How to choose a broker

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Advice for Choosing a Real Estate Broker

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Too many new real estate agents think a real estate broker choice is primarily based on commission splits. It’s not all about the split, as the final in-your-pocket income has to do with many variable services provided by brokers.

First, remember that you’re an independent contractor and own your own business. You may have to hang your shingle with a broker, but it’s your business and your success is up to you. However, the brokerage you choose can make a major difference in your lifestyle.

It’s Not All About the Agent-Broker Split

New agents shouldn’t focus too much on the commission split aspect when choosing a real estate broker. There are so many services that are available from brokers and they may be things that you really need to get your start in the business. The end income result can be more in your pocket with a lower split depending on leads provided and service fees.

In today’s Internet-dominated world, you’re in a bit of a dilemma. There’s something to be said for choosing a broker who is going to give you good exposure or a segment on their brokerage website. But, now the longer you stay, if it’s working for you, the more dependent you become on it. Even if you are offered a site, you really should be building your own that you can take with you as well.

Don’t assume that you’ll always be with that brokerage. In fact, the odds are that you will not. Just always remember that it’s your business.

Determine Your Expenses

Before you can accurately compare the service offerings and commission splits of two real estate brokerages, you first should know your income needs based on personal expenses and projected new real estate agent business expenses.

Using the link to the free spreadsheet, get an idea of what you’ll need to survive and move your business forward. Then you have the knowledge to make better brokerage comparisons.

Is the broker going to give you some print ad space in regular large brokerage newspaper and homes magazine ads? They may be contracted for large ads and you can get some of that space, especially valuable for your listings when you get some. Print advertising is expensive.

Compare Broker Lead Referrals

Using the income funnel approach and the spreadsheet in the link, you can ask real estate brokers how you’ll receive leads and prospects. What are their projections for floor time leads, phone leads on up-time, website leads, etc? Use these estimates to fill in your funnel sheet and see what income will come out the bottom.

As you’ll see, a 50/50 split in one place might be better than a 60/40 split in another based on the prospect leads you’ll be getting.

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Don’t Forget Incidental and Office Expenses

Even some of the traditional real estate brokerages are now beginning to charge for things like copies and certain phone services. That’s because they’re having a harder time with profitability in today’s market. Make sure you factor in what they’re going to charge you for those items as well as Errors and Omissions Insurance and any other per-transaction charges.

You may work with a more virtual oriented brokerage, doing almost all of your office work at home. You may get fewer services, but you may get a better commission split as well.

Mentoring and Training

Most new agents definitely need training in contracts, negotiating and procedures that are predominant in their market area. However, when it comes to sales/marketing training or motivational things, your needs can be quite different than those of the next person.

Generally, mentoring comes with a cost. It could be a temporary lower split or even a per-transaction charge or percentage. Determine your needs in this area and make your decision with this in mind. The most important thing to remember is that you are an independent contractor and running your own business. At any time you could decide to move your license for any reason, and you’ll want to have your own business presence on the Internet and your own marketing in place. So, never just accept broker marketing and do nothing else.


Vision Realty Centers

At Vision Realty Centers we offer top quality training, support, and technology while having some of the best agent contract costs in the industry. Come talk to our broker and see for yourself why joining Vision is right for you.

