Building a successful real estate team takes time, organization, communication, and planning. One of the key factors is understanding real estate team structures and each team member’s role. You should also understand the benefits and drawbacks of working in a team before joining a local real estate team.

If you’re deciding whether to join a team or pursue leads as an individual agent, you should know about building a sphere of influence in your local real estate market. It can be invaluable to your personal growth to find a great mentor to learn from. And likewise, if you are an experienced agent, mentoring a junior colleague can benefit you as well as your mentee.

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What Is a Real Estate Team and What Types of Teams Are There?

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A real estate team is a group of real estate agents who work together to pursue the same leads. A team is usually a smaller set of agents within a brokerage. In many real estate team structures, the listing agents and the buyer agents are divided into separate teams.

There are many real estate team structures out there. However, the three most successful are also the three most common types: The mentor model, team leader model, and lead team model. The next section explores each real estate team structure in more depth.

The Mentor Model (The Hero Team)

Team leaders with more experience can help new real estate agents kickstart their careers in exchange for a commission split for any transactions the new agent completes during their membership with the team. Many teams with this model usually offer a 12-24-month mentorship program. This structure allows for MLM commission downlines for the team leader over each of their mentees.

Many chain brokerages like Keller Williams and Exit use the mentor model. The brokerage handles marketing and operations while the team focuses on sales, lead generation, and listings. However, sooner rather than later, new agents leave to start their own careers as individual agents or team leaders.

The Team Leader Model (The Team Builder)

The next of the real estate team structures is the Team Leader Model. This model involves sales and operations working together to generate and pursue leads, market listings, and develop geographic farming strategies. The team leader is often the lead listing agent working over other listing and showing agents on the sales side. There is also a business manager, marketing managers, and other operations professionals working on the operations side.

The team leader model provides team members with leads. However, half or more of an individual agent’s leads should come from their own sphere of influence. The commission split is often 50/50, although some teams may split 60/40 in the agent’s favor if the agent closed the deal with one of their own leads.

The Lead Team Model (The Business Operations Team)

The lead team model also separates the team into sales and operations, but sales include inside and outside sales. The lead manager will send inbound leads, prequalification questions, and lead assignments to the inside sales team in operations. The sales team will receive leads for listing appointments, contracts, and showings as part of outside sales.

The lead team model is the costliest. This is because it relies heavily on advertising and requires a large number of salaried staff rather than commissioned agents. However, if done right, this model is also the easiest to scale and the most stable in the long run. This is in part because successful agents don’t have to leave to pursue independent careers. Instead, they come to rely on the support that is offered within this real estate team structure.

Important Real Estate Team Relationships to Understand

You can find other types of real estate team structures. This may include family based teams, informal teams where agents share lead prospecting and support each other without designating specific roles, and the other version of the hero team where the mentees simply support the hero agent’s growth rather than learning from them as a mentor.

These other real estate team structures can sometimes create wonderful opportunities for agents that join them. But they may also create friction and dissension between team members and team leaders. Be sure that you understand the real estate team structure, the roles and responsibilities of the team members, and where you will fit into that structure if you join the team.

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Pros of Joining a Real Estate Team

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Several potential advantages exist to joining a real estate team, including:

  • Team lead generation, which can help you build your reputation first as part of the team and later as you start your career as an individual agent
  • Shared support and resources, which can help you manage the costs of a real estate business while still getting appointments, leads, and access to marketing tools and software
  • Continuing education, which in a constantly changing field can help you stay ahead of the curve in learning new regulations, real estate market trends, and other industry knowledge
  • Work-life balance, which isn’t as much of a struggle as you learn to delegate and share responsibilities among your team members rather than managing your entire real estate business yourself

Cons of Joining a Real Estate Team

Some potential drawbacks to joining a real estate team to consider include:

  • Possible negative team dynamics can hinder team performance and add work to your plate
  • Split commissions mean that you have reduced earning opportunities compared with working as an individual agent
  • Team branding and no personal control can make it difficult to grow your own reputation as a local real estate agent, especially when you need approval for your marketing and lead generation ideas

Benefits of Working in a Real Estate Team for New and Experienced Real Estate Agents

Both new and experienced real estate agents can benefit from joining a team. New agents can take advantage of learning from their more experienced peers. They can learn which marketing strategies work without having to invest in marketing and carry the overhead on their own.

Experienced agents gain access to costly resources through the team and can network with newer agents on the team to build more industry connections.

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Now that you know more about real estate team structure, make sure to check out these questions to ask before joining a real estate team. Want more free resources for real estate agents, team leaders, and brokers? Subscribe to our newsletter at Local Leader®, where we provide free digital resources for real estate industry professionals.