I have spoken about the costs of owning an apartment locating business in another article, and in this article, I will outline the costs of being an apartment locator. I will cover the different level of costs associated with working for yourself, and also working for someone else.
There are some people that do not realize it, but you have to have a real estate salesperson license in order to conduct apartment locating transactions.
The cost of becoming a licensed salesperson in the state of Texas is about $900. Like anything, you can always spend more, but I have chosen the less expensive options to give a starting range.
- You must take 180 hours of real estate courses ($500+)
- Then the test ($80)
- Licensing fees from the real estate commission ($299)
Independent: Working for yourself
Working for yourself is going to be more a little expensive as an apartment locator than working for a larger apartment locating firm. The broker is paying for the office, support staff, and leads, which can be your biggest expenses. That is why they have larger broker splits, quotas, office hours, etc…
However, in this article we are not expecting you to stand up a full business, instead the expectation is that you are working from home and just supporting yourself working as an independent contractor for a broker sponsor like Spirit Real Estate Group.
Leads and marketing are going to be your biggest expense, and you can spend as little or as much as you want here. You can build your own website for just the cost of hosting, which is about $60 per year. However, the site alone will not generate leads. You will need to spend some advertising dollars with google Adwords in order to get it in front of potential clients. Another option would be to pay for craigslist ad service to post ads for you. This is a very affordable and low-cost way of getting leads quick.
Apartment Listing Service can be free with ApartmentData.com, but there are other services out there that typically cost $40 or month per month or more. These are required to be able to send lists of apartments to your clients. The paid services are typically a little more accurate and they have additional tools available that you may be interested in.
Broker Sponsorship is what you will need to make sure your license is active and in compliance with the real estate commission. Broker sponsorship will typically cost around $99 per month and there may or may not be a transaction fee which is dependent on the broker.
There could be additional costs if you select a broker sponsor that does not specialize in apartment locating. They will not have the support structure that you need to do the invoicing and collections. That means you will be taking on those tasks yourself and the costs associated with them. For more information on that, check out our Cost of Starting an Apartment Locating Business article.
Miscellaneous, if you have a cell phone and a laptop with internet then you can operate as an apartment locator. I would recommend getting a separate phone line so you can keep your business separate from your work, but if you are just getting started this may not be an option.
For more information on broker sponsorship, contact us and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Working for someone else
Working for a larger apartment locating firm like Umovefree, Findit, or any other traditional firm, is going to save you some money on costs of operating as an apartment locator.
Leads are provided by the company by with a handsome broker split (40/60). That split is used to pay for the infrastructure and support staff, along with the broker’s salary.
The split on generating your own leads is typically going to be better (70/30), so you may want to work on generating your own at some point just so you can earn a little more.
Listing Services are still paid for by you in most cases, but I have heard of the occasional broker that will cover that cost. However, in these cases they have a set software that you are required to use, so there is not an option.
Miscellaneous, you will still need to have a cell, and a laptop, and your quota is usually a good driver to make you use those, even on nights and weekends. Don’t forget you will have the added cost of having to commute to an office.
Both working for a broker sponsor, and a locating firm have their own pros and cons. The question is which is a better fit for you. The costs related to both are relatively the same, so the question is, are you a self-motivated and driven person?
If so, broker sponsorship might be the best option for you.