Selling real estate is a difficult career, so teaming up with a company that offers top-notch training vastly increases the chance of a new agent succeeding. Three realty companies in particular are known for their programs and dedication to investing in their agents' success.
Real Estate Career Stats and Facts
As of 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were over 440,000 real estate brokers and salespeople in the United States. Their median pay was $47,880 per year or $23.02 per hour. The pay distribution, however, is broad. Top agents regularly earn in excess of $200,000 per year. The lowest-paid agents, by contrast, work 40 hours per week or more to make under $20,000, effectively earning minimum wage or less if you break down their pay to an hourly rate.
For many new agents, the most difficult part of the job is not passing the state exam, learning the myriad of paperwork that must be completed in a real estate closing or dealing with mortgage lenders and title companies. The most challenging aspect is finding clients. Agents with broad social networks or expansive warm markets have an easier road, but the fact remains that anyone in real estate sales, regardless of skills or expertise, needs clients to make money.
Consequently, the best agent training programs focus on marketing and procuring business. Other characteristics to look for when seeking a place to hang a new real estate license include training on local market trends, access to the latest technology and access to a broker who is accessible if a new agent runs into problems in the field.
The world's largest real estate franchise by agent count, Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams offers a training program that has been recognized in the industry as second to none. Its seven-week BOLD program pairs new salespeople with experienced agents and walks them through real-world situations, such as sales calls and closings. New agents learn marketing techniques and how to position themselves as real estate experts in their local communities. They are divided into groups of 10 agents and expected to hold each other accountable for meeting personal expectations.
The average agent who completes the BOLD program closes 12 deals per year and earns $70,000 in commissions, over 40% more than the average real estate agent earns nationwide.
Weichert's training philosophy centers around seeing potential clients as people first and customers second. This mindset enables agents to connect with people on a more personal level and gain a deeper understanding of their needs and wants. The company's founder, Jim Weichert, started as a real estate salesperson himself, and the training program is infused with his mantra that "people buy people before they buy products and services."
Training at Weichert, which was founded in 1969 and offers a range of real estate-related services, is made up of a mix of classroom and online learning. The Morris Plains, New Jersey-headquartered company is big on team-building: Established agents are expected to offer their knowledge and expertise to new team members to help ensure that they also become successful.
One of the scariest aspects of starting a real estate career is working on commission only. It takes most agents two to three months to close their first sale. Unless they maintain another job on the side, they go without a paycheck during that time.
Unless they work for Redfin. In 2014, the Seattle-based, publicly traded company announced its Redfin Agent Development (RAD) program, an 18-month apprenticeship that teaches new agents the business through classroom learning, role-playing and on-the-job training — and pays them salary and benefits. In other words, they are considered full-time employees while they train. Their responsibilities gradually increase during the program, and their earnings are augmented with commissions and bonuses when they begin closing sales.
The Bottom Line
Keller Williams, Weichert and Redfin all provide career support and training to new agents, eschewing the traditional sink-or-swim model that characterizes the real estate industry. Which company has the best training depends on the agent's experience level, the type of guidance that he needs — and, of course, the sort of agent he wants to be.