This and future stories will cover the variety of careers available with a real estate license.
After an applicant successfully passes their state real estate test, the question becomes, “where do they want to work?” There are many different choices for new licensees; one can strike out on their own or do as Guy Blanchard did and become part of a team.
Blanchard works at Keller Williams Realty AV in Palmdale and for the past 12 years, since obtaining his license, he has worked as a member of a team. Two years ago he was joined by Hervi Estrada, a then newly licensed agent.
The two agents are affable and outgoing and make a great partnership. Although they are on a team, they have also paired up to promote their own individual business with the hope of someday having their own team.
Prior to becoming agents, Blanchard worked in sales at a car dealership and Estrada worked in sales and construction.
Both men went straight to a team when they received their license because of the advantages a team presented.
“The team gives you an opportunity to learn quickly from someone who has years and years of experience so you don’t have to go through the struggles and mistakes that rookie agents go through sometimes,” said Blanchard who classified rookie mistakes as “not understanding how to go out and get listings and buyers, how to fill out contracts properly or how to just be a professional.”
The other advantages to Estrada and Blanchard’s team include the broker paying for all of their supplies and office and the end result is a higher paycheck. Brokerages charge different fees which can be as simple as $40 a month for a basic webpage or could be up to several hundred dollars a month for office space and advertising fees, so having someone pay these fees can be very advantageous. There are also other tangible benefits as well.
“We have help, someone who can go out and hand out flyers with us if necessary, send us leads, help us where we might need help or if we want to expand they’ll go with us and hand out our flyers with us several hours a week at no charge to us which just gets our business out there and it’s really an advantage I feel,” said Blanchard, “because even though we give up a percentage of our commission, if you sell six deals and get paychecks it’s better than all of your paycheck from three deals so being on a team has advantages.”
Now that they have been in the business for a while, the duo get most of their leads through their own efforts but the broker does still supply leads to them also.
“Most of our business is between ourselves,” said Estrada, “but we do get leads here and there from the broker but we do get everything paid for and always have somebody to back you up.”
The difference between the broker supplied leads and their own personal leads is a higher cut for themselves on their own lead-generated deals. “So really the more work we do on our own, the more of our paycheck we keep,” explained Blanchard.
For new agents, have leads given to them is a huge advantage. The agents still need to call and follow up on the leads and not everyone turns out to be a transaction, but they are not having to pay for the lead generation or go door-to-door looking for clients. This saves new agents, who may not have a lot of resources, both time and money.
“They try not to overwhelm you because then you’re just gonna let stuff fall through the cracks but the better you are at going after the leads and securing the leads, of course there gonna keep giving you more and more,” said Blanchard.
“If we ever have problems, let’s say I’m sick, if you don’t have a team, then what are you going to do? You’re going to give up part of your commission and hope that whoever you give that to takes care of it, where, if I’m not here Herve can take care of it, If Herve’s not here, I’m taking care of it, if neither of us are here, we can call the team and say, ‘look, neither of us can handle this’ and they just go take care of it,” said Blanchard.
“We’re partners in that we work together and we’re also on a team,” said Estrada
Another advantage they have as a Keller Williams agent is the ability to cap quickly. Every brokerage is different, some have flat fees per transaction, others negotiate an ongoing split per transaction. At Keller Williams, agents pay $18,990 individually or $14,990 if they are on a team, through their splits and once that amount is paid off, they are considered to have “capped” and then get to keep 100 percent of their commissions minus the errors and omissions insurance.
“So being on a team plus having your own business, we can get to the cap dollar quicker and the cap dollar is $4000 less, so we can make up that gap by having team leads and since we can cap quickler, less company dollar out of our paycheck,” said Blanchard.
Blanchard recommends new agents try out a team first to get their feet wet. “I would always recommend that a new agent hook up with a team at least for a year or two so they can get experience, get the help that they need and then make a decision,” said Blanchard. “You can always quit a team, if it’s not good for you….nothing’s permanent in this business.
Their best advice for new agents is to put as much effort into their business as they can.
“The thing with real estate is it’s as good of a business as you put into it like anything else, it’s not for the lazy person,” said Blanchard. “If you’re lazy you’ll end up having a real job and real estate will be part time. Lazy agents make a lazy paycheck it’s just that simple.”
Whether on a team or working individually, the business becomes as successful as the agent makes it. Estrada and Blanchard both set their own expectations for their business. Last year the duo handled 60-70 transactions together. They both hope to eventually command their own teams and expand their business to other areas.
“We set goals and if we fall back of those goals we try to catch back up because we both strive to succeed and eventually we might not even live in this valley we might live where real estate is more expensive and we’re going to keep our business here but we might be in different locations so we can better service the people and then put our own team together and get a few agents working with us,” said Blanchard.