Top 3 Best Real Estate Brokerages For New Agents (2023 Review)

As a newly licensed agent, it can be extremely difficult and frustrating to find the right real estate company. When I got my real estate license, I remember questioning myself: Should I join a team? What are commission splits? Why is my mailbox full of recruiting letters?

Filtering through the crap real estate brokers feed you can be a challenge. I’m going straight to the point to show you exactly what the best real estate brokerages for new agents are and why.

Before reading this, make sure you don’t want to join a real estate team.

The National Association of Realtors sums up why, “You may have aced your licensing exam, but there’s still so much to learn about prospecting for leads, cultivating strong relationships with clients, negotiating the sales process, and guiding a transaction smoothly to the closing table.”

A team takes a lot of that off your plate.

Why Choosing the Right Brokerage is Important for New Agents

I joined Keller Williams Realty as a newly licensed agent because of Gary Keller’s Millionaire Real Estate Agent. I didn’t care where I hung my license until it affected my business. It’s frustrating and painful to build a business somewhere that doesn’t have your back.

With roughly 18 months of experience, I had to move my small team of 4 people to a new brokerage. Growing a business is difficult enough, you shouldn’t have to add the pain and difficulty of switching real estate firms.

So, how are you going to avoid that speed bump? Keep reading…

Shelby Johnson Real Estate Agent

Are you looking for a new brokerage?

Do you want to build a REAL business and create REAL wealth alongside peers?

Five Pillars is the nationwide movement of real estate agents who are doing just that.

What Did We Look At In Our Review?

I have personally been with 2 brokerages. I’ve interviewed countless real estate companies and pretended to be interested in joining their real estate firm to save you the time and heartache I experienced.

I was also extremely interested to see their recruiting process and what they offer.

The most important takeaway from my multiple hours on the phone is:

Most franchise locations are going to be WILDLY different. Even though they may be Keller Williams or Coldwell Banker, each location has a lot of flexibility with what they can charge and offer their agents.

So, in my experience as a successful agent and team leader, here are the most important qualities for agents fresh out of real estate school trying to find the best brokerage:

  • Company Culture
  • Training and Mentorship
  • Support

But why are these the most important qualities to find the best real estate companies for newer agents?

Company Culture

Have you ever gone somewhere and felt cold, dark, and unwelcome? Would you like to work there?

Maybe some of you weirdos, but NOT ME. I’m a firm believer that you are the average of the people you surround yourself with.

Surround yourself with successful real estate agents. Do what they do. Don’t be an asshole. Have fun.

Doesn’t seem too bad, right? In my experience interviewing numerous real estate companies, it’s easy to get sold by a real estate broker who promises you the world.

Unfortunately, most real estate companies aren’t great.

As a new agent, it’s extremely important you chose somewhere that inspires you. You should chase your dreams with badasses beside you.

What else is important for new real estate agents?

Training and Mentorship

Shelby Johnson Training a crowd at Bigger Pockets Rookie Conference
Me Speaking at BP Rookie Conference

You’re new. Chances are you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground…

Okay maybe you do but do you know how to fill out an offer to purchase? Yah yah yah, you did it once…

But it’s a different story when a client is putting thousands of dollars on the line. If you put that dollar amount in the wrong spot, no takesies-backsies!

Maybe you don’t know how to run comps, maybe you don’t know what a septic system is… It’s crucial to learn as fast as possible because let me tell you, getting licensed is only the beginning. Actually doing the duties of a real estate agent is a different story.


It’s bound to happen… You’re going to get stuck. You’re going to have a hiccup.

Who is going to be there for you to lean on? As a new real estate agent, you need someone and PREFERABLY a group of people who are willing to help you.

This is what gets me excited. A support culture gets me fired up and it’s tough to find.


On top of what I consider a brokerage’s 3 most important qualities for new real estate agents, we have to talk about some of the other perks and downfalls. Money matters and I’ll try my best to steer you from some of the more expensive brokerages.

Some people will mention lead generation but unless you’re joining a team, don’t plan on getting leads from your brokerage.

So, which real estate company is the best for new agents?

3 Top Brokerages For New Agents

Now that you know how we judged all the brokerages, let’s dive into the best real estate companies for new real estate agents!

eXp Realty – The Best Real Estate Brokerage for New Agents

eXp Realty has been one of the fastest-growing real estate brokerages in the world for a reason. As a cloud-based technology-driven real estate company, they are able to make rapid changes.

I was fortunate enough to sit on a Zoom call with the founder and CEO of eXp, Glen Sanford. This may not be 100% accurate as I’m writing from memory, but here is what I remember:

eXp Realty Black Logo

eXp’s business model was built in the 2008 real estate crash by Glen Sanford when his profit share at Keller Williams dwindled to basically nothing. He had to shut down multiple offices. He thought, “How am I going to prevent this from happening to other agents?” The easy question is to ask, how do we get rid of offices and switch from profit share to revenue share?

eXp Realty was born!

