December 2016 Article
Forming a Real Estate Team
By Jim Luger, CDEI
Certified Distance Education Instructor
Rules and regulations
Before you begin developing your team you must understand your state laws on hiring licensed and unlicensed employees or independent contractors. Consult with your company’s policies, and get the approval and advice of your broker.
Beginning with buyer’ agents
The best way to start a team is with an adequate listing inventory, because, hopefully, those listings will bring buyers to share with your team members. Busy listing agents often feel bogged down juggling showings and open houses while trying to properly service their sellers. If you feel you have the paperwork under control with good processes for team members to follow, you may elect to begin with finding a buyers’ agent to work with you.
Once you have a vision for your team, designed a detailed business plan for achieving it. Once you determine what your structure will be, and what role you and your team members will play, you will be ready to start the recruiting process.
Where will you find the best team members?
There are always people who are interested in working in the real estate business, and for some, the personal guidance and close-knit structure of a team would be appealing. A practical incentive is the possibility to earn a salary or obtain leads from the team leader while they learn the business. You may have already been approached by someone who would be a good fit as a team member. For instance, a customer or client who sees you are successful, and considers your job exciting and lucrative. Even though they might like enjoy a real estate career, a commission-only job or starting from scratch might be too risky. Another source is new agents in your office who are struggling, and would like to piggyback on your success. Be sure you consult with your broker or manager before approaching other agents in your company, however. The agents’ primary relationship is with the broker, both legally and contractually.
Choosing team mates
It’s flattering to have people search you out to be their leader, and it might seem easy to sell them on joining your team. But some of them might not be a right fit for your team. Before making that mutual decision, be sure they clearly answer these questions.
• What are their reasons for wanting to join your team?
• What can they do to benefit your team?
• Where do they see themselves in one year, and more importantly in three to five years?
Partnering as an alternative to a team
If your primary goal is to simply have more free time, a partnership might be more effective than a team. A partner can back you up when you are pursuing other activities. In this scenario, two agents are operating as one, and have agreed to some way of sharing commissions. Of course, two or more agents could work as partners and share a support staff, which could result in more income, and more time. You will still need to address such issues as who will manage the support staff and coordinate the functions of the partners.