  • 877-787-6093
  • [email protected]
  • 33137 schoolcraft rd. Livonia MI, 48150

Vision Realty Centers

33137 schoolcraft rd.
Livonia, MI 48150

Phone : 877-787-6093

Michigan Homes Realty Group

200 E Big Beaver Rd Suite 154,
Troy,, MI 48083

Phone : 248-457-4572


423 S Washington Ave.

Phone : 2482883500

Keller Williams Lakeside

45609 Village Blvd.
Shelby Township, MI 48315

Phone : 586.532.0200

Hinton Real Estate Group

36 North Washington Street
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Phone : 734-480-8650

Realty Concierge Group

420 W. Main St.
Brighton, MI 48116

Phone : 800.417.0117

Bittinger Team, Realtors

5736 N Canton Center Road
Canton, MI 48187

Phone : 7342550222

Community Choice Realty

261 E Maple Rd
Birmingham, MI 48009

Phone : 248-729-0011 broker cell: 248-318-2064

New Michigan Realty

850 Stephenson Highway, Troy, MI, USA
Troy, MI 48083

Phone : 8446396424

Coldwell Banker Professionals

1122 South Lapeer Road
Lapeer, MI 48446

Phone : (810) 664-1811


637 E. Big Beaver Rd
troy, MI 48083

Phone : 5864805555

RE/MAX Select

1320 W. Hill Road
Flint, MI 48507

Phone : 810-238-8888

Berkshire Hathaway HS HWWB

133 W. Main Street
Northville, MI 48167

Phone : +12483051500

Market Elite Inc.

