Questions to Ask in an Interview with a Managing Brokerage

Congratulations! If you are researching interview questions for a managing broker, you are probably very close to fulfilling your dream of becoming a real estate agent. After all, once you have completed your pre-licensing coursework and have passed your state-specific real estate exam, the next major step is determining how to find a managing broker to oversee your work.

Finding a managing broker is like finding a job. 

Well, it’s sort of like finding a job – a job that doesn’t pay a regular salary. 

Finding a brokerage to work for also feels different because both you and the company will benefit if you are a successful agent that closes a lot of sales. Because of that, brokerages offer tools and training for “free” to help their agents succeed. 

During your interview, you need to ask two main questions: 

  • What percentage of my earnings will go to the brokerage? 
  • What tools and training will you provide to help me succeed?

Here are some specific interview questions to ask.

How to Find a Managing Broker

Most brokerages want as many agents as possible to work for their company, so keep that in mind as you talk with the managing broker. Here are some real estate interview questions that will help you determine how to find a managing broker that’s aligned with your career goals.

1. What is the commission split? 

As a real estate agent, you won’t bring home the entire 2-3% commission you earned from overseeing the sale. Instead, you will split that money with your brokerage. How that money is divided is called the commission split.

Commission splits vary from brokerage to brokerage and can be renegotiated over time.

Some brokerages offer 60/40 commission splits, meaning you get to keep 60% of your commission. However, you may also find brokerages requiring that you give half of your earnings to the company. 

Don’t make the mistake of selecting a managing brokerage based entirely on the commission split. 

2. Are there any franchise fees? 

Some franchise real estate brokerages charge a 3% to 8% franchise fee – in addition to the commission split. So, even if you negotiated a 60/40 commission split, the money may be divided three ways: 55% to the real estate agent, 40% to the brokerage, and 5% to the franchise.

3. Are there any monthly desk or office fees?

Some brokerages require agents to pay a monthly desk or office fee. This fee will be collected regardless if you make a sale that month. 

It’s also worth noting that some brokerages ask agents to share front desk responsibilities to cut office expenses. 

Do you need an office? Perhaps not! Then, you might select a brokerage that doesn’t offer this benefit. 

4. Are there any other monthly brokerage-related fees that I need to know?

Your sales funnel will be empty if you are just starting your real estate career. It may take time before you earn your first commission. However, some brokerages may charge you a start-up fee, education fee, and fee to access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). You may also have to pay for Errors and Omissions Insurance. 

These fees may not be deal breakers. However, it may be a hardship for you if you must pay these expenses before you earn a commission check.

5. Do you offer a commission cap? 

A commission cap sounds like it might be a bad thing. But a commission cap benefits the real estate agent. It is the maximum amount of your commission that your brokerage will keep each year. 

For example, if the “cap” is $12,000 but you generate $125,000 in gross commission, you will net $113,000. 

But, if a commission cap is not offered, you would net $75,000 on a $125,000 year (based on a 60/40 split). So, a commission cap is a good thing!

6. What other expenses can I expect if I work for your brokerage?

We hope we aren’t overwhelmed by all the money required to get started in real estate. But we are just trying to give you an accurate picture of what it may be like if you select a brokerage that requires you to pay for your supplies.

Ask if the brokerage pays for lockboxes, Ekeys, yard signs, and business cards. You or the brokerage must also pay for your National Association of Realtors membership. 

Here are other supplies and services your brokerage may or may not provide:

  • Technology support 
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
  • Marketing resources, such as a website page
  • Meeting space 
  • Clerical or administrative support
  • Real estate photographer
  • Closing coordinator

7. Who will give me the support and help I need? When are they available?

No matter how well you did on your real estate pre-licensing coursework, you will have questions as you enter the field. That’s why beginning real estate agents are required to have managing brokers. 

Find out who will be available to answer your questions – and when they are available. After all, real estate is a time-sensitive profession. Your clients will be frustrated with you if they miss out on a deal because you are waiting to hear back from your managing broker.

Other Questions to Consider

You can ask about other things, such as mentor programs or questions about the company culture. Consider asking for the names and contact info of a few other agents working for the brokerage and see what they have to say about the company.

Some brokerages offer continuing education courses for relicensing. While this sounds like a nice perk, remember that Colibri Real Estate offers affordable CE courses covering many topics. 

Good luck with finding a managing broker! Check out Colibri Real Estate’s Career Hub for helpful, professional resources.