Last Updated on August 22, 2019 by Mark Ferguson
Becoming a successful real estate agent is not easy, because it takes time to sell enough houses to make a good living. The great thing about being a real estate agent is you can make a lot of money if you work hard, have a plan, and stick to it. You don’t have to do everything yourself as an agent. Joining a successful real estate team is a great way to jumpstart your career and make more money. I run a successful real estate team and I have been part of a team my entire real estate career. Being on a team has huge advantages; you learn from experienced agents, you get leads, you have someone to go to for advice, and you won’t have to pay for everything yourself!
Why do agents create teams?
There are many reasons an agent will create a real estate team. The goal of most agents is to sell a lot of houses by building up their client base and getting referrals from past clients and their circle of influence. When a real estate agent builds a big enough circle of influence they will start to see many referrals and leads come in. Some agents are happy doing enough business to keep themselves busy, while others look to expand and take advantage of all those leads. When a real estate agent gets busy, their first hire should be an assistant to help with contracts and paperwork. After the agent has an assistant to help with the busy work and they still can’t keep up, they look to hire more agents.
The agent who starts a team will make money off the agents they hire because they take a split of the agent’s commissions. Some lead agents will provide training, pay office bills, and offer other perks to get agents on their team. When an agent becomes successful, starting a team is a great way to build off their success by adding agents and making money without selling more houses themselves.
How can new agents get started?
It is hard to get started as a real estate agent, because you only make money when you sell houses, and it can take months before you sell your first house. The average agent makes less than $20,000 in their first year because it takes time to become established. As a new agent figuring out how to get leads, what to spend money on and how to sell houses is difficult.
When you choose a broker to work with they may or may not offer training. Real estate classes do not teach how to sell houses, but the laws and regulations regarding the process of selling houses. Learning from a mentor who has been successful in your market is the best way to learn how to sell houses and build your business. It will drastically reduce the learning curve when starting out as an agent and save you money as well.
What are commissions splits on teams?
The lead agent will take a part of each agent’s commission in return for the services and training they offer. However, that does not mean a new agent will earn much less on a team than they would on their own. New agents usually will receive a lower commission split than experienced agents when they join an office. The fewer houses you sell, the less money you make the office, and the smaller commission split you will get. When you join a real estate team, the team leader most likely sells a lot of houses and will have a very high commission split. In some cases, the team leader may even be the broker and will not have to split any of his team’s commissions with the office. In my office, I am not the broker, but I am on a 100 percent commission split because I pay a base fee every year to my broker.
Since the lead agent gets most or all the commission, they can pay agents on their team close to what that agent would make on their own. I offer agents on my team a 50/50 split on all deals they do (I offer a better split for more experienced agents). Some teams offer different commissions depending on where a lead came from; the team or the agent. I offer the same split no matter where the lead came from because I want agents working just as hard on my leads as their own. There is also difficulty knowing where a lead actually came from because calls come in from for sale signs and other sources that cannot be tracked.
Even though some teams may offer a higher split than other teams, a real estate agent does not always want the higher split. New real estate agents need training and mentoring to learn the business and become successful. The more training an agent gets, the more deals they will do, and the more money they will make. The higher commission split does not mean more money but does usually mean less training and help. I like to tell new agents 100 percent of $0 is still $0. A lot of agents make very little money trying to do everything on their own with no training.
What education do teams offer?
When you get your real estate license the courses do not teach you how to get business. You have to learn how to build your business on your own or with the help of a mentor. Here are a few things a new agent will learn from a real estate team.
- There are many companies out there who promise great leads to agents. Some of those lead sources are okay and some are a complete ripoff. I discuss real estate leads in this article, but a new agent can easily go broke trying out different lead sources. The best way to build the business is not from buying leads, but from building a database from people you already know. A real estate team will help you decide where to spend money and which programs are worth paying for.