43260 Garfield Road, Suite 250
Clinton Twp, MI 48038

Phone : 5862263200

Real Estate One

38705 Seven Mile Road, Suite 150
Livonia, MI 48152

Phone : 7342375500

Realteam Real Estate

30825 Greenfield Rd
Southfield, MI 48076

Phone : 5866154343

EXIT Realty Select Partners

2337 Jolly Road
Okemos, MI 48864

Phone : 517-349-3948

Rayburn Real Estate

4229 Corunna Rd
Flint, MI 48532

Phone : 810-620-7999

Showtime Realty


Phone : 5862624775

Dwellings by Rudy & Hall

487 Forest
Plymouth, MI 48170

Phone : 844-393-5564

Moving the Mitten Real Estate

337 MAIN
Belleville, MI 48111

Phone : 734-777-9094

Sun Wave Realty

39111 W Six Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48152

Phone : (734) 437 0180

Tremaine Real Estate

512 East Grand Blanc Road
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

Phone : 810-579-4663

Expert Realty Solutions

901 Tower Dr.
Troy, MI 48089

Phone : 248-983-1300

The Signature Group Realty

23420 Ford Road
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127

Phone : 313-565-0000

Keller Williams Somerset

901 Wilshire, Ste 125
Troy, MI 48084

Phone : 248-649-7200


47699 Van Dyke
Shelby Township, MI 48317

Phone : 586-598-5988


645 W. Grand River
Howell, MI 48843

Phone : 8102277387

New Century Realtors

755 W. Big Beaver #2020
Troy, MI 48084

Phone : 248-680-9191


3310 W. Big Beaver Suite 105
Troy, MI 48084

Phone : 2488905504

KW Professionals

789 W. Ann Arbor Tr
Plymouth, MI 48170

Phone : 734-459-4700

eXp Realty – Trenton, MI Branch

3277 West Rd
Trenton, MI 48183

Phone : 734-322-3302

BHHS Michigan Real Estate

536 Perry Road
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

Phone : (810) 695-1990

Century 21 Today

28544 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Phone : 248 855 2000

eXp Realty LLC-Troy Branch

101 W Big Beaver Rd, Troy, MI, USA
Troy, MI 48084

Phone : 248-781-2156

NextHome All Pro Realty

332 East Main St
Northville, MI 48167

Phone : 248-308-3803

Real Estate Market Center

1977 E Wattles Rd.
Troy, MI 48085

Phone : 12488607273

Prime Real Estate Agency

3499 S. Linden Rd.
Flint, MI 48507

Phone : 810-820-4124

Keller Williams Legacy

22371 W. Village Dr.
Dearborn, MI 48124

Phone : 3137520000

Coldwell Banker Preferred

44644 Ann Arbor Rd.
Plymouth, MI 48170

Phone : 734-459-6000

RE/MAX Dream Properties

138 maincentre
northville, MI 48167

Phone : 248-374-7700

KW Showcase Realty

2730 Union Lake Road
Commerce, MI 48382

Phone : 248-406-2926

Tremaine Real Living – Fenton

1032 N. Leroy St.
Fenton, MI 48430

Phone : 8107504663

Weichert Realtors Select 1


Phone : 313-455-5550

Key Realty

745 S. Monroe
Monroe, MI 48161

Phone : 7346935696

American Associates, Inc

1453 N. Elms Rd.
Flint, MI 48532

Phone : 810-733-3435

Clients First, Realtors

44205 Ford Rd
Canton, MI 48187

Phone : 734-981-2900

Keller Williams Central

35427 Dodge Park
Sterling Heights, MI 48312

Phone : 586-979-4200

3DX Real Estate

42705 Grand River Ave, Suite 201
Novi, MI 48375

Phone : 888-304-1447

Vylla Home

9440 Elizabeth Lake Road
White Lake, MI 48386

Phone : 248-366-1100 x 701

CENTURY 21 Curran & Oberski

25636 Ford Rd.
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127

Phone : 313-274-7200

EXP Realty Michigan

40020 W 12 Mile Rd
Novi, MI 48377

Phone : 313-718-5000

Bynum Ward & Associates

2474 Orchard Lake Road
Sylvan Lake, MI 48320

Phone : (800) 633-0346

CENTURY 21 Signature Realty

8311 Office Park Drive
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

Phone : 810-695-3200


49940 Gratiot ave
Chesterfield two, MI 48051

Phone : 5869498300

Weichert Realtors-Cass Realty

7931 Allen Rd
Allen Park, MI 48101

Phone : 3133573800

Willingham Real Estate

9864 E. Grand River Ave Suite 110-109
Brighton, MI 48116

Phone : 734-564-7471

Next Level Realty & Investment

9130 Middlebelt Rd
Livonia, MI 48150

Phone : 7345060076

American Associates REALTORS

132 N Leroy St
Fenton, MI 48430

Phone : 810-733-3435



Phone : 248.626.2100

Real Estate For A CAUSE

545 E. Grand Blanc Rd. Suite 8
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

Phone : (810) 344-7275

Carol Bollo & Associates

8772 Macomb , MI 48138
Grosse Ile, MI 48138

Phone : 734-552-1234

Logik Realty LLC

415 S Main St. Suite G
Rochester, MI 48307

Phone : (586) 335-4555

Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood

1020 S. Creyts Rd.
Lansing, MI 48917

Phone : (517) 667-9182

Ann Arbor Keller Williams

2144 S State St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone : 734-669-0337

LandMark Realty

40600 Ann Arbor rd E, ste. 150
PLymouth, MI 48170

Phone : 734-981-5333

Woodward Square Realty

2609 CROOKS RD #256
TROY, MI 48084

Phone : 248-301-9444

Keller Williams Advantage

39500 Orchard Hill Place Suite 100
Novi, MI 48375

Phone : 248-504-6630

AMAZING! Real Estate Solutions

41800 Hayes Road, Ste. #552
Clinton Township, MI 48044

Phone : 833-933-6667 ext. 700

Remerica Preferred

32826 Five Mile Rd
Livonia, MI 48154

Phone : 734-525-9600

Mitten Realty Group, LLC

3275 Martin Parkway, Suite 125
Walled Lake, MI 48390

Phone : 248-294-7850

Keller Williams First Realty

10785 S. Saginaw Street
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

Phone : 810-515-1503

NextHome Suburban Realty-

32401 8 Mile Rd
Livonia, MI 48150

Phone : 734.470.4040

Keller Williams Realty Lansing

3490 Belle Chase Way
Lansing, MI 48911

Phone : 517-853-1200

Birmingham Market Center

210 S Old Woodward Ave Ste 200
Birmingham, MI 48009

How to Choose the Best Online Broker

There’s never been a better time to be an investor: Competition among online brokers is fierce, which means costs are coming down and services are being ramped up.

