Is Starting a Team Right (or Wrong) For You?

Repackaged with permission from Inman

If you have more leads than you can handle or a work-life balance problem that time-management techniques haven’t been able to fix, you may be thinking of starting a team.
A high-performing real estate team can be a great way to share the burden of managing transactions and increase your volume of business. That being said, you can also remain a successful individual agent with a robust business with the help of an assistant or like-minded colleague.

When and why a team makes sense

The fundamental question to answer before starting a team is like any other major career decision: why? It’s essential to have a strong plan and goals, such as increasing your business, providing better customer service, and improving your quality of life.

  • If you’re handling 30 to 40 resale transactions each year and have a pipeline of leads that could increase your volume even further, it may be the right time to expand your business with a team of assistants or agents.
  • If you’d like to spend more time doing what you do best, such as pitching potential sellers instead of handling the day-to-day transaction paperwork, a team can help you allocate resources and leverage your time.
  • If you’d like to start a family or spend more time with your family, a team can provide the support you need.
  • If you’ve got a long-term goal to monetize your business for residual income in retirement, a team may be the path you’re seeking.
  • Whether you’re relatively new to real estate but have the business acumen to build a team, or you have years of experience that you want to leverage to reach a new level of transaction volume, a team may be the business model that can help you meet your goals.

Reasons a team might not be right for you

While each of these situations makes considering a team worthwhile, it’s important to understand that starting a team shouldn’t be done on a whim.

First, it’s important to recognize your own personality and inclination to manage a team. Not every great salesperson is a great manager. A team leader requires a different skillset than a salesperson. Making the transition to manager means your first priority should be leading the people on your team rather than lead follow-up, lead generation, and customer service. Investing in management training can help you prepare to guide, educate, motivate, and inspire future team members.

Second, you need a business plan that outlines the costs, expected return, time it will take to see a return, and how you will pay team members. As an independent agent, you’re only responsible for your own income. As a team leader, you need to generate enough leads and transaction volume to pay salaries for support staff and share income with team members.

A team may be the right choice for you, but you should carefully evaluate your options for solving the issues that affect your business and life. It’s possible that hiring an assistant or collaborating with a trusted colleague on opportunities could be the solution you need. An assistant can free you to spend more time on lead generation and less time on paperwork. Perhaps there are other outsourcing options or established vendors that could meet your needs without requiring you to hire someone. Look at all the options and consider how you might structure a team to meet your goals.

A growing number of agents have found that teams are right for them. In fact, the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Teams Survey reported the number of real estate teams is growing, with 26 percent of respondents noting affiliation with a team.

Long & Foster recognized this trend a number of years ago, and the brokerage developed team building and succession strategy courses as part of its professional development curriculum. These programs supplement the company’s already robust training for individual agents, positioning Realtors for success no matter how they run their business.