September 20, 2022

Real Estate Team Models: Which One Is Right for You?

Ashley Walsh
Ashley Walsh

Real estate agents may be looking for effective ways to increase lead generation, speed up administrative work, boost sales, and stay competitive. Creating a team or brokerage is one of the most popular ways to grow a real estate business since groups are more powerful than individuals. 

However, the structures matter a great deal to their performance. In fact, team leaders should carefully select real estate team models for their businesses and those joining the team. If the structure is a poor fit, real estate agencies can suffer from disorganization, lack of defined responsibilities, poor teamwork, and ultimately, client and revenue loss.

Fortunately, understanding how to structure real estate teams is not difficult. Follow along with this article to gain key insights into why real estate team models matter and the top ways to build successful real estate teams.

Why Do Real Estate Team Models Matter?

Real estate teams are a fairly new phenomenon, as most real estate agents tend to work as isolated entities. Today, teams are becoming a more popular choice due to their strength and speed. Yet, real estate team model development is still young. Since it is still new territory for many firms, spending time on developing the right structure pays off.

Some types of companies may benefit from a one-size-fits-all approach to team structure. Typically, this looks like a hierarchical structure, delegating high-level tasks to executives and lower-level tasks to increasingly larger groups of workers. Real estate models can look different from this traditional structure and often thrive by approaching business in a distinct manner.

One of the reasons this occurs is because responsibilities and workload designation may differ depending on how many people are on your team, the expertise of each team member, the territory you are covering, the current status of your company, and the business goals. If you consider each of these elements in choosing your new structure, you will be able to integrate defined team roles and ranks, designate tasks, and assign appropriate workloads. As such, you will reap any or all of the following benefits:

  • Assignments completed promptly
  • Routine tasks and complex, expert tasks taken by appropriate team members
  • Team and project coordination
  • Strong relationships between co-workers and the overall company
  • Defined brand, mission, and values
  • Clear communication between team members, departments, and clients
  • Flexibility in workload and schedule for version team members
  • Greater team goal setting and achievement
  • Increased lead generation and client acquisition
  • Possibility for expansion as customer satisfaction, productivity, and flexibility grows
  • Easy structures on which to base salary or commissions

How To Structure Real Estate Teams

If you are ready to set up a real estate team, you may wish to base your structure on any of the top four real estate team models:

  • Partnership
  • Informal
  • Lead Generator
  • Team Leader

Each of the structures may only work for specific situations. However, remember that you can alter them to accommodate more or fewer team members or swap out positions depending on who you need in your organization.


A partnership is a small-scale team, typically combining two or three real estate agents. This is a common situation for family businesses. Every partner will exist on the same tier as the other and may have an assistant that helps them with their day-to-day tasks. A partner may specialize in one domain, such as sales or operations, although this may be closer to the Team Leader model. As the business grows, the partnership may evolve into a different model or take on new lower-ranking hires under each partner.

A real estate partnership can be an excellent idea for individuals with particular strengths that their partners can fill with their expertise and experience. While one agent may not be able to scale their business independently, this real estate team model allows them to generate growth and success. Additionally, it will enable each partner to bring resources into the firm, such as capital, investors, or clients. This can be a significant advantage when competing with other real estate brokers. For the same reason, partnerships may only be ideal for agents with sound footing in the real estate market. They need to be able to bring substance to the business for it to thrive.


An informal real estate team model is a short-term solution structure. When real estate agents become overwhelmed with leads, administrative tasks, showings, or follow-ups, they may outsource some functions to external real estate agents. Effectively, they will act as team leads for their hired hands.

Informal structures work well for both the team lead and the referred agents. Typically, the agents earn 100% of any sales commission, while the lead agent maintains their business, brand, and client base. However, this type of real estate team is unadvisable in the long run. Lead agents do not have a large amount of control over how the referrals conduct business, nor can they control if referrals prioritize their leads.

Lead Generator

A lead generator real estate team is a good choice for real estate agents who have strong sales abilities, can handle large amounts of responsibility, and enjoy nurturing businesses and people. This real estate model starts at the top with the lead agent or listing agent. They will manage and lead a team of assistants and buying agents. A variation of the lead generator model is the hero model, involving bringing new real estate agents underneath the experienced agent. In the same way, the leader must mentor the hires.

There are many positives to adopting a lead generator structure out of all the real estate team models. If appropriately managed, there is great potential for productivity, client bases, networks, revenues, and time and resources. An agency using this model can scale incredibly fast, as numerous leads can pour into the business, and conversions are swift. However, the lead agent must have a business and management mindset and sales expertise. Likewise, they must have investors or start-up capital to fund their team and lead generation. It is also a good idea to have effective transaction management software in place so agents can work easily and quickly with each other.

Team Leader

A team leader model is similar to an expanded partnership; however, each partner handles a particular domain of the firm. A typical split is between Sales and Operations. One partner, with expertise in business and administration, will take their own team consisting of a business manager and a marketing manager. The other partner, with experience in real estate and sales, will lead a team of listing agents, showing agents, and marketing professionals. Each team can have assistants, depending on how the business scales.

This real estate team is about cohesion. Everyone on the team works towards a common mission and holds similar values rather than promoting themselves as agents. Focuses include maintaining clear marketing messages and providing excellent customer experiences. The model works best for agencies that value slow and sustained growth over fast scalability. The key members must desire to establish a clear brand, hire team members who fit their company, nurture their teams well over a long period, and establish technology or software systems that streamline critical processes across the business.

Set Up Your Real Estate Business for Success

Understanding how to structure real estate teams is a significant portion of setting up your business for success. Whether you choose a partnership, informal, lead generator, or team leader, leading, supporting, and empowering your real estate agents is essential. While structures assist in rank, roles, and flow, they still need adequate direction and resources to accomplish their tasks to the best of their abilities. Set up a world-class partnership by taking the necessary steps at the beginning of your journey.

Shaker management software can help you, and your team streamline day-to-day tasks, smooth out client to agent communication, track transactions, and keep details in one convenient location. When your whole team has access to this advanced technology, they will find collaboration, tasks, and goal achievement much easier. Learn more about how Shaker software can help your team, and request a demo today!

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