Question about being a buyer agent and commissions

11 Replies

Hi all, 

So I've made the move to purchase a class and will be looking to get my licenses! Super excited about this. Anyways, currently I have a full time job that pays me pretty well. I'm becoming a real estate agent to learn more about the market and for my own investing purposes, however I do have a quick question.

Let's say for example I have a few rich uncles (example) or friends that are looking to buy houses. I would like to help them find a good property and then reach out to the listing agent and hopefully earn a commission off the sale. From what I understand, I would need to be apart of a broker and they will take a cut which is fine, but since I won't be buying and selling actively, how can I approach this without having to pay heavy desk fees, but still earn a commission? I don't mind paying a small monthly fee for being apart of a brokerage, but most require you to be full time and super active or pay heavy desk fees.

Thanks all!!

Hey there @Jason Chan and welcome!  I hope your quest for a California RE license works out well.

So you have wealthy uncles - do any of them happen to have a real estate broker license?  They might let you put your license under their shingle rent-free.  :v

Each brokerage varies with regard to how they make their nut from real estate agents.  But do keep this in mind, especially in California: a productive agent is worth his weight in gold to a broker.  While you are doing your schooling for licensure, get to know brokers.  And when you are interviewing, keep yourself in the driver's seat.  Be very choosy about who you decide to run with.

My general advice to a new agent choosing a broker is to go with either a small boutique firm, or a large corporate one - each depending on your needs and taste.  Small brokers will be able to give you individualized attention, while large firms have substantial training programs as well as brand recognition.  In each case, ask plenty of questions and make sure you go in with a well-grounded understanding of their expectations, up to and including fees and commissions and what not.

Good luck to you!

Hey @Michael Medinger , thanks for the response! Yeah I understand the brokerage part. I was just wondering on the commission side when it comes to doing only a few deals for buying properties.

My 02 cents as a newly licensed agent that just went through this decision making process is to go with a big brand that has systems and a training program with paid mentor/coaches. I have known some friends that went to small boutique brokerages that promised individual attention but it isn't happening as the broker and established agents are too busy on their own deals to guide a newby.

Join a successful team as a buyer's agent.  There are plenty in the bay area.  Doesn't matter if it's a boutique or a large brokerage.  A good team leader will provide all the training you need.  You'll probably get a better split at a smaller operation.  Good luck! 

Jason, here's what you do to maximize your California BRE [Bureau of Real Estate] license: transfer your license to a flat fee broker such as the broker I work with.  No desk monthly splits.  If you don't yet know how to actually BE a real estate agent, you align yourself with an experienced real estate agent at my company, who will take half the commission generated and give you the other half.  You join a realtor board and steep yourself in their training--which is the best--until such time as you feel comfortable taking a transaction from start to finish in order to earn 100% of the commission generated. 

If you have buyers, there's also loan origination commission to be made.  In order to be paid, you must obtain an NMLS [Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System] license.

With a BRE and NMLS license, you can both list/sell real estate AND originate loans.  If you don't want to learn the nuts and bolts of originating loans, you align yourself with an experienced loan originator at my company.

And that, my friend, is how you make the most money in California.  Contact me off-board for more details.

Google flat fee brokerages in your area, also talk to your teacher when you take the courses about your goals and see if they know of any flat fee brokers.

@Jason Chan ,

Real estate commissions have evolved, and while the old way still exists, there are many many options available to you now.

First off, the licensing coursework really only exists to teach you how to pass the licensing test. I learned next to nothing about real estate through my coursework, except outdated ways to measure properties and a boatload of information I will literally never use again. I think the whole course needs to be overhauled, but that's a topic for another thread.

If you are looking for education, then a larger, nationwide brokerage may be a better choice. I initially hung my license with a monthly fee/flat charge per sale broker, and am now part of a boutique team within a larger firm. We have a couple of options - a monthly fee and lower per-sale charge for higher volume agents, or no monthly fee and a larger per sale charge for lower volume agents.

There are tons of options available, and you should just keep talking to agencies until you find one that fits what you are looking for.

Yes, some agencies will want you as a full time agent, but others are fine to let you work part time.

Thanks everyone for all the valuable insights and advice. Love biggerpockets!!! :D Did anyone start off with a bigger agency like Keller Williams? How was the experience starting off there? 

I PMed you about my experience 

Originally posted by @Jason Chan :

Thanks everyone for all the valuable insights and advice. Love biggerpockets!!! :D Did anyone start off with a bigger agency like Keller Williams? How was the. experience starting off there? 

After looking around I went with KW.  They have exceptional training and support for new agents and commissions are capped.   The fees and splits seem expensive before you hit the cap but after you do you keep 100% so high performers do really well there.  I suspect it would not be very hard to cap quickly in the Bay Area.  

@Joe Bertolino thanks! I'm def. considering KW as well. I read through a lot of resources, but never really understood their cap and commission system. I'll look more into it. Do they help with marketing materials for new agents?

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here