I wish the process was reversed when I became a Maine Real Estate agent. In my head it should start with an agency and then carry on to the Maine educational process, logistics and checklists that are needed to become a licensed Maine sales agent.
I was smart enough to find the Maine's professional regulation website and then read and follow the instructions to learn what I needed to do to get my Maine real estate license.
My plans and vision was to have a career that allowed me the opportunity to make my own hours and be my "own" boss. And well.. that sounded pretty amazing to me.
What my online research didn't tell me is exactly what I could expect cost wise, the effort it would take and..... that while I was my own boss that I would have many company and obligations that would derail me from being the boss of my own schedule.
I didn't have a full grasp of costs, benefits, and get my questions until after I began to sell real estate.
Why? Partly because I didn't know to ask the questions. And partly because many real estate offices have a model where they want to have as many licensed agents as possible in order to gain every opportunity to gain market share and/or accolades of having a large number of agents in their real estate market.
I also didn't know that all agencies are structured differently. The agency with the most signs doesn't make it the best agency to work for. The largest national franchise agency doesn't mean that it offers the best training. And that sometimes the smallest boutique agencies in the area sell the most homes. Every agency is different in how they market, take care of, coach and train their agents. (Oh.. and some agencies pay their agents to find new agents which is a whole other discussion).
Also keep in mind that each agency has their own agent fees and pay structures. Some agencies make you pay monthly for your desk space, a franchise fee, a flat monthly fee or marketing fees. Then pay wise you must know that each agency pays their agents on a different commission structure. Bottom line... there are many variables.
When choosing a brokerage to work for you can't simply look at the commission percent you receive when you sell a home. You must look at the big picture which includes your commission split - less your yearly brokerage expenses + the value of any benefits like coaching, company marketing and company paid items (like signs which can be $50-150 each).
I knew that being a real estate agent meant that I would be working as an independent contractor but I really didn't know what that would entail. Bottom line here is this meant that I would need to be responsible for all costs involved, taxes, insurance, and the operation time involved in running my own business.
The other piece of the puzzle that I didn't truly know was ......What it would take to be successful! This in itself is a whole discussion and should be customized to the agent. But what you should know here is that there are real estate brokerages that want to train, empower and coach you. You don't have to settle, figure it out on your own, or just be a name on an agency's roster of agents.
Getting a Maine real estate agent license and career started is very doable and can be navigated. BUT... and I say again... I wish I had the chance to chat with an industry leader prior to taking my real estate class and exam.
This where Dwelling in Maine can come in. We can help you achieve the next step of the process by offering a prospective new agent consultation.
I am happy to be a resource in order to help jump start someones's career. And I'm happy to give my time and offer someone an opportunity.
Why? Because, I was young, starting a career with kid, and living paycheck to paycheck...
And while I didn't start with all the answers and tools I needed... I did find a mentor along the way and that person gave me their time and a chance.
Submitted by Victoria Condon. The founder and designated broker of Dwelling in Maine