Let’s review the factors that make this brokerage the best in the real estate industry…

eXp Realty Company Culture

Unfortunately, eXp agents have tainted the company’s reputation as being ‘recruiter heavy’. Yet, the more I research the largest and best real estate companies, the more I like eXp Realty.

Besides the fact most agents will keep more money at eXp, the culture is dictated by whoever you sign as your sponsor.

For example, I used to have a traditional real estate team at eXp. When I decided I didn’t want it anymore, most people wanted to stay and be a part of the community.

This is my main focus now, creating a movement of real estate agents building real businesses and real wealth with peers.

With eXp, if you sign some random recruiter as your sponsor, you’ll likely feel like you’re on an island. That ‘agent’ who recruited you may have NEVER sold real estate… hence the bad rep of eXp being recruiter heavy.

Five Pillars Team Trip 2020

Another caveat, I left Keller Williams due to the franchise’s leadership breathing down my neck about real estate investing…

eXp has been far better because the leadership sticks to making sure agents stay legal. They aren’t overbearing parents judging from afar.

With eXp Realty, you get to choose the culture you want to be a part of. You get to do what you want with your own real estate business.

Training and Mentorship at eXp

eXp does this cool thing for their top-performing experienced agents. They incentivize ICON agents to teach classes with $4,000 worth of stock… While I was earning that $4,000 in stock, I found the hidden gem of eXp. The top agents from across the country get paid to teach other agents how to be better and sell more. The best part?

All of this training is free for eXp Realty agents to watch and consume. Not only that, it’s recorded and put in their library full of THOUSANDS of hours of training.

So, while a local real estate brokerage is holding back info because they don’t want to share their secrets with the competition, eXp agents share the best real estate practices with the entire brokerage.

On top of its outstanding training program, eXp has a mentorship program for new agents. While you can get training from agents across the nation, eXp needed a way to train agents locally. In comes eXp’s mentorship program.

A mentor’s responsibility is to help new agents navigate their local market. This is a requirement paid for by new agents in their first 6 transactions at eXp. Once a new agent completes those 6 transactions, they graduate from the program and get to keep more money!

Although it sucks to pay for help, agents usually need help navigating the intricacies of their market. Fortunately, it still makes eXp cheaper than most brokerages. I’m 95% sure they are cheaper than all brokerages that offer this kind of mentorship program.


The mentorship program is great support for new realtors. That program is only for the first 6 transactions so what happens if you need help after you’ve closed some deals? In comes your sponsor and community. Guess what?

If you can ask for help, people inherently love helping. That’s the coolest part of our community and the reason I think eXp is the best real estate company. This is also why you should pick your sponsor carefully.

Pros & Cons of eXp Realty



  • Culture stays with you or your sponsor

  • Best training in the nation

  • Strong communities provide strong support systems

  • Co-working spaces only, no office is included

  • Reputation of Recruiters

  • Quality of Sponsor is hard to spot before joining


Here’s my and another agent’s experience at multiple brokerages, including eXp.

My experience at Keller Williams and eXp
Shelby Johnson Real Estate Agent

I left Keller Williams due to the company culture. The traditional real estate agents at Keller Williams didn’t like some of the things I did with real estate investing. I didn’t feel support there, and it was more like they were holding me back. They also thought I was crazy for starting a team within my first 12 months.

In comes eXp. They didn’t care whether I was crushing it or doing non-traditional real estate transactions. They were basically like “Don’t break the law”. In my opinion, that’s what real estate companies should do for their agents.

Ruben Garcia Testimonial on eXp Realty
Ruben Garcia eXp Realty Agent
Ruben Garcia

Ruben Garcia has 8+ years of experience in the real estate agent world. He started at Coldwell Banker and shortly after went to Keller Williams where he helped a team do $13m in volume their first year. He became the CEO of a KW office and then decided he liked the coaching aspect more which led him to the productivity coaching position at 2 separate KW offices.

In 2019, he left Keller Williams to join eXp. Since then, he’s become a top 1% eXp influencer and has spoken at eXp’s shareholder summit.

I asked Ruben why he switched brokerages to eXp. He said “After stepping down as the CEO and moving into the productivity coaching position, I started getting treated differently from the leadership. They went back on some promises they made, and that’s not the culture I wanted to be a part of.”

This is what Ruben said about recommending new agents to eXp, “There are 85 live agent training classes per week. New agents get a mentor, a life-long sponsor, and eXp has something like 11 different ways to make money. eXp breeds creativity and lets you do what you want to with your business.”