But picking the right brokerage account comes down to your individual priorities. Some investors are willing to pay higher trade commissions for a state-of-the-art platform; others count costs above all else. Here’s how to find the best online broker for you.

Choosing the best online broker

To evaluate brokers, you should look at the following factors:

Look at commissions on the investments you’ll use most

Brokers generally offer a similar menu of investment options: individual stocks, options, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and bonds. Some will also offer access to futures trading and forex (currency) trading.

The investments offered by the broker will dictate two things: whether your investment needs will be satisfied, and how much you’ll pay in commissions. Pay careful attention to the commissions associated with your preferred investments:

  • Individual stocks: Some brokers still charge a commission to buy and sell stocks, either per trade or per share. However, there are several brokers that now charge no commission, including TD Ameritrade, E-Trade and Interactive Brokers.
  • Options: Options trades often incur the stock trade commission plus a per-contract fee, which usually runs $0.15 to $1.50. Some brokers charge only a commission or only a contract fee.
  • Mutual funds: Some brokers charge a fee to purchase mutual funds. You can limit mutual fund transaction costs or avoid them completely by selecting a broker that offers no-transaction-fee mutual funds. (Mutual funds also carry internal fees called expense ratios. These are charged not by the broker, but by the fund itself.)
  • ETFs: ETFs trade like a stock and are purchased for a share price, so they are often subject to the broker’s stock trade commission. But many brokers also offer a list of commission-free ETFs. If you plan to invest in ETFs, you should look for one of these brokers.
  • Bonds: You can purchase bond mutual funds and ETFs at no charge by using no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs. Brokers may charge a fee to purchase individual bonds, with a minimum and maximum charge.

Pay attention to account minimums

You can find highly ranked brokers with no account minimum, including TD Ameritrade, Merrill Edge and Ally Invest. All three are on NerdWallet’s list of the best brokers.

But some brokers do require a minimum initial investment, and it can skew toward $500 or more. Many mutual funds also require similar minimum investments, which means even if you’re able to open a brokerage account with a small amount of money, it could be a struggle to actually invest it.

It isn’t impossible, however: We have strategies for how to invest $500 and how to invest $1,000.

Watch out for account fees

You may not be able to avoid account fees completely, but you can certainly minimize them. Most brokers will charge a fee for transferring out funds or closing your account. If you’re transferring to another broker, that new company may offer to reimburse your transfer fees, at least up to a limit.

Most other fees can be sidestepped by simply choosing a broker that doesn’t charge them, or by opting out of services that cost extra. Common fees to watch out for include annual fees, inactivity fees, trading platform subscriptions and extra charges for research or data.

Consider your trading style and tech needs

If you’re a beginner investor, you probably won’t need extras, like an advanced trading platform. But you may want an education and a little hand-holding. This could include videos and tutorials on the broker’s website, or in-person seminars at branches. Many brokers offer these services free to account holders.

Many brokers offer educational resources for new investors.

Active traders, on the other hand, will want to look for a brokerage that supports that kind of frequency. That includes weighing a broker’s trading platforms, analysis tools, research and data offerings in addition to commissions — including discounts for high-volume traders — and fees.

Plenty of high-quality online brokers offer access to trading platforms, tools and research for free, so beware of brokers that nickel and dime each feature; those costs can add up quickly.

Take advantage of promotions

Online brokers, like many companies, frequently entice new customers with deals, offering a number of commission-free trades or a cash bonus on certain deposit amounts. It isn’t wise to choose a broker solely on its promotional offer — a high commission over the long term could easily wipe out any initial bonus or savings — but if you’re stuck between two options, a promotion may sway you one way or the other.

NerdWallet’s online broker ratings

Reviewing brokers is what we do best. Our ratings are comprehensive, thorough and — most importantly — objective.

If you’re struggling to sort through the above, or just want the reassurance of an expert opinion, we’re here to help. Our team looks at all of the factors outlined above to select the best brokers for each type of investor. Here are some of our current favorites:

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