Should a New Real Estate Agent Join a Team – The Reality

Should a New Real Estate Agent Join a Team – The Reality


There are so many things to consider as a brand new agent, whether you should go ahead and join a real estate team or go the solo way.  


Are you the type of person who learns from failure, acts quick and doesn’t let it affect you in a negative way or set you back?


Or are you the type who is kind of fearful of failure and allows it to slow you down?


A team format maybe the answer for you.  But maybe not…


Quick Personal Story


I know coming into real estate industry at the age of 21, I was nervous, excited and didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  I’ve never really been involved in any real estate transaction and didn’t know the business at all.


However, one thing that I kept telling my parents when I was in college was, I am never going to work for someone else.


At 14 years Old, My Mindset Changed


My father was Superintendent of Schools.  I’m extremely proud of this man and his accomplishments.  However, when I was 14 year old, he says, We are going to be moving soon…  


It turned out the school board that he had, gained majority of power in a bad way.  They would outvote the other board members who were looking to do truly good things for the school district.  Which in turn handcuffed the improvements that my father was continuing implementing into the schools.


My pops says to me – The next term for the board is too far out and I will have my hands tied to do any more good in this district before I retire.


It was sad.  I knew what he was saying but we had to move from an area in South Jersey where I grew up.  I kept thinking about all that I would miss – My good friends, part time jobs, The Jersey Shore and more…  


My pops, went full force on a job hunt for Superintendent.  With his experience and skill set, he landed another job very fast with about a half dozen other offers from Jersey to Boston.  


He took his new position in Newton, New Jersey.  This is basically the top of North Jersey about 4 hours north…  An area that I would spend the last 4 years in high school before moving to sunny Florida.


PS – He did amazing things for that school district in a short 4 years before retiring…  


So, Why Am I Telling You This?


Well in high school, all I kept thinking was, what my pops was going through and how a school board had so much control over his position.  What he could do and not do. This really changed my mindset of going to work for someone else or an entity like a big company or even a school district.  


Should a New Real Estate Agent Join a TeamI wasn’t in favor of going to college, but I did.  Kind of fighting through it. My father would always say – Go to college, get a degree and get a good job.  I’m sure some of you reading this got the same advice…  


No thanks, right?!  I battled this. I knew no matter what I would not be put into a position to have to move or get fired etc.  


So, it was my personal experiences that I lived through that shaped me and my mind set.  I knew from the beginning that I was not interested in working for anyone. No matter what.


Take the time to reflect on your past.  What have you gone through when you were younger.  How did it shape you and your mindset? If in a negative way, are you able to work through it and change your mindset?  


Dissect Joining A Real Estate Team


This is so vital to think about before jumping into a team.  You should really dissect what you want and what your goals are for joining a team.  


You may be completely happy being in a position where you have structure, a team, leads and established systems.  Or you may be a raging bull looking to escape the barracks becoming that lone wolf looking to answer to no one.


Either way, I encourage you to look at yourself, your current mind set, your goals, wants and desires.  Put it all on paper and also begin to review below the positives and negatives of a real estate team.


The Negatives Of A Real Estate Team


You may choose the wrong real estate team.


Go with eyes wide open.  Carefully read and review what you are signing up for.  Is there a non compete? If you leave the team, what are the consequences?  Can you still close leads that were provided to you if you leave? If so, are there are different commission / referral splits?


There are several interview questions below which I encourage you to bring with you.  Add or alter as needed. Do not be emotional or uncalculated with this decision. Become as educated as possible on everything about this team.  The last thing you want to do is have your time or money wasted.


You Could Get Set Back


Choosing the wrong team could set you back months and even years.  Is the team successful with plenty of high quality leads? Are you guaranteed a certain amount of leads before coming on board?  Is there a “probation” period where you get no leads and have to work like a dog for free?


This can be prevented by simply doing your due diligence.  I think of this as a real estate flip. I want to do a high level of due diligence before closing to ensure that I am going to be happy with the deal and make money.


I will go as far as driving the neighborhoods at night.  Talking to neighbors. Walking the property multiple times.  Getting multiple contractors to inspect along with my own inspection / analysis.   


You should take the same precautions as this is a huge decision for your real estate growth.  


You May Not Make The Money You Were Promised


Should a New Real Estate Agent Join a TeamI have seen teams fall apart because agreements were not laid out in writing from the beginning.  Or the greed of another agent took over what they thought would be a good revised split because they did a little extra to help out.  


I hired on a new agent who was with a team for short period of time.  She was promised a 50/50 split. This was a verbal agreement and she agreed.  For about four months she busted butt to service the buyer leads and began to have closings.  Well when she got her first check instead of a 50/50 split, she ended up with about 28% on the deal.  


The team leader said she was responsible for what was owed to the brokerage including the mandatory transaction fee.  She argued with him with limited response. A few days later she had another closing around the same split.


She was pissed, rightfully so.  So cut her losses and we hired her on.  ** She had two more deals in escrow that closed