Starting off your real estate career?
Here are 10 pointers to wisely selecting a Manhattan based real estate firm:
Whether you make this a long term career or only practice it for a year or two, your success during this time depends very much on choosing the right place to plant your seeds. Great seeds in a lousy field will have a hard time growing and sometime won’t even grow fruit; not because they couldn’t, but because there was no chance for them to make it in the wrong conditions where they were planted. Mind you, if a challenged seed is planted in a challenged environment; the seed is doomed.
So, as we all believe that we bring seeds of greatness to this field; I hope the many questions below will help you in making a solid choice of where to launch your career. Be sure that you choose to plant those seeds in the right environment and invest the time, effort and opportunity cost in a company that will provide you with the tools and environment you need for healthiest growth of the fruits of your labor.
1. Reputation: From the very first day, for good or for bad, you carry the firm’s name and reputation even more than you do your own. This is critical especially when it is not a favorable reputation. Search the firm you are considering online: What are the core values of the company? Do the reviews you find online (Google, Yelp, BBB etc.) reflect these values? Ask competitors within the industry what they think of that firm (Although, this type of advice should always be taken with a grain of salt… Consider asking about a few firms together to gauge the quality of the advice) Ask friends in the industry or people who have recently had a real estate transaction if they know of the firm.
2. Leadership: Is there any? How many layers are there between agents and management? How long has the company been around and who will you be reporting to? How accessible is senior management for support or the resolution of challenges?
3. Traffic: Leads are the life-line of any agent’s success. How are leads generated and distributed? Search online as if you were a client. See where the firm ranks for key NYC real estate terms. Client care less about brand and more about information and ease of access to apartments they want to view. If you are thinking of doing sales; type into Google: “NYC apartments for Sale”. Do the same for Rentals. Leads and online traffic are, and always will be, the life-line of your business.
4. Startup and operating cost: Know exactly what costs you will have to incur: Desk fees, startup fees, business cards, headshot, membership dues, advertising and more. What is free / provided by the firm and what is subsidized etc.? Is there any kind of draw system for expenses? Does the firm offer a refund of the real estate course?
5. Training: How is it conducted, by whom and for how long? What kind of ongoing training is provided? Are their any training tools that you can access remotely to advance your learning from home? What additional information is used for training? Is training mandatory?
6. Agent to Company Ratio: How many agents are working in the company, in how many offices and managed by how many staff members? Does anybody care if you show up or produce? Who will be answering your questions and how accessible are they to you?
7. Physical space: Does every agent have a desk? What does the physical environment feel like? Will you be motivated and productive working there? How will you feel bringing a client into your office? What image will you be associated with in the eyes of your clients?
8. Split structure: This is a tricky one. Keep this idea in mind: The more split you keep, the less you are paying for. The less you pay for, the less can be provided to you. The less provided to you, the lower your chance of producing results. No result – what are you splitting… this can be a “catch 22”. Slits need to be fair and profitable for both sides of a partnership otherwise it will be a short-lived partnership.
9. Culture: Talking the talk is nice, walking the walk takes effort. This is another tricky one to assess because it is harder to measure. The best way is to linger a bit near or in the office you are checking out. What vibe do you get, how many people smile at you, acknowledge you, ask you if you are being helped etc. Speak to some of the agents and look for what is not said but rather felt. You’ll know.
10. Growth opportunity: Can the company support your growth? What growth opportunities are available for agents as they wish to progress? What examples are there of agents who have grown within the firm?
Take the time to really consider your options and meet people in person. This is a very important decision and you do not want to make a wrong choice. Yes, you can move companies relatively easily but the opportunity cost is very high and the enthusiasm you have as a new agent will be hard to duplicate if you find yourself in need of switching companies.
I wish you great success on this exciting journey which you are about to embark on,
All the best,
I have been in Manhattan real estate brokerage for over 15 years; 12 of which I spent hiring, training and managing well over 1000 agents. I hope you found the information above helpful and that you take this decision seriously. Unfortunately, I have seen many people who had great potential but did not make it in the industry only because they started with the wrong company. Though Anchor Associates is not the only great choice out there, there are too many companies who do not provide for a healthy growth environment and whose training and support fall short of what is necessary for long term success. If you would like to find out how we do what we do at Anchor Associates and what has lead to our 11 year track record of success, please follow the link to our site, watch some of the agent’s videos, fill out the contact form (you can request a one-on-one meeting with me in the comments section) on our careers page or email me directly.
President and Founder