Keller Williams – Second Best Real Estate Company for New Agents

Keller Williams Black Logo

I know what you’re thinking… “This lady just said she left Keller Williams.” I did! However, each office is independently owned and operated. Although things changed at my local marketplace, on average real estate agents really like Keller Williams. Since I haven’t been at Keller Williams for a while, I asked someone who was recently there!

Keller Williams Company Culture

Landon Stone Keller Williams Real Estate Agent
Landon Stone

Landon Stone, former Keller Williams agent had this to say about their company culture:

“KW is a franchise so office culture is WILDLY different from office to office. The Team Leader position and Broker in Charge normally have a high turnover. The TL is crucial to office culture so is the BIC. And since those roles often change, so do the culture and certain policies and stances the office takes. “

My takeaway is, since Keller Williams relies so heavily on office leadership, even when Keller Williams offers amazing leadership, that can change in a heartbeat.

Training and mentorship

Landon also had this to say, “KW does offer training and mentorship. They put on free stuff, but the good training and mentorship are paid. Most of KW’s free training is a funnel to get you to pay for additional training.”

This is exactly what Gary Keller did with his book, MREA. He wrote something low-cost and placed himself as an industry leader to funnel everyone into his brokerage. He got me!

“They do productivity coaching, most offices have a PC coach in-house, and that costs Keller Williams agents 10% of their GCI. In most cases, most agents will have to sign a contract that lasts longer than 3 transactions.” Landon also said Keller Williams productivity coaches just help you track where your time is spent so you focus on the right activities. Pretty simple stuff.

Ruben Garcia said that when he left the productivity coaching position at KW, the CEO made productivity coaching mandatory for everyone until they capped. Although this could be awesome for newer agents, I would’ve been really upset as an experienced agent.

Keller Williams University is their online training platform. This is given to all Keller Williams agents. The goal is to offer agent training and information on how to succeed in different market cycles and at different stages in their real estate career. To my understanding, some of the courses are free and some are paid.

Support at Keller Williams

When asked about support at Keller Williams, Landon said, “I felt super supported when we first joined KW and that value faded quickly. After the broker in charge and team leader changed at my office, it took less than 3 months for me to want to change brokerages. I think this is a nationwide phenomenon happening at KW offices that are driving agents to a virtual brokerage because you get to choose your support group (upline) as well as your brokerage.”

My takeaway from this is, the level of support is heavily dependent on your company’s leadership. Which is the same with every real estate brokerage that uses the franchise model.

Keller Williams Pros & Cons



  • In-person Office

  • Been around for a long time

  • Gary Keller wrote the books

  • Culture Changes with the Leadership

  • More expensive with fees

  • Upselling in Training

Coldwell Banker – Third Best Real Real Estate Company for New Agents

Although Coldwell Banker is far from being the best real estate brokerage for experienced agents due to their commission splits, they have some major advantages for new agents. I know a few agents at Coldwell Banker and I’ll share this random interview I did with an agent at Greater Northeast Coldwell Banker in Charlotte, NC.

Gary Royal has been a real estate agent for 3 years. He started at United which allowed him to keep 100% of his commission but they didn’t offer any training.

Coldwell Banker Logo

He left and went to eXp to be on a team… He left eXp after 1 year and 6 closings because “I didn’t get the full support and training needed.” He had the eXp 80/20 split then a 50/50 split with the team he was on.

Since then, he’s been at the Greater NE Coldwell Banker in Charlotte. He’s quadrupled his business and loves where he is. There are no desk fees and no monthly fees. After $5 million in sales volume, the agent’s commission splits are capped at 99/1 with that 1% going to franchise fees.

Coldwell Banker Company Culture

As with any location, the culture can either be great or horrible. Gary loves the culture at his Coldwell Banker office. He claimed “We’re more like a team and family-based. We help each other with listings and go over script practice, and sometimes do co-listings.”

As I always advise, interview a lot of brokerages. Just because some people love it at a certain brokerage, doesn’t mean you are going to have the same experience. The real estate industry has one common theme, it is always changing.

Training and mentorship

Even though Gary has several years of experience, I told him this was tailored for new agents who just got their real estate license. When asked about the training and mentorship, he said “Training is amazing here. They have a program called AMP that covers CMA’s, farming neighborhoods, prospecting, and the current state of the market. AMP is a prerequisite to joining the office and teaches you everything you need to know to be an agent.”

Just like a college degree, your real estate license doesn’t teach you the day-to-day of being a real estate agent. It sounded like Coldwell Banker’s AMP program taught him everything he wishes his previous firms and team failed to.

