New agent to new agent: It's not all about the money

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It’s a trap seasoned brokers are trying to steer young agents clear of, and now one of those newcomers is offering the same warning, pointing to the need for training and support and not just high commission splits.

“It’s a fine line for new agents – they’re looking for a high commission split because they need that money but they also need training and support,” said agent Mariusz Lasocha, who entered brokering in June. “I think it’s important that they don’t just focus on the high commissions, but make sure they are going to be getting that support.That’s really important.”

It’s the kind of broker assistance, through training and guidance, that Lasocha, based in Caledon, Ont., now draws on. it’s increasingly important in a market where home sales have started to slip and preapprovals are getting harder to convert as clients wait for a price correction.

That tougher environment has encouraged many brokerages to up their agent commissions as a way of attracting new talent and the new clients those mortgage professionals bring to the table.

Still, many other brokers have objected to the focus on monetary compensation, arguing it erodes the brokerage’s ability to provide agents the kind of support Lasocha enjoys. It also threatens the bottom line.

“This has been a growing problem for a long time and it should come as no surprise to anyone who owns a business in this environment,” said Gord McCallum, principal broker and owner of First Foundation Residential Mortgages. “We only have to look at other models of sustainable financial services to see that none of them pay even close to 85 per cent commission splits. The biggest mistake our industry made was copying Realtors.”

  • chris on 2012-10-18 5:15:10 AM

    Unfortunately far to many brokerages provide little to no training at all, and it is sink or swim for new sub brokers...I encounter soo many frustrated "new" brokers who after 1-2 years in the industry still don't know the basics of lending. I like to see potential sub brokers with some previous banking experience so they at least know the basics, and have an understanding of what bankers/underwriters are looking for when we submit deals. My previous banking experience was invaluable when I became a broker. I'm not saying bank experience is mandatory to suceed in this profession, but when you are helping clients make huge financial decisions I expect a mortgage broker to be fully versed in the world of finance, not just which lender has the lowest rates. Industry training has to be improved as a whole, AND many brokerages need to implement proper training, or pay sub brokers to get that training elsewhere to improve our industry.

  • Nel on 2012-10-18 5:25:08 AM

    It's true.As a new commer to the industry it takes time to tune up with the trends in the industry,Its not so easier to go as it seems by learning theory because actual practice in the industry is like DIY style from the Brokerages & franchisees with very less support from their end.

  • Paul Mangion on 2012-10-18 5:34:09 AM

    We don't have to worry about brokerages that offer more money because they won't be around next year. Agents need to understand it costs money to operate an office. Agents always blame their failures on the broker they signed up with but when you use pay splits as your main criteria you get what you pay for. Agents need to ask themselves this question “What’s in it for me?”. The people you want to learn from is the people that make money. So think of a lower split at the beginning as paying for their expertise and time. Last time I checked all of nothing is nothing. There will be a big exodus in the mortgage industry and the offices and agents that get it will survive.

  • Paolo Di Petta | on 2012-10-18 5:35:04 AM

    There's definitely a balance there, but in my search for a broker, I found just as many "poor training programs with bad splits" as I did find "no training, high splits".

    These are only symptoms of a bigger problem - the business models of large brokerages. Even some of the agent-course classes felt like a recruiting centre, run by industry members looking to find more road reps to chase re-fi's and bank deals. Not to mention the monthly fees for their proprietary CRMs, "office fees", "advertising fee" and other charges. They already make money from the agents on day one, and every deal the agent closes is a bonus.

    I got the impression that to them, it's a big numbers game - hire a ton of agents, get them to go out and bear the brunt of the costs, and eventually some deals will trickle through and they can collect their percentage.

    That's why I decided to align myself with a smaller brokerage instead. I talk to my Broker face-to-face and he provides one-to-one support.

    And he's not just a broker, he's a friend. We hang out and catch up at the local Starbucks all the time. We exchange stories about our families, friends and other things going on in our lives.

    Poor training and splits are just a symptom of a larger problem - a disconnect between agents and support staff. I'd rather be a person than a number.

  • Judy Hickman on 2012-10-18 11:17:50 AM

    what is a sub-broker? As I understand it this is not a recognized title or accreditation. I'm about to leave the business, but this caught my curiousity.

  • Lena on 2012-10-18 2:45:13 PM

    I had previous banking experience which helped but the training offered to mortgage agents really needs to be improved. I would like to take a course on sub prime lending but don't know where to go. 10 steps is not enough, more training is required.

  • Paul Mangion on 2012-10-19 4:25:32 AM

    You know, I have never had an agent fail if the actually engage the training. My main training is provided by a third party which charges $395.00 and the agents that take it show imediate results. Here is the funny part, do you know how many agents won't pay for training. Our average agent closes an extra three deals in the 12 weeks it takes to complete the training and yet most agents still won't invest in themselves. Now if there not willing to invest in the person in there shoes than why would anyone else. Wake up people, You get what you pay for.

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