- A great real estate team will also provide training for new agents. I have a team meeting every week with training sessions and I am thinking about holding meetings every day to increase my team’s performance. My training sessions discuss lead sources, how to talk to clients, how to talk to new leads, what you can and can’t say, how to prospect, how to work with investors and much more.
- A real estate team will help agents with paperwork and contracts. My least favorite part of real estate is dealing with paperwork. I have assistants on my team who handle almost all paperwork for me, and they help other agents on my team with paperwork as well. We teach our agents how to handle inspections, appraisals, loans, closings, contracts, the MLS and more, but my assistant can create all the contracts and addendums for those tasks.
- Our team teaches agents how to build a database. We teach our agents how to meet people, how to contact people, who to contact and how to follow-up. This is the most important part of being an agent and new agents have no idea how to get started with it.
Will agents make more money on their own?
I already discussed why a lower commission split with a team may not equal less money to a new agent. How exactly can a real estate team help a new agent make more money?
- A team will help you learn the business and they will give you leads in many cases. With my team I let them put name riders, on my listings and their names go on all the advertising. I don’t work with buyers because I am busy with many other money-making activities. We also have a lead line that goes to agents’ cell phones in a round robin style format. That line has leads coming in from advertising, websites, Zillow and many more sources.
- My team makes our agents hold open houses to get business. We have many listings, which make it easy for our agents to find houses to hold open. We also provide training on the best way to hold open houses and get clients from them.
- My goal is to have every agent on my team take home $100,000 a year. The more money my agents make a year, the more money I make. I am motivated to help my agents succeed and sell as many houses as possible. Not only does a team help agents sell houses by providing leads and training, but they also provide motivation and push agents to succeed.
- A team should provide books, CDs, and other learning material to their agents. I signed up for a real estate agent training course that provides training CDs every month. We give those CDs to all our agents to listen to and we also give them good books to help them succeed.
- A real estate team should have accountability with their agents. We help our agents create and track their goals in the business and life. We provide tracking sheets that help agents determine how many people they have to talk to and meet to reach those goals.
- My team holds events like happy hours that the entire team attends and invites clients too. These events help our team build better relationships and keep in touch with their best lead sources; people.
- A real estate team may also help agents with expenses such as advertising, board dues, licensing fees, continuing education, and office bills. I take all my CE credits online a Real Estate Express, which also offers licensing programs.
- Some real estate teams may even offer hourly wages to help with tasks, which can be a huge bonus to new agents.
Who should consider a team?
This article is geared towards new agents starting a career, but established agents will benefit from a team as well. If a team is set up well, it will help an established agent sell more houses by providing support staff, leads, accountability and help when an agent is sick or goes on vacation. Our goal is to let our agents sell houses, while our staff takes care of the advertising, paperwork and lead generation. I know I sell many more houses with a team and help than I ever could on my own.
How can you find a team?
The best way to find a real estate team is to find out what agents are selling the most houses in your area. The most successful agents usually have a team and if they don’t, they need a team! Contact those agents that sell the most houses and see if they hire new agents on their team or are looking for assistants to help their team. You can also check with different offices to see if there are real estate teams in their office that are looking for new agents. My real estate team in Northern Colorado (Greeley) is always looking for new agents to join our team. New agents that join our team must be highly motivated, be available full-time, have a great work ethic and be willing to talk on the phone a lot. A real estate team will help agents succeed, but agents still have to work very hard to succeed.
Update on my team and office
I ran my team for many years but opened my own office in 2018. Blue Steel Real Estate was opened for many reasons and I am the managing broker of the office. I no longer have a team, but an office! If any agents are interested in joining, send me an email [email protected].
Joining a real estate team can be a huge boost to any real estate agent’s career. Not every real estate team is the same and not every real estate team will provide the training and support agents are looking for. If you are interviewing to join a real estate team, do more than answer their questions. Ask the team what training they provide, what leads they provide and how they will help you succeed. We do our best to help our agents succeed, but some teams add agents hoping they will sell houses without showing them how to sell houses.