5 Must Ask Questions When Choosing a Real Estate Brokerage

Quick Links: Questions to Ask Any Broker

You may feel very overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the right real estate brokerage in Calgary for you. With the plethora of options to an agent in Calgary, it can be hard to know what you need to help you succeed in this business. Not all brokerages are created equal from what they offer to the training they provide, and how can they be. Every brokerage in Calgary is unique and different and fits the needs of those agents that are in them. If you find yourself as a brand new Realtor®, or are a seasoned agent looking to make a change in your business, I encourage you to read on. Below you will learn what types of brokerages there are in hopes of finding what is right for you!

First off, we need to discuss the various types of brokerages. There are two types of brokerages that you can find in Calgary. The first is the desk fee model, where you will be charged a monthly fee, a deal or transaction fee. You are basically charged for everything you use in the office, including training, calls, conveyancing etc. 

The second model you will find is a commission split model. This is where the brokerage takes a percentage of your commission. In doing so, they are sharing in the success of your business. This model typically has more support, training and culture built into that model. Usually, you can see anywhere from 10%-50% being taken through this model.

To make it even more complicated, you can find models that are a combination of these two, as well. There are now models that are more like a multi-level business where you are rewarded for bringing other agents into the brokerage. If you look hard enough, you could find employee models where there is a salary involved. There is also the 'Team' model that typically is inside a desk fee model brokerage. In this model, you usually have to pay fees to the brokerage and franchise PLUS the splits to the team leader.

As we already stated, not every model is created equal. They are all very different and serve different purposes in our industry. There isn't a right or wrong way to do real estate, so you need to know what is best for you and your goals. 

Many of these brokerages will have various tools, training and services to attract agents and help them succeed. What's most important is for you to know what you are needing from your brokerage. What parts of the business are genuinely in your gifting and unique ability, and where do you need help? Understanding yourself and your strengths and weaknesses will be life-changing for you, your family and your business.

Unique Ability, by definition, is the essence of what you love to do and do best. It’s your own set of natural talents and the passion that fuels you to contribute in the ways that most motivate you. When articulated, it describes the “you” that makes you who you are. 

By strengthening the areas where we have the possibility of achieving extraordinary results, it allows us the greatest opportunity for success. It also gives us the freedom to determine our most satisfying path in life. - Dan Sullivan

Something we were recently made aware of is the 4 agent archetypes. In this diagram, you can see there are 4 different types of agents and businesses they can have. 

Chamberlain Real Estate Groups 4 Agent Archetypes

Many agents start out in the 'Prospector' archetype where they are relying on cold calling, door knocking, open houses etc. to initially build their business. A Prospector should implement these essential practices and skills:

  • A daily prospecting habit and routine
  • Phone skills and scripts for appointment setting
  • Organization for follow up

What we have seen is that agents typically want to move entirely into the 'Networker' archetype. Usually, they want to move away from the prospecting of cold leads and work with their own Sphere of Influence (otherwise known as SOI, Circle of Influence/COI or Sphere). SOI is typically made up of their past clients and people that know and trust them, which can create a more enjoyable business for some. What many agents quickly learn when making the jump to the Networker archetype from a Prospector, is they still need to have daily prospecting as part of their business. This is found to be an effective strategy to offset the lack of consistent transactions from their SOI.

As you move through to the bottom half of the agent archetype, you will see the 'Converter.' This is an area that the majority of teams or commission split brokerages will want you to be in. Being a Converter is a great place to be as an agent because you need to have warm or qualified individuals coming to you through many mediums of marketing. These teams or brokerages will say they have leads for you to work with, but the reality is, like brokerages, not all leads or lead sources are created equal.

We have found that there are considerable warmer ways to prospect and convert leads as well as market to attract qualified clients to our agents. 

To be successful in any of these quadrants, you will need training and education to thrive. Taking the real estate course to obtain your licence and attending a few extra classes is not going to sufficient to truly understand how to succeed in real estate. 

At the Chamberlain Real Estate Group, we focus on this simple formula for training and mentoring;

  • Watch Me
  • Watch You
  • Go Do

Through our effective mentoring and onboarding process, we aim for our new agents to have years of experience in their first 6-12 months of their real estate career. 

As you talk to brokerages in Calgary and uncover what each has to offer, there are a few key metrics you should look for and ask the broker about.

  1. Know the number of deals per agent / per year in their office 
  2. What is their listed to sold ratio
  3. How many homes total do they sell total over the last 6 months
  4. Average percentage of company generated deals agents do in a year
  5. Average number of deals completed by agents in their first 12 months

For example, for us, these answers would currently be:

  1. In 2019 we had an average of 24.5 deals per agent
  2. Jan to Aug 2019 was 74% of our listings listed sold. (Some homes are still active at the time of this publishing)
  3. We helped a family move every 40 hours (All sales in 2019 - See the past number of years sales here:https://www.chamberlaingroup.ca/calgary-real-estate-sales-history
  4. Average of 71% of all agents deals come from company generated sources (Q1-Q3 2019)
  5. 20 deals in their first 12 months. 

If you are looking to make a change in the brokerage you work with, or get into real estate as an agent, you need to get into the details. Ask the hard questions that matter and understand how the brokerage is set up to help you succeed. 

If you would like to set up a time to discuss how our brokerage works, simply reach out to us. We would love to get to know you, what makes you unique, the dreams and goals you have and see if we could be the right fit for each other.

Posted by Jared Chamberlain on


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I am interested in starting as a real estate agent. I still have to take my real estate license but found your information really helpful. I would love to set up a meeting to chat with someone about what this journey looks like moving forward for someone new to the industry.

Posted by Jyoti Grewal on Monday, April 4th, 2022 at 11:41am

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