How To Open A Real Estate Brokerage

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The steps to opening a real estate brokerage aren’t all that complicated. Much like any other incorporated company you’ll need to jump through some hoops and some steps will seem to take forever but they are navigable and they can be accomplished with a little careful planning and some good advice along the way.

Pick a company name
Your business name is usually the easiest step until you see that someone else is using your top choice. Spend some time to research what the local competition is called and create a uniquely yours business name that exemplifies your business ethic. You’ll also want to ensure that your choice of website domain name is available and that social media handles are also not currently being used.

Apply with RECO
You’ll need to have your real estate broker designation and start the brokerage application paperwork with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) to open your brokerage. The process of approval for your brokerage registration can take 30 to 120 days depending on it’s complexity.

Submit your brokerage application to your local real estate board
To operate in Ontario your brokerage must be a member of a real estate board and you can begin this application process at the same time as your RECO application, with certain aspects of the application to be completed after RECO approval has been received.

Hire a lawyer and set the incorporation process in motion
The legal steps to opening your brokerage are well understood and experience matters towards getting you started efficiently. The Real Estate Council of Ontario provides a lot of information about what you need to do and your lawyer should be very familiar with all the forms and paperwork involved in your brokerage incorporation. You’ll also have to apply for a business license, among other smaller but important details.

Hire an accountant
An accountant experienced with real estate brokerages will have the accounting plan you need to stay compliant with the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) 2002 from day one.

Open your bank accounts
Your real estate brokerage requires, at a minimum, 3 bank accounts for you to keep separate the money you’ll receive throughout the transactions you administer, as dictated by RECO. Working in conjunction with your accountant these accounts should always be accurate and inspection-ready.

Find an office location
Your office rent is usually your biggest ongoing business expense aside of staff salaries. Be prepared for some tough negotiations as you evaluate different areas to give your business a home.

Create the marketing materials to promote your business
Start with business cards, brochures and yard signs. Be certain that your graphic artist provides your designs in a variety of file formats and sizes so you’ll have on hand the graphic files you’ll need down the road.

Launch a website
Future clients will search for you online, be certain you can be found.

Open for business!
And get to work.

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