better lead generation capability. 

Best fit for 

Joining a real estate team at either a local or national brokerage can be a great fit for newbie agents. If you’re concerned about how quickly you’ll be able to start making money, joining a team may be the right call. New agents that are hungry for new experience but that also want to learn from seasoned real estate agents would be well served by a team. 

But if you want to pour your heart and soul into building up your own brand as soon as you start, a team likely isn’t the best fit for you. 

What’s Next? 

After you’ve considered all the pros and cons, done your own research, and talked with a few brokerages—it’s time to make your decision. Is a national brokerage, local firm, or real estate team the best fit for you? 

Once you have your answer, make sure to consult peer reviews to find out if your dream brokerage is all it’s cracked up to be. AgentAdvice.com has brokerage reviews from real estate agents across the country about their experience at different firms. Find reviews of some of the most popular real estate firms here: 

After reading through some first-hand experiences, make a shortlist of your top 2 – 3 brokerages and start making some calls! You should set up meetings with each of your top choices to ask more questions about: 

  • how the firm handles commission splits
  • how it distributes office leads
  • what the office culture is like
  • and what mentorship and networking opportunities are available