6 Steps to Finding a Real Estate Broker in Virginia
Being a Virginia real estate agent can be a very rewarding, liberating career, but success isn’t guaranteed. One decision that can point your career path in the right direction is who you choose to be your broker.
Real estate brokers can offer little more than a way to get an active salesperson license or they can provide invaluable guidance that shapes your career. It all rides on choosing the right brokerage. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing just that.
1. Start Researching Brokerages Early
Technically, you don’t have to have a broker lined up until you submit a license application after passing the exam. Section 11 of the application asks if you’re applying for active license status with a licensed real estate firm or sole proprietor. You’ll have a year to apply after passing the exam, but it pays to plan ahead and start researching brokers early.
As soon as you sign up for the required 60-hour pre-license education courses it’s a good idea to start looking up local brokers. This will give you time to complete the following steps and get an active license as soon as possible.
2. Make Sure the Broker is Licensed in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, a real estate firm or sole proprietorship must have a principal broker that’s licensed and in good standing with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). You’ll need to provide the broker’s license number on the salesperson application. The Virginia DPOR has a license lookup tool that can be used to verify a broker’s license status.
The license requirement applies to virtual brokers as well. Even though the brokerage is based online it must be licensed to operate in Virginia.
3. Become Familiar With the Production and Reputation of Local Virginia Brokers
All eligible brokers are licensed, but they aren’t created equal in terms of production and reputation. In a referral-based industry like real estate reputation is critical. You can be the best real estate agent in the world, but if your broker has a bad reputation it can cost you business.
Production is an indicator of a broker’s reputation. It can also affect an agent’s potential for generating leads. The more listings a broker can bring in the more opportunities agents have to hold open houses and field calls from interested buyers. Having a lot of “For Sale” signs out in the market also brings in more sellers.
But how do you know which brokers sell the most? Real Trends collects data on brokerage sales volume every year and creates a list of the top producers. Another factor is how many listings per agent the brokerage has each year. This will tell you whether the brokerage has a few top producers or most of the agents are selling homes.
4. Line Up Broker Interviews
All your research should result in a short list of top broker picks. These are the brokers you’ll want to get to know better. Interviews are an important part of the process that isn’t nearly as stressful as it sounds. In most cases, the brokerage will be trying to impress you as much as you’re trying to impress them.
Remember, you’re interviewing with a salesperson. They’ll give you a good pitch. It’s up to you to ask the right questions and get the facts that will make it easier to decide which broker is the best pick.
Things to Ask About During the Interview:
- Commission Splits
- Possible Fees
- Office Support
- Training and Education
- Lead Generation Opportunities
- Marketing Support
Brokers should be upfront about all of the terms they offer new agents and provide specifics. Proceed with caution if a broker is vague or seems to withhold information.
5. Get an Agreement in Writing
You’ve gone on several interviews, hashed out the details and know which broker you want to work with as you launch your new career. Congrats! Now it’s time to sign a contract that spells out the terms. Read the contract thoroughly to make sure all the terms are what you discussed during the interview. If anything is unclear get answers before you sign.
6. Get the Broker’s Information for the Salesperson License Application
It’s time to get an active real estate license! In addition to the broker’s license number you’ll need to supply the brokerage’s:
- Mailing address
- Physical address (if different than mailing address)
- Contact numbers
- Email address
The firm or sole proprietor’s Virginia real estate number and name will also need to be included in the application. Once the application is processed an active real estate license will be issued.
Choosing a Virginia brokerage is one of the first big decisions of your real estate career. There’s a lot to consider, but if you take your time and do your homework you’re sure to find a broker that will help you meet your real estate career goals.