The simple answer is “everyone”! Real estate brokerage firms are always looking for the next productive real estate agent. They know, regardless of market conditions, a new licensee with a strong work ethics will succeed. AREI does not presume to direct the new agent to any one particular firm or another. We do not indoctrinate students into a specific or generic system. Our hope is that we might assist the new agent in determining what options are available, different types of brokerage firms, variations in commission fee splits, payment of expenses, training opportunities, etc. Furthermore, we will afford the student opportunity to meet potential Employing brokers at the classroom sessions. You will have an opportunity to hear about different systems and ask questions of broker/owners. As desired you might schedule one-on-one interviews with various employing brokers. This process allows a great deal of exposure and insight into the different opportunities available. AREI recommends you talk with as many brokers as necessary as your decision can springboard your career in the real estate industry.




Choosing a broker is a very important step in pursuit of your new career. Most associate brokers today are independent contractors and may be responsible for some or all out of pocket expenses such as license fees, MLS fees, Realtor dues, business cards, sign riders, etc. The employing brokerage firm might provide desk space, telephone, secretarial help, signs, contract forms, other necessary tools, and most importantly, guidance, training, and supervision. Despite the specifics of any one situation, there will be a predetermined commission plan. The commission “split” might be determined any number of ways.




Assume a sale price $250,000.00 and a commission of 6% (There is no “set” commission rate, commissions are strictly by agreement between the company and the client). In this example let’s assume that half of the commission will be offered to the buyer’s broker’s firm.

The Total Commission is $250,000 X .06 = $15,000
The Lisiting Company receives 50% or $7,500.00
The Selling Company receives 50% or $7,500.00
The associate receives 35% of the total (70/30 split) or $5,250.00

Under this level of fee split, the company will usually pay many of the associate broker’s expenses and the income to the associate is net pre-tax income. There are many variations of commission schedules and bonus plans ranging up to the 100% commission plan. In this type of plan, the salesperson receives all the commission (50% of the total in a co-op transaction) and pays the broker a fixed fee each month or each transaction.

One of the most important factors in selecting an office is the emphasis the broker places on training, tools and systems. After your pre-license training, you will be well versed in the legalities, rules, regulations, and complexities of the real estate profession. However, you will have much to learn about actually listing, showing, selling or negotiating. Therefore, you will need step by step guidance via an office training program and continuing education. The most successful brokers never stray very far from the basics that helped them achieve their initial success. A good training program will help insure your success.

The size of the company is important only in as much as your comfort zone. Many people prefer to work for a large company while others feel more comfortable with a smaller firm. You therefore, should interview both to determine where you prefer to be.

There are other factors that should be considered such as the location of the office in relation to your home and “farm area”. (You probably will be out of the office as much as in, so this is an important consideration. The facilities of the office are also important. What image is projected as a client or customer walks in the door? Do the signs, cards, and letterhead look professional? Do the salespeople appear well dressed and professional? It might be a good idea to meet a few of the staff and other associates before making your decision. Attendance at a sales meeting or training sessions might help you decide. What is the general reputation of this firm? An employing broker might require you to belong to the National Association of Realtors®. By so doing, they have sworn to abide by a very strict code of ethics. Ask questions of the public and other people in the business relating to company integrity and service.
If, after you have made the decision, you feel it was not the correct one, then transfer as soon as possible. Do not procrastinate. It can be expensive (loss of listings, etc.) to change brokers, but if it needs to be done, do it quickly and do not look back. Frequent changes will damage your personal image so choose carefully. Choosing a broker is an important step in pursuing your real estate career. It is a very important that you interview carefully as this could impact your success or failure.




There are many resources available to you when searching for an employing broker. Due to the high caliber of our graduates, and our desire to assist you in this very important decision, you will have numerous opportunities to hear from potential brokers as they present their programs to you during your stay at AREI. In addition, you might consider;
1. Ads under Real Estate Sales and attendance at career nights.
2. Drive the area where you choose to work to determine which companies are active in that area.
3. Ask for broker referrals from other students, your friends and family. AREI has relationships with many employing brokerage firms and can often offer a referral that might match your needs.
4. Plan to interview with at least four or five different brokers, both large and small offices. Ask questions as well as answer questions.




You should plan on visiting a number of brokers during your search for your employing broker. Remember, interview as well as be interviewed. There are a number of areas that you should address during this interview process. A broker’s general response to questions should be followed up with in-depth inquiry. For instance, if a broker indicates that they have “fantastic training” you should ask to see the training schedule. Is it formal or catch as catch can? What are the topics? Ask to see the training manual or course synopsis. Who will be doing the training and could you meet that person or even audit a training session. A few of the questions you might ask are summarized below.

1. Does the firm specialize in a particular type of brokerage? Are you interested in this type of specialization?
2. Is the broker’s office in an area where you want to work?
3. How many offices does the broker have?
4. How many associates does the broker have? How many are in the business less than one year, two years. How many new agents are still around after 2 years and how much are they making?
5. How much support personnel are available to you (secretaries, transaction managers, showing services, closers, telephone answering service, etc.)?
6. Does the broker offer a formal training program? Is there a formal training schedule? Who does the training? Can you audit a training sessions? Can you review the training materials?
7. Is additional training available?
8. Is the broker or sales manager available after business hours and weekends if you need help with a contract?
9. Is the broker a member of the National Association of Realtors?
10. Will you be expected to be a member, and what are the fees involved?
11. What is the commission structure? (a. listing, b. selling, c. company, d. co-op commission)
12. Are regular sales meetings held?
13. Is there a bonus plan? At what point is a bonus or commission increase paid?
14. When do you receive your commission checks? At closings? Monthly, etc.?
15. What type of insurance benefits are offered? (If an associate is an independent contractor, the broker may not pay benefits.) a. hospital, b. life, c. casualty, d. errors-omissions
16. Are the office facilities efficient and modern?
17. Does the broker have an office policy manual, an associate broker contract? Can you receive copies to read at your leisure?
18. What services does the broker offer? a. home warranty program, b. Referral service, c. MLS, d. lending, e. title, f. lead generation, etc.
19. Do you feel you can fit in with the other associates?
20. How many associates are now employed by the broker, and what is the average income of these agents? Does the broker employ part-time agents? What is the success rate (earning) of associates with less than 1 year (and two years) experience?
21. Will you be an employee or an independent contractor? Can you review the independent contractor agreement?
22. What are the initial costs of getting started in the office, and who pays? a. signs, sign riders and business cards, b. local Realtor board dues, c. MLS and computer fees, d. advertising and advertising policy, e. selling aids, listing presentations, scripts..
23. How old is the firm?
24. What is the average price of homes sold?
25. Who will be at my first few closings?
26. What brokerage relationships are allowed (some firms do not allow associates to act as agents, only transaction-brokers, does this fit your personality and goals)?
27. What does this firm offer you to ensure success?
28. What, if any, affiliated business relationships does the firm maintain? Are there allowances for the associate to develop new or additional AfBA’s?

This is only a summary list of the issues that should be addressed during the interview phase. As you proceed through the AREI program you will meet a number of employing brokers. You will be exposed to many different business models and systems. By the end of our program you will be well equipped to proceed to the interview process and confidently identify your broker of choice.

Best wishes for a wonderful, successful real estate career. If I may be of service now or in the future, please do not hesitate to call me personally.

Patrick Armbrust, Director

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