Well…. I’m going to start with, hey, it’s my Birthday!
Now, moving on. Ha! After coming down from the high of having actually passed my licensing exam with the State, I did some reading on what to do next, which was to find a Broker. My first thought was that this was going to be like trying to find a job. I was anxious and nervous and was scared that no one would want me. Add a second, ‘ha!’ to this post. As it turns out, everyone wants you when you pass your Real Estate License. I didn’t know this right away though and I didn’t know this when I scheduled my first appointment with Coldwell Banker in the city. Why Coldwell Banker? Well, when Mr. J and I bought our first home in the area, we went with Coldwell Banker and this was my first experience of Real Estate transactions in the US and it was the very first time, a very long time ago, that I thought that I might be quite good as a Realtor.
I got myself dressed up nicely, which was a challenge in itself when you have a ‘Mom-drobe’ complete with a vast quantity of Jeans and T-Shirts and the odd slip dress, and headed out to be a professional business woman. Yikes! When I arrived it was a very quiet, office with no one at the front desk and I waited a while and was taken back to meet Jim. He jumped right in and started talking to me about this new Zap program they were offering and the whole experience was completely overwhelming. I left feeling confused and way out of my depth.
Then the deluge started. Call after call and email after email offering me places in brokerages around the area. It was crazy. Word gets out when you complete your license and Brokerages start competing for you. I didn’t realize this. In hindsight, I knew all Real Estate is commission based and you typically split it with your Broker, so it makes sense that the more people they have working for them, the more money they make, so of course they want to get their hands on all the Realtors!
I started doing online Research into all the big brokerages and ended up making an Appointment with Keller Williams in Winter Park with a guy called Zola. I read his resume online and it was insanely intimidating, however when I walked into the Keller Williams office in Winter Park it was a bustling, vibrant office with a happy, smiling young lady on the front desk who made me feel right at home. She was drawing at her desk when I got there so whilst I was waiting for Zola we got chatting about our art. I loved her immediately. Zola arrived and took me back into the conference room where we chatted for a long time about life. He was a European transplant also and he was open and welcoming and I felt at home there. He explained how the whole process would work. I could sign up with them and they would get me on the books right away, however I have to go to the Orlando Regional Realtors Association (ORRA) and pay my dues to them and to the MLS. In order to be an official Realtor® (see the trademark!) you have to be registered with your local Realtor’s Association and you also have to join the local Multiple Listing Search agency (MLS) which here is the Mid Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service (MFRMLS) and that fee was a nice little chunk of change. Just over $1200 in my case and it’s due in two pieces every year, however you have to pay both when you first get your license and sign up with a Broker, with both being prorated through the renewal date.
He also told me that starting in July there was an Ignite Course which is a half day course for four weeks which basically teaches you how to be a Realtor. It would cost $250, but it was exactly what I needed. I was in over my head and I really, really needed someone to teach me how to do the job, and here it was. He took me around the office and introduced me to everyone and it was a happy, friendly atmosphere and I fell in love with the place instantly. I told him I would have to think about it a little, but I signed the papers this morning, paid my dues with ORRA and and I am now, officially, a Keller Williams agent!