3 Cautions Before Joining a Real Estate Team

Traditionally, real estate was thought to be an individual venture. While some boutique brokerages did have teams that operated with the broker as the head, most real estate professionals acted as individual agents. 

However, the industry has begun to see a shift, with many professionals choosing to work in real estate teams instead, with each team member working in the positions that play to his or her individual strengths, such as a listing agent or a buyer’s agent. 

While there are no concrete procedures that all real estate teams follow, the basic principles of working within a team still apply. For instance, in a real estate team, all members pitch in to help move toward the common goal. What’s more, the team format is also helpful to clients, with someone on the team always being available to help out when the need arises. 

But before you join a real estate team, it is important to understand the ways in which real estate teams work are fundamentally different from the ways individual agents work. Before you join a real estate team, here are a few things you should consider:

#1. Structure and Responsibilities

Before joining a real estate team, it’s important to understand the structure of the team as well as the role that members play. Does the team have role-specific buying agents and listing agents, or do agents handle both roles? Perhaps there’s a transaction manager or a marketing person? Teams often increase role options as a way to scale the tasks involved in transactions.

Think about your strengths and your personality. Are there parts of your job that you love and excel at? Are there parts you’d rather give up, or tasks that you would prefer to be handled by someone else? Many agents report that their talents and abilities seem to naturally align one way or the other. If you feel this way, working as part of a real estate team may be a natural fit for you. 

Ask for a breakdown of the team structure, as well as who reports to whom and what the business goals are.

#2. Financials

While it can be uncomfortable to talk about money, anyone in sales can tell you that it’s a huge part of their job. When interviewing or considering joining a real estate team, don’t shy away from the topic! After all, financial structures and compensation models are often the biggest deciding factor when choosing a real estate team, so it’s important that you are informed in order to make the best decision.

Ask about the compensation. Is the team based on commission only, salary and bonuses, or a hybrid structure? Is there a cap on commissions? And, if the pay is commission-based, what are the commission splits? Also, be sure to ask about any training or franchise fees, as well as brokerage fees.

Keep in mind that some teams receive the commission split that the team leader has negotiated with the larger brokerage — if this is the case, it can be attractive to new agents who may otherwise have a lower split. 

#3. Technology

As with all other industries, technology is crucial to the real estate industry, which is rapidly changing and always adapting to new technologies. Those that embrace technology are more likely to thrive, so it’s important to understand how technology fits into the real estate team and how it is implemented on a day to day basis. 

Ask about the team’s advertising model, as well as their social media presence. Does the team have a CRM in place and, if so, is it optimized to be used on the go or in the field? Who handles the cost of the CRM? Ideally, the right real estate team will have a good system in place. They know how important technology is, and they know how to use it to their advantage. 

It should be noted that teams historically present some challenges for data and production reporting. Be sure to have a thorough understanding of how sales will be recorded in the MLS. 

Is a Real Estate Team Right for You? 

When it comes down to it, your personality and your personal goals are two of the biggest factors when deciding to work with a real estate team or go solo. One of the benefits of working with a real estate team is the team mentality — a “one for all and all for one” mentality. A solid real estate team can provide a huge source of support, but you need to be prepared to pull your own weight. It’s often said that a team is only as good as its weakest link. If you feel like someone on the team may slow you down, it may be best to strike it on your own. 

To learn more, sign up for our AgentEDU course Are You Ready to Join or Start a Real Estate Team? today. 


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