May 27, 2022

7 Questions to Ask When Joining a Real Estate Team

Ashley Walsh
Ashley Walsh

The real estate industry has boomed in recent years as post-COVID homebuyers and sellers put postponed plans into action. Inventories remain tight and interest rates and home prices continue to rise, but the market remains strong. It’s still a great time to be or become a real estate agent!

Those new to the field face a choice, go it alone or join a team. Real estate professionals who work on their own may have their broker’s license and years of experience, or they may work independently while hanging their license with a brokerage.

If you decide to join a team instead — and it isn’t for everyone — you can network, divide job duties and pool your resources with other professionals. This article poses and answers seven questions to ask when joining a real estate team. It can help you make the right decisions on how you’ll pursue your real estate career.

Benefits of Joining a Real Estate Team

Some people go into real estate because they prefer to work alone. If you drive past a neighborhood with houses for sale, you'll probably see a sign with a single agent’s name and photograph. 

People often obtain their license and become successful on their own. However, it's not the only choice you have. Working as part of a team allows you to share the workload and exploit each member's unique talents. Additionally, joining a team can lead to rapid business growth.

Some of the advantages of joining a real estate team include:

  • Learn from mentors.
  • Expand your network.
  • Gain skill rapidly.
  • Get more leads!
  • Share marketing costs such as MLS fees.

There are some drawbacks to take into account for both approaches. Let's take a look at the seven questions that will help you determine the future configuration of your real estate practice.

1. What is the team’s focus?

The first question you should ask is what the team’s focus is. Here are a few examples:

  • Are they focused on residential properties?
  • Do the team members specialize in large commercial properties?
  • Are you looking to develop a niche, such as industrial properties?

Knowing the team’s focus will help you determine if this is the right business model for you. Also, you can start your own team instead of joining an existing one. In this case, once you determine your area of specialization, you can recruit team members who will help you generate enough leads to keep your sales agents productive.

2. Who are the team members?

Next, you’ll want to ask about the team members. Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What is their experience in real estate? It’s important to determine how your skills would fit into an existing team as well as what you can learn from other team members.

If you start your own team, here is one possible configuration:

  • Team leader: This agent typically determines the roles of other members and handles most of the listings. Sometimes, other agents bring in listings, but the lead generates most of the business.
  • Lead manager: Lead managers are the heart and soul of the business. They prospect for new business and follow up with potential leads from various marketing sources, including the team’s CRM. Often, lead managers, and there may be more than one, work within specific geographies to set up appointments and manage revenue targets.
  • Transaction coordinator: Typically, this is an administrative position. Transaction coordinators have the crucial task of submitting the purchase documentation and gathering documentation from the seller and buyer. They also coordinate with real estate agents on both sides of the transaction.
  • Members (often buyers' agents): These professionals work with buyers to expand the business and create a sales funnel for the team’s listings.

3. How big is the team?

The team’s size is also an important factor to consider. Are they a large team with many members? Or are they a small team with just a few people?

Smaller brokerages can positively impact your workload and how much responsibility you have. If you’re looking for a lighter workload, you might want to consider joining a large team. But if you’re looking for more responsibility and the opportunity to learn and grow, a smaller team might be a better fit. In addition, a smaller team might be more hands-on with their members, while a larger team might have a more formal management structure.

Keep in mind that joining a newer team might give you the opportunity to influence how it grows and evolves over time. Meeting with several potential teams can help you better understand the different structures in the industry, and which one might work best for you.

4. How does the money get divided?

Generally, there are two ways that real estate teams divide money:

  • Commission split: The buying and selling agents split the commission when the deal closes. If the listing and selling agent are in the same brokerage, the commission split may vary based on a prearranged agreement. By far, this is the most popular model, and it rewards individual rather than team performance. Of course, the broker also gets their share.
  • Salary plus bonus structure: In this case, you would receive a salary from the broker or owner, and then you would also receive a bonus for any deals you close. This model is typical when selling pre-construction or timeshares. (When you work directly for the seller, you don’t need a real estate license.)

Lead managers may earn a salary plus commission on leads that close, or some other compensation combination. Meanwhile, transaction coordinators often get paid per transaction or work for a set salary.

So, whichever way the team divides the money, make sure you understand how it works and that you’re getting a fair deal.

5. How do you source and nurture your leads?

Do you have a system in place for sourcing and nurturing your leads? If you’re looking for a brokerage that teaches you to source and nurture your own leads, join a team that has a mentoring system in place. If you’re looking for someone else to source and nurture your leads, you can buy lists or hire someone else to generate leads for you. Alternatively, you can work with another real estate professional who has a knack for lead generation.

6. How do you track performance?

If you are a sales agent, the team lead or broker will help you get started and may provide leads so that you can begin learning the business. Typically, performance is a direct result of how many leads or sales you contribute to.

But if the team uses a salary plus bonus structure, your work will be evaluated based on a number of factors, including the deals you close, the quality of your work, and more.

Note that failing to meet your commitments could result in expulsion from the team. This is why team goal-setting is crucial.

7. What is the team’s communication style?

How does the team communicate with each other? Do they use group chat? Do they have regular team meetings?

If the team uses group chat, you’ll need to be comfortable communicating via text. But if the team has regular team meetings, you’ll need to be comfortable speaking up in front of people.

So, before you join a brokerage, make sure you agree with the communication style of existing team members.

Final Thoughts

Joining a real estate team can be a great way to start your career in real estate. But it’s important to do your research and ask the right questions before joining a team. By asking the questions listed above, you can make sure you join a team that’s compatible with your working style and preferences.

Shaker’s end-to-end transaction management software allows teams to communicate and provide insight into projects. Request a demo today to see how Shaker can help you succeed in your real estate career!

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