In regards to mentorship, “I can sit down with anyone in the office and pick their brains. We have several experienced agents who are willing to give time as long as you’re respectful of it.” Although there is no structured mentorship program at Coldwell Banker, it seems his office offers everything one could wish for.


It sounds like a VERY supportive environment. On top of the support from other agents and the real estate broker in charge, he said all the systems are free. “We have all the up-to-date tools. Moxi is what we use for listing presentations. That’s also our CRM and it’s free. All signs are free. The website is free.”

I’ll be the first to say, Nothing is free. Someone is paying for it and that money comes from somewhere. It’s easily found in their commission splits. Another couple of cool support programs are Coldwell Banker’s relocation team and their global luxury team. He said after meeting certain criteria, they will send you leads through those programs.

This sounds good but I didn’t get a good grasp on what it entailed. I’m a firm believer that if a brokerage claims they will give leads, you shouldn’t believe them. Don’t risk your real estate business on anyone else’s ability to generate leads!

Pros and Cons of Coldwell Banker



  • Old, Established Brand

  • Awesome Onboarding Training

  • Has in-person office

  • Culture changes with Leadership

  • Expensive - No cap on Franchise Fees

  • No Mentor Program

How Are Brokerages For New Agents Different?

Now that we’ve reviewed each brokerage, let’s see who wins each category. Although the attributes of real estate companies can vary greatly due to their sheer size, we are going to focus on the brokerage’s ability to be consistent in each.

If you’re a new agent, you’ll see which brokerage is generally the winner of each category.

Company Culture Compared

The Culture of eXp
Five Pillars Team Trip 2021

In my extensive research and experience, I’ve noticed in large, national brokerages the people in leadership positions create the culture. This means, when leadership leaves, the culture follows them out the door.

The awesome thing about virtual, nationwide brokerages? The person who sponsored you doesn’t change.

For that reason, I’m ranking virtual #1 and franchises tie for #2 & #3

  1. exp
  2. Coldwell Bank TIED Keller Williams

Training and Mentorship for New Agents

This is a close comparison because all the brokerages offer free training programs for new and experienced realtors.

Some KW offices have mandatory productivity coaching which could be classified as a mentorship program. They also have Keller Williams University which has online, on-demand training programs.

Coldwell Banker doesn’t have a structured mentorship program. They do have the AMP program for agents but continuous training is up to each franchise.

eXp has a structured, repeatable mentorship program and training from top producers across the country.

  1. eXp
  2. KW
  3. Coldwell Banker

Supporting New Real Estate Agents

As defined before, support is the systems or people who are going to pull you out of the weeds and help you when needed. This can vary drastically because we all need different levels of support.

If you are the type of person who can’t ask for help, you will have a much more difficult real estate career. For that reason, I’m going to assume you are the type of person that can ask for help.

At eXp, new agents have an assigned mentor, sponsor, and real estate broker who can point you in the right direction.

At KW, a new real estate agent might have a productivity coach and a broker in charge who they can ask.

At Coldwell Bank, it sounds like you could have the support of the people around you and your real estate broker. For these reasons:

  1. eXp
  2. KW
  3. Coldwell Banker

FAQs on Best Real Estate Company for New Agents

What is the fastest-growing real estate brokerage?

The fastest-growing real estate brokerage has been eXp Realty for years. Since 2022, the brokerage’s growth has slowed.

What percentage do most brokers take from new agents?

Most brokers take a 20-30% commission split from their agents.
Reasonable brokers will cap their commission splits after taking $20,000 – $25,000 from their agents’ commissions.

Which real estate company pays the most commission?

The real estate company that pays the most commission are 0% split firms like Fathom Realty.
These companies generally have extremely low overhead and don’t offer support or training.

How much do New Real Estate Agents Make?

In my first year as a real estate agent, I made around $156k after paying my cap to Keller Williams.
Real estate agents aren’t on a salary so their income is dependent on their work.

What should I expect as a new real estate agent?

As a new real estate agent some things to expect are:
– Working weekends
– Heartbreak
– Unreasonable clients
– Being uncomfortable
– An income reflected on your skill level
– Testing lead generation strategies
– Not knowing what to do

How to generate leads as a new agent?

As a new agent, here are some low-cost ways to generate leads:
– Door-knocking
– Cold-calling
– Networking at social events
– Creating Social Media content
– Youtube videos
– Contacting your sphere of influence

Finals Thoughts on Best Real Estate Companies for New Agents

Real estate changed my life. It’s been a challenge to find the best real estate brokerage for my business. At this point in my career, I’m fortunate to be able to help others change their lives through real estate. I want to help new agents just like you. The truth is, there is no single solution to the best real estate company for new agents. It’s up to you to find the right brokerage for you so…

Interview a bunch, including me 🙂

Leave a Comment