Dear Monty: A new real estate agent questions his decision | Siouxland Homes


Dear Monty: I’m a new agent. A parent asked me to co-list their home with an agent they knew. We both work at the same brokerage. I was to receive part of the listing commission with the split between us skewed towards the experienced agent. The experienced agent was to train me, mentor me, and share future commissions on the business I generated. Then my relative accepted an offer for the property which is now locked up. When I asked to see the contract, my mentor ignored me. The commission split escrow form did not include me. My relative signed this document, not realizing that my name had to be on it. My “mentor” also increased a pre-agreed amount of commission. My relative told me she felt pressured but needed the sale and agreed. My mentor said he would add me to the commission document before closing the escrow. But when I asked the question, I was put off. I fear that I will be taken advantage of because I am new and will end up with a pittance. It was a big sale, and I still feel discouraged. I don’t know if I want to make it my job if my mentor takes advantage of me. What can I do to protect myself?

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Monty’s response: Being in real estate sales isn’t easy for most practitioners, even if they’ve been in it for years. This is a highly competitive, internally focused career where few can fully master the job description. My experience has been that the few good agents are not easy to find, but they are there. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average agent only has 10 transactions per year. When I hear your story, I suspect your mentor is not one of the few. “Look at their feet, not their lips” is a great exercise to practice forever.

Consider talking directly to the owner of the brokerage. I doubt the owner knows what’s going on here. Don’t go to someone else’s house. Then share your story with them. Share why you chose their company. I wouldn’t mention that you feel like leaving the industry. Focus on fairness, integrity and honesty. Ask the owner to intervene. They are the ones who can present the solution with the title company. There is a high probability of getting relief by taking this approach. If you get the same answer your mentor gave you, you’re probably in the wrong company.

If your request remains unanswered, you will have to wait for the escrow to close to find out if your suspicions were correct. Your mentor may be a poor communicator. If that doesn’t go well, there may be another avenue to consider. Your state has a place to complain. For example, the California Department of Real Estate disciplines real estate brokers and agents when they break the law. Find your state’s department and check them.

You will learn a lot here. Wait before deciding to quit. It took time and money to get there. You sound like someone the industry needs. See Dear Monty’s suggestion for finding a good broker.

Richard Montgomery is the author of “Money from Home: An Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When You Buy or Sell a Home.” It advocates industry reform and offers readers unbiased real estate advice. Follow him on Twitter at @dearmonty, or at



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