If you’ve ever thought about a career in real estate (or you’ve pandemic binge-watched watched a marathon of Million Dollar Listing or Love it or List It), there are a few things you’ll want to know to determine whether it’s the career for you. While a real estate career can be rewarding both financially and personally, it’s not right for everyone.
The real estate industry is really a service and relationships industry. You’re helping clients with what is typically the largest financial transaction of their lives. Most clients haven’t bought or sold many homes, so both the transaction and real estate terminology are new to them. This means that your number one role is to be a coach to guide your client through a smooth transaction. And clients can have all kinds of personalities, so you’ll need to be flexible and understanding. If you’re a “people person,” you’re likely to do well in this industry. But being a bit more introverted is okay too – there are many successful agents who aren’t as outgoing but love to do research for their clients, or are very detail-oriented and meticulous, making them a valuable asset to a transaction.
A great aspect of being a real estate broker is the flexibility. In many firms (like us!), you are able to work from anywhere, make your own schedule and basically be your own boss - but with the support of a team. This can be great for someone who is motivated and organized. However, if you are someone who thrives on structure and wants to be working in an actual office with other team members on a daily basis, be sure the firm that you join provides that environment (we have that too!).
Financially, the real estate industry can be rewarding if you are willing to work hard to build your business. Brokers are typically paid based off sales commission. That commission is earned by successfully closing the sale of a home or property when representing a buyer or seller. The commission, for both the seller's and buyer's broker, is usually paid by the seller from the proceeds of the sale of their property (at a predetermined $ amount or percentage). Industry-standard is that each broker is typically paid 3%. The broker then "splits" that commission with their firm. Most brokerages have a pre-negotiated "split" with each contracted broker. The split is often based on years of experience, average number of transactions per year or some other formula. The brokerage pays insurance and transaction fees for each transaction, which can be taken out of the broker’s commission. Brokerages may also offer a yearly "cap" amount; if a broker reaches the cap amount within the year, the broker can then earn 100% of their commission with no "split" amount due to the brokerage for the remainder of the year.
The average Seattle home price right now according to Zillow.com is $824,666. A 3% commission on that sale is $24,740. At an 80/20 split, that would be around $5,000 to the firm and almost $20,000 to the broker. Most brokers work as independent contractors, meaning that they are responsible to file and pay federal income tax and any other taxes required on each commission payment.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median number of transactions by real estate brokers in 2019 was 12. And Indeed.com lists the average salary for an agent in Washington State as just under $98,000.
One of the most important decisions you can make in your real estate career is what firm you will join. There are so many choices, all with their own sets of benefits and drawbacks.
Fresh Look began in 2016 when founder Antonio (Tony) Lopez realized that brokers had their choice between two different types of firms: a large real estate firm where you have support and training systems that come with a very high price tag or a smaller brokerage with low fees but zero support. You were either paying a lot to be another name in a large pool or left on your own to figure things out with little to no help.
But Tony wanted to create a different kind of real estate company. One that was supportive, collaborative, nimble and FRESH. He wouldn’t settle for being just another option… he wanted to be the best option for both clients and brokers in Washington state, providing training and mentoring, low fees and great technology & marketing.
Today, Fresh Look’s mission is to be the premier investment-minded boutique brokerage in the Pacific Northwest. We currently have 3 branch offices in Bellevue, Federal Way and Tacoma. Over the next few years, Fresh Look will continue our expansion, opening new offices and bringing on the best of the best - helping them achieve even more than they thought they could. We would love to talk to you about joining our growing team!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206.672.4799 to get started!