The Real Estate Team Concept: Is It for You?
I welcome comments with pros or cons for either model.
Some events in life require team participation and others thrive with individual effort. Throughout our schooling the concepts of team cooperation and team spirit were drummed into us even down to the level of the chess team. I will admit that the chess team was a place where one could learn to play that game well, and the better the team dynamics, generally the better a school would fare in a chess meet. But when a game was on the line, the ability and the effort of the individual determined the end result.
Due to the recent promotion of the team concept in real estate in the past few years, I’ve had to ask myself, “Does leading a team or being on a team add anything to my current position of real estate broker*?” And the second and more important question is, “Does working with a team bring any advantage to a seller or a buyer in the real estate market place over working with an individual broker?
Real Estate teams are composed in many ways, but the basic components include the team leader, brokers who work with sellers, brokers who work with buyers, and brokers or non-licensed personnel who work in the office with specific details such has IT, social presence, transaction coordination and other functions necessary to assist those working with clients.
As a broker, how does being on a team help me? The new broker will have an educational system in place and have the opportunity to work in a mentor-like environment. As problems are encountered, the broker will be exposed to solutions and increase their overall abilities. Generally, a team will be able to provide leads to each team member in greater volume than a the lone broker can usually generate. The team presence is often viewed as having more business than other brokers, and therefore they may be considered the brokerage of choice by more people.
A broker with years of experience, perhaps would want to start a team. The more successful the team, the more successful each broker will be. And actually, this is the model that real estate has thrived under for years. A designated broker (now known in Washington as the designated broker for a Firm) presides, and if his skills extend beyond being a representative for his clients, into the ability to manage other brokers, success will be his. If it turns out that this individual is not “manager material”, he eventually will leave the business or end up working as an individual again.
What does a team bring to clients? Ideally, a well run team provides the buyer or seller client with a ready contact anytime during business hours. The team has specialist you stay current with on all aspects of their specialty. Some buyers and sellers feel that they get more service when there are more team members, and because of that, their needs may be more readily met.
As a broker, how is working alone an advantage? Brokers who work as individuals know that they are totally responsible for satisfying their clients. This may result in being able to work with fewer clients but the broker remains in control of the transaction from initial contact, previewing, showing, writing the offer, presenting the offer and following up right through to closing. There is often personnel in the office that do some paperwork control for the Firm which centrally handle things that the individual broker can rely on. Often times forms are provided this way. Conference rooms are made available and so forth.
What does the individual style of broker relationship bring to the client? Some buyers and sellers choose an agent based on personality and trust. If not informed of the team concept early in the relationship, the client may not like being shuttled from one broker to another during the process. Often times personalities don’t mesh.
When looking for a real estate broker to help you with a purchase, a sale, or both, be sure to ask if the broker works on a team or if that broker works alone, and make sure that you are comfortable with the process you will be involved in. Closings at minimum take about a month and often take as long as six months. You want to be comfortable with the person or people you will often be in contact with.
*All real estate licensees in Washington State are now referred to as brokers. A broker is only an agent if he is in a contract (real or implied) with a buyer or seller to represent them in a transaction.
Previously published on Puget Sound Professional Real Estate Group