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As a real estate agent, you have to make a lot of decisions about how your business will operate.  You have to pick a brokerage, decide if you want to become a broker, start a team, work from home, choose an office, and that’s just the beginning.  One of the things you should no doubt put some time into considering, is joining a real estate team. While it’s not for everyone, there are some pretty good perks to joining a real estate team. There are also several factors to consider if you think it might be the right fit for you. 

The Perks

Real estate teams are becoming more and more popular in the industry.  According to NAR’s 2018 Team Survey, 26% of real estate agents associated themselves with a team, and it’s predicted that the number will continue to grow.  While you hated those team projects assigned when you were in school, joining a real estate team has a few more advantages, and I promise, you won’t have to do all the work this time. 

Training & Mentorship

When you join a brokerage,  you may or may not, get training on the industry standards for your market or technology.  (You should if you’re joining a decent brokerage) If you’re new to the industry, training is going to be the key to your success.  Those licensing classes you took were probably more geared towards actual laws, not towards how to mentally handle when Sally backs out of her contract last minute and which blanks need to be filled in for compliance. 

Even if you consider yourself a subject matter expert in real estate,  having a mentor or another experienced agent to ask when weird stuff comes up, is definitely a nice perk. After years in the industry,  you still run across different situations you’ve never dealt with regularly. Having another person you work closely with, to ask questions and toss around ideas, can make a big difference in your job satisfaction. 

Leads

Typically a team starts to form when a particular agent has enough leads that he/she can no longer service all of them alone.  The agent then starts to expand their team, and other agents can take the extra leads. We’ll get into structure a little later, but this is where maybe the new members only get new buyer leads generated, or maybe there are extra tenant leads.  Regardless of what the structure is, being on a team allows you to receive leads that you wouldn’t have received otherwise. If you choose not to be on a team, you’ll have to procure your own leads, whether that means cold calling into the night or paying for different lead generation sources. 

Split the Expenses

I’ve heard people describe being a real estate agent as flexible, rewarding,  and scalable, but I’ve never heard anyone say they chose the profession because it’s cheap.  There are a litany of costs you have to cover from signs and marketing materials to memberships and office costs. As part of a team,  those expenditures are split when you join a real estate team, with everyone chipping in a portion of the total. This can help stabilize your monthly expenses and up-front costs, which is especially important when you’re just starting out. 

Vacation, anyone? 

Real estate agents don’t work typical hours.  In fact, they do the bulk of their work when others aren’t working, such as nights and weekends.  Making sure you can handle all of your clients, while balancing family and other obligations can be tough.  When you join a real estate team, you will have quick access to others that can cover for you when you have to be away or when you just want a vacation to reward yourself for all that hard work.   If you aren’t on a team and need coverage, you may need to seek out other agents that would be willing to help you out, as needed, typically for an extra fee. 

Marketing/Branding

Joining an existing real estate team will relieve you of having to come up with own marketing and branding, because they will already be in place for you.  You can walk in on the first day and fit yourself right into their branding without missing a beat. If you’re the creative type that enjoys that kind of thing and you can’t see yourself marketing under someone else’s brand,  a team may not be for you. 

Other Considerations for a Team

If you’re still reading this,  you must still be thinking that joining a real estate team could be a good fit for you.  If that’s the case, there are a few things you might want to take into consideration when evaluating potential real estate teams. 

Team Structure

Team structure refers to what each member of the team handles.  Typically there is the team lead, and then various other members of the team that handle certain responsibilities.  Will you be responsible for handling only listings or only buyers, or will you do both? Does the team have it’s own transaction coordinator to assist you with non-revenue generating tasks?  Asking how each member fits into the team will be an important factor in choosing which team is the best fit for you. 

Splits

This is where most agents struggle when it comes to joining a real estate team.  While there are great benefits to working on a team, you do have to split your commission among the whole team,  not just keep it for yourself like you would as an agent on your own. How do they split the commission among the team members?  Is it even? How much will you keep after, not only splitting with your team, but your brokerage, and anyone else (like a referral source)? Also consider if you could make up some of this lost revenue in productivity with the help of a team.

Technology

What kind of technology do they use to conduct business every day?  Do they have the procedures and training in place to help you learn that technology quickly?  Whether or not they are up to date with technology, will give you a good indication of how their business is run in general. 

Culture

Fitting into team culture can be a make it or break it for a real estate agent.  You might sell more homes than any agent on the team, but if you don’t fit the culture or feel comfortable there, it won’t last.  When you’re considering a real estate team, check out their office during the week. Attend a team meeting, ask them how they build team culture and camaraderie, and make sure it’s truly a place you see yourself wanting to be every day.  

To Join or Not to Join

There are a lot of benefits to joining a real estate team, but it’s not for everyone.  If you can’t see yourself willing to split your commission among the team, and keep enough for yourself,  then maybe being on your own is for you. Before making a decision, sit down and review your professional goals. Compare them to some of the benefits of being on a real estate team.  If they match, contact some teams and get a feel for their structure and culture. You should feel good about the fit before joining a real estate team. 

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