The Brokerage


The Top Ten Tips to Help you Choose a Brokerage

About us is an online tutorial program that helps you study for, and pass, the BC Real Estate Exam and become a licensed real estate agent. We'll teach you all the answers, both right and wrong, from your UBC Real Estate Exam Study Guide. It's a method preferred by students, and a better way to prepare you for success!

You must join a real estate brokerage in order to be sell and buy real estate in BC.

There were 1,099 brokerages in BC, based on the figures from the Real Estate Council in their 2018 Annual Report. That's a lot to choose from.

You may have heard of some of them. Re/MAX, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, Sutton West Coast Realty, Keller Williams Elite Realty, Oakwyn Realty, Team 3000 Realty, Nu Stream Realty, and Sotheby's Realty, to name a few.

It can be overwhelming to decide which one to join.

We've put together a list of the "TOP 10 TIPS" to help you shop for, and join, the right brokerage for your needs.

TIP 1. Determine your budget.

Calculate what your personal monthly expenses are, not including real estate income or expenses, by developing a good budget. Here's an example of a good budget template to use.

You should also ask yourself these questions:

  • How much income do you need for the next year?
  • Will that income have to come from real estate?
  • Do you have a reserve to live on while you are developing your real estate business?

1. Answers to these questions will be important for you to know before you plunge into the Real Estate market. (See Basic Monthly Real Estate Fees on this web site.)

TIP 2. Interview the managing broker.

Shop for all the brokerages in the area you want to work and interview the managing broker of each brokerage on what they can offer you. Ask them about their training, business plans and fees. How are they going to help you be a successful REALTOR® from the start?

TIP 3: What training do they offer.

Most brokerages run courses on how to write an offer and how to fill out the required paperwork. But look for those that go the extra step and who will also give you advice and training on how to build your business and get clients.

Successful real estate agents follow a proven real estate system. Does this brokerage have such a system? If so, ask the brokerage to explain their real estate system and how it will help drive your business as a new real estate agent. Have them show you real evidence that the system works

TIP 5: What are the brokerage's fees

It's important for you to understand what fees each brokerage will charge. All brokerages have their own ways of operating, so when doing your research be sure to ask them what their pricing fees are and how they operate.

You will have several monthly fees. The brokerage itself may charge you monthly desk fees, advertising fees, franchise fees, insurance fees and more. You will also have other expenses including real estate board fees, BCREA fees, CREA fees, MLS access fees, lock box fees etc... (see our article on Real Estate Costs for more details on these costs).

TIP 6: What is the commission structure

Commission rates do vary, and contrary to what you may think, there is no set rate of commission that you can earn as a real estate agent in BC.

Typically, (here in B.C. anyway) the real estate commission that a real estate agent can make for selling a home (called a listing agent). The amount of commission earned is based on the final selling price of the home, A typical and popular commission is 7% of the first $100,000 and then 2.5% on the balance.

However, there are low-cost brokerages, or discount brokerages, out there where you may earn a lower commission, in the hopes of attracting more customers and have less overhead by not being charged monthly desk fees to the brokerage.

TIP 7: What Support will you get

What support will the brokerage give you when you choose a system? How easy does that support come. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? By phone, in person, individual help? Groups or meetings? How will the brokerage help increase your gross earnings?

How will the brokerage help you? Be warned about racking up fees you owe before your first deal. It may be better to give the brokerage a bigger split of your first commissions until you are on more solid financial footing.

As a new real estate agent, a large portion of your budget during the first year will be put toward marketing yourself and getting new clients. You will also have other expenses related to running a home office, like printing, photocopying, and so forth. Will the brokerage help pay for any of your initial start-up fees, like business costs, setting up a website and marketing flyers?

TIP 8: Are there teams or other REALTORS® to help you.

You may want to join a real estate team as a new agent. One way of starting your profession as a REALTOR® is by becoming a Buyer agent for a successful team of REALTORS®. There are many ways teams and/or Realtor(s) pay a buyer agent but generally it comes with less stress. While you will make less commission, your expenses will be less, and you can learn one side of being a real estate agent without prospecting to get listings.

Does the brokerage have teams and/or individual real estate agents who are looking for a buyer's agent? Often these teams will give you leads to follow up on. Some will give you a buyer already committed to the team.

TIP 9: Will you have a mentor.

See if the brokerage will recommend a mentor other than the managing broker. Many top producing REALTORS® had, or currently still, have mentors that they've learned from. It's easier if the mentor is at the same brokerage.

TIP 10: What is the brokerage's territory

Look at where the brokerage is located and the geographic area that it covers. Is the area walkable? Is transit available or do you need to own your own car?