If you're just starting as a Realtor, you have a big decision ahead of you. Should you become an independent real estate agent, or would you be better off joining a real estate agent team? Being a Realtor can be an inspiring, profitable career – but as with any business, your success depends on your ability to make the right call that will benefit you the most. Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to the real estate team vs. solo agent question. With pros and cons on both sides, your decision will ultimately come down to your personality and work style. In this article, we'll give you a detailed look at what it's like to join a real estate team, as well as an idea of how solo agents navigate the waters of working alone, so you can get a better idea of what will work best for you.
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Should I Join a Real Estate Team?
When you start as a newly licensed Realtor, the business can quickly begin to feel more than a little overwhelming. You need to print up some business cards, create a website, upgrade your phone and internet services and, of course, find some good deals on real estate yard signs even before you start looking for leads. When you're an independent real estate agent, the costs of getting your business up and running can start to add up. And of course, you'll need to factor in the cost of your time spent on networking and business development.
These factors are just some of the reasons why many new Realtors choose to join a real estate team over going it alone. Starting as a real estate agent on a team allows two or more Realtors to work together, share leads, marketing strategies and utilize a commission split. Let's look at some of the pros and cons of joining a real estate team.
The Benefits of Joining a Real Estate Team
Joining an established real estate agent team can help you reduce your initial costs and get you set up faster. A real estate agent team might help share the cost of association dues, licenses, multiple listing service fees and marketing materials such as real estate signs and riders. In addition, you can consider the benefits that an established team will already have access to office space, phone lines and a solidified marketing strategy.
In most cases, people consider joining a real estate team because they won't have to struggle to generate their own leads. Real estate agent teams generally have a working lead generation system already in place. You'll be assigned leads to follow – saving you the need to spend hours or days looking for clients and properties.
Another one of the benefits of joining a real estate team is the chance to collaborate with other Realtors who are likely to share their industry experience with you. Like with most careers, certain Realtors will have specialized knowledge in certain parts of the business. You can learn a lot from collaborating with others in areas that can be challenging to grasp as a solo real estate agent.
Some other significant benefits of joining a real estate agent team include:
- Flexibility in Your Working Schedule
- Camaraderie in a Cut-Throat Industry
- Role Division
- Administrative Support & Access to Important Resources
The Cons of Joining a Real Estate Team
Working on a real estate agent team isn't for everyone. Joining an established company may force you to give up a lot of control over your work. In reality, the marketing of a real estate agent team isn't yours – it's your company's. This can make it hard for some individuals to establish their own reputation, a valuable commodity as a Realtor.
You'll also have to give up a portion of any commission you make due to commission splits, meaning an amount of the money you make will be channeled back into the business itself to cover various expenses like signs, business cards and other sales tools.
To do well on a real estate agent team, you have to find the right team; a problematic team can prove even more challenging to navigate than going out as a solo realtor. Poorly run real estate agent teams often operate on a less than desirable model, where team leaders will work with the best clients and pass off the problematic or low-income clients to the rest of the team. This can lead to many real estate agent teams competing with their team leaders rather than establishing a community of camaraderie.
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Can I Be an Independent Real Estate Agent?
Do you think you can be an independent real estate agent? When it comes to independent real estate agents, you either succeed or fail all on your own. It can be a harsh industry, so it's going to take some grit and determination on your part. Many people have gone on to successful careers as solo agents, but it's best to know the benefits and drawbacks before making the initial choice. Here are some of the pros and cons of working as an independent real estate agent.
The Pros of Becoming a Solo Real Estate Agent
One of the most significant advantages of working as a solo agent is the total control you have over your time, business and sales and marketing tactics. If you're confident in your abilities, you can set your own schedule and establish your brand to match who you are. This can be extremely important in an industry centered around making connections with people.
You also won't have to split your commission – a huge selling point for most Realtors (though you will have to pay a portion of your commission to a broker).
Cons of Working as an Independent Real Estate Agent
Becoming a solo real estate agent comes with a significant amount of risk, potentially having considerable drawbacks. When starting as a real estate agent, you'll need to have a good amount of money in your savings to cover your expenses for at least six to eight months. You won't have a full real estate agent team to help you cover upfront costs, so they all land on your shoulders.
Additionally, even though you won't have a real estate agent team, you'll still have to work under a broker for at least two years when you first receive your real estate license. Even though you'll technically be working independently, your license must hang in your broker's office, and they will oversee your activities. This can be especially challenging for some people – the whole point of becoming an independent real estate agent is so you won't have to answer to anyone.
You also won't have anyone to share the work with either. One of the most significant benefits of being an independent real estate agent is its biggest cons. It will be entirely up to you to show new homes, research homes to sell, hold open houses, conduct walkthrough tours and negotiate offers.
Not to mention, you're in competition with everyone. Unlike a team setting, every other Realtor in your building will be your direct competition. It would be an understatement to say it's cut-throat. It's a closed-door style of work which understandably doesn't sit well with everyone. To add to this environment of competition, your broker won't care much about your personal production – they only care about getting more homes sold. To do this, they bring on more and more solo agents, which creates more competition.
How to Choose the Right Path (For You)
The decision to join a real estate team or become a solo agent is a highly personal choice. Frankly, we can't say one way is better than the other – it all depends on you and how you work. If you find comfort in numbers and a team to help you with expenses, a real estate agent team might be your best choice. If you've been dreaming about the day you can start your own business, run it your own way, and have the drive to make it happen, becoming an independent real estate agent could work to your benefit.
Clients choose teams or solo agents based on personality and working style – it will be a different experience for everyone. Think about what you want, how you work and if you have the means to make things happen.
If You're Starting as a Real Estate Agent,
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