What Makes a Great Real Estate Office? - dummies

By Dirk Zeller

An agent choosing an agency isn’t a whole lot different than a consumer choosing an agent. When you look at a real estate office, evaluate how they rank based on the following list of attributes:

  • Energy and enthusiasm: It takes passion to succeed at essential real estate activities like prospecting, lead generation, and lead follow-up. If you surround yourself with agents who lack energy and enthusiasm for the business, it will affect your performance.

    When trying to determine whether an office has energy and enthusiasm, find out whether agents are excited to come to work. Also find out whether the office has a public board where agents record their listings and sales for the other agents to see. If the office does have a board like this, look to see if it’s full or empty. Are only a few names covering the entire board, or are all the agents represented? These boards are less common these days because agents don’t come into the office daily, so you may have to ask for a spreadsheet of pending sales activity, which gives you the same information. Also, if you can start with other new agents, it can help with camaraderie and commonality. When the going gets tough, and it will . . . it’s good to have a buddy.

  • Reputation: Although you can’t count on your company’s reputation to do your work for you, you can bet that your company’s positive reputation will help you open doors.
  • Experienced manager: As a newer agent, you’ll benefit greatly from a manager who knows the ropes and has experience taking agents to higher levels of production. Ask the following questions: What is the manager’s track record in raising agent productivity? How long does it typically take the manager to reach different production thresholds with agents? The right answers can dramatically affect your career arc.

    You’re looking for a manager who has a track record of building successful agents from new agents. Effective managers have low failure rates with new agents and see more than 40 percent of their new agents become successful. That percentage may seem low, but according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), fewer than 20 percent of agents last more than two years in the business. A manager who can give you timeframes and statistics on his agents’ success is a serious candidate for your manager. Most of them can’t tell you these stats.

  • Listings inventory: Does the company offer you the opportunity to establish some income over the early months by working someone else’s inventory while you’re creating your own? Can you post the inventory of other agents in marketing, social media, or online to generate interest and calls? What are the company’s online lead-generation strategies with its listing inventory? Do those inquiries go to the agent who listed the property, or does the company spread them around to all agents? As a newer agent, you ideally want a company that spreads the wealth. As an established, successful agent, you want the opposite. An established inventory gives you the opportunity to create buyers and income by working open houses, ad calls, and sign calls.
  • Training focus: Look into how well the company handles the two major areas of training: initial training (so you can earn an income) and ongoing training (so you can build and grow your business). Training options have exploded in the past few years, especially with online classes and programs, videos, webinars, and other opportunities.When they’re selecting an agency, most new agents don’t focus enough on the company’s training programs because they get wrapped up in the “what’s my split” game. If, through good training, you’re able to master the skills you need to excel, your income is unlimited. However, if you don’t, you have no chance.

    Every company says it offers good training. It’s your job to look under the hood to see for yourself. To do that, ask these three questions:

    • What’s the loss ratio for new agents? The loss ratio is the number of agents who fail after completing the training program. This ratio tells you the effectiveness of the company’s new-agent training program. That is the true number of new-agent success.
    • What is the per-person production ratio? The average production by the salespeople in the company tells you whom you’re likely to be surrounded by on a day-to-day basis. It clearly illustrates the results of the training programs. You’re looking for results. To have training for the sake of training or to claim you have training is worthless. The question is what results are achieved in terms of income and quality service to clients. A company that claims to have excellent training but has low agent performance is fooling itself and its agents.
    • How do the agents segment into income brackets? The answer tells you whether the company’s ongoing training is building the capabilities of all agents or only a few. As an example of a breakdown you want to avoid, check out the table, which shows how agents in a 200-agent company segment into earning categories.

      If you’re considering a company with a segmentation chart like the one shown, run away fast. Opt instead for a company where a reasonable group of agents earns your desired income. If 80 percent of agents are making less than $50,000 a year, the company is likely a poor fit for a success-oriented agent.

Agent Segmentation by Income Bracket
Income Segment Number of Agents
$500,000+ 1
$250,000+ 2
$200,000+ 2
$100,000+ 5
$50,000+ 10
$25,000+ 100
$25,000 or less 80