March 2014 Article

Starting or Joining a Real Estate Team

What is a real estate team?
Real estate team expert, Tomi Nelson, defines a real estate team as two or more people working together towards common real estate goals. This might be a team leader and one assistant, or it could include multiple agents supported by a common group of support personnel. Real estate teams often begin with two agents acting as one in providing real estate services to buyers and sellers. A team may start up or grow to include multiple team members who typically would operate under the direction of a team leader. Each team member may be responsible for a specific, specialized function, such as marketing, working strictly with buyers or coordinating the closings. In another type of team, each team member may carry out all the functions of a real estate agent while combining their production with the other team members’ production. Teams usually operate within mid-sized to large firms. In some cases, an entire firm operates as one team under the leadership of the broker.
Are you ready to lead a team?
Leadership requires skills like training, coaching, giving constructive feedback and resolving conflicts. Some say leaders are born, not made, but the good news is that these skills can be learned. What’s more important to start with is that you have the passion to succeed, and the ability to inspire others to reach their goals.
The team vision statement
It’s important to start with a vision, but you should review your vision statement at least once a year, and more often depending on how quickly you are adding team members. When you review your vision statement with your team, involve all team members. Start a dialogue and get everyone’s input. The vision statement should compel and inspire all team members, and should:
• Set a standard of excellence
• Clarify your team’s direction and purpose
• Inspire enthusiasm and commitment
• Bridge the present with the future
• Be clear and easy to understand
• Not be limited by current circumstances
To join or not to join
Regardless of where you are, a new agent just starting your real estate career, an experienced agent who is looking for an alternative to working solo, or an existing team member who is thinking of changing teams or going solo, there are pros and cons to each path. You must consider your particular circumstances and ask: What will I gain, and what will I lose?
Experienced agents
An experienced agent’s primary motivation for wanting to join a team may differ from that of the new agent. Experienced agents may be looking for more free time and/or the camaraderie and support a team might offer.
New agents
If you’re just starting your real estate career, you might not know the benefits and drawbacks of joining a team. First, let’s look at some common benefits:
• A ready access to buyers that are generated by the team leader’s listings
• Team support staff that handles the closing and listing paperwork, and helps to keep you organized
• The support of other team members when you are faced with complicated situations
• The team leader may serve as a valuable mentor, who is invested in your success
Some downsides to joining a team are a loss of personal branding, being prohibited from working with past clients if you leave the team, and if a team’s reputation is poor, it could negatively affect your reputation.
Responsible brokers
As a broker, you should decide whether teams are compatible with your company’s goals. If so, you should think about strategies for managing team leaders, and defining the team leader’s responsibilities. 

To learn more about starting and managing a real estate team, selecting a team that’s right for you to join, or developing policies for teams within your brokerage firm, see our new 3-hour CE course, “Real Estate Teams.”

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