When you’re new to your career in real estate, finding the right brokerage is one of the most important factors in determining your future success.
With so many brokerages and local offices to choose from in Chicago, it’s important to do your homework and put in some time to find the place that will be the right fit for you — and the career you want to build.
When you join a brokerage, you’re choosing a professional “home base” — one where you can start building relationships, learning the ropes, and growing your business. With a decision this big, it can be hard to know just where to start your search. What factors should you look at in order to compare different real estate brokerages? What steps can you take to really find the one that will be the best match for your style and personal goals?
Everyone is different, and launching a real estate business is certainly not a “one size fits all” proposition. In my view, finding the right brokerage really comes down to evaluating three major components:
- Training and coaching
- Access to management and support
- Office culture
These were the things that mattered to me when I was first looking for my Chicagoland real estate brokerage, and I think they’re a great starting point for anyone new to the business.
Training and Coaching
People that make a long-term, successful career in real estate focus on acquiring as much knowledge as possible, and then applying that knowledge in creative ways. Because of this, I wanted a brokerage with a strong, ongoing training program — both on the corporate level, and in individual offices.
When you get your real estate license and start your career here in Illinois, most brokerages will offer corporate-level training opportunities, usually in the form of a program that you can take on a daily or weekly basis. These corporate programs are great for building a base of knowledge in the industry, and helping you venture into your career with more confidence. But what happens when this program ends, and you go back to your office?
Some brokerages provide very little emphasis on ongoing training at the office level. With this set-up, you’re left to sink or swim, without anyone looking out for your best interests.
Baird & Warner proudly offers industry-leading training, coaching, and mentoring for agents at every stage of their careers, including new skills training; special speakers and seminars; and one-on-one coaching and support to help you move forward in the industry with confidence.
We invest in our new brokers from day one here at Baird & Warner Lincoln Park, providing a multi-disciplinary training experience backed by ongoing coaching and personal mentorship. From learning all about Baird & Warner’s innovative systems, processes, and technology, to honing your skills and refining your business model, we believe that it’s essential to continue the learning process so that you can stay on top of the ever-evolving world of real estate.
Management and Support
You have the drive and the motivation, now who is there to help give you the support and mentorship you need to reach your biggest personal goals?
A key part of finding the right local brokerage for you may come down to finding the management and support staff who can help you excel. Many brokers who are new to the business thrive in more collaborative environments, with designated mentors they can turn to whenever they need help or have questions, and administrative support staff that can help make the entire process end-to-end easier. Some brokerages delegate coaching and mentoring to other brokers in the office, but here at Baird & Warner Lincoln Park, we believe it is our responsibility to provide that ongoing support as an office.
We know that a strong support team is essential to keep the flow of business moving. Our office has a full-time management staff of three to help give our brokers unrivaled support, guidance, and mentorship, including Assistant Manager Negeen Masghati and Sales Support Manager Diana Duvall.
Our incredible support staff includes full-time administrators who are on hand to assist with listing management, marketing production, closing logistics, and so much more. In addition, Baird & Warner agents have access to in-house services from Key Mortgage and Baird & Warner Title, making things more efficient and convenient for brokers and their clients, at every step of the way.
At Baird & Warner, we emphasize training and coaching, which means that as a Designated Managing Broker, my full-time focus is on equipping brokers with the tools, information, and education they need to feel confident in all aspects of launching a real estate business. Finding the right management to help guide your real estate career is incredibly important. As you evaluate different offices and brokerages, I encourage you to interview multiple Managing Brokers and Assistant Managers. Look for mentors who will be a good match for your needs and goals. Are they responsive and accessible? Do they have a teaching style that works for you? What is their training schedule? Are they someone you trust to provide long-term mentorship and support?
One of the most important questions to ask about any brokerage is simple: Is this a place where you would want to work? Is this an environment that will help truly drive your success for years to come?
As you search Chicagoland for different options, look for offices that seem like the right match for where you are right now — and where you’d like to go in the future. Be sure to invest some time in really getting to know the workplace. A brokerage may look incredible on paper, but you may learn more by getting to know people who work at a local office, who can give you a better sense of what it’s like on the ground.
As you research brokerages and offices, I encourage you to reach out to people who have been in your shoes. Find three people who have joined the office recently, and ask them what their experience has been thus far. This can be a great way to get a sense of the office’s culture, structure, and energy. Make time to tour offices, and see what other ways you can get a feel for the experience of working there — like looking over marketing materials and resources, sitting in on a training session, or meeting with individual agents.
Want to Get to Know Baird & Warner Lincoln Park?
As Designated Managing Broker of Baird & Warner’s Lincoln Park office, I take pride in helping to create and maintain an office culture that I can be proud of. When I was first looking for a brokerage, I wanted a strong, ongoing training program; a culture that was high-energy and collaborative; and a brand with a reputation for integrity that brought me credibility in the market.
Baird & Warner was the right choice for me. And it has proven to be a great fit for the hundreds of agents who have built thriving, sustainable businesses as part of our Lincoln Park office over the years.
Want to keep the conversation going? I always welcome the opportunity to discuss your real estate career. Whether you are considering a career change or looking for a new partner in your existing business, I truly look forward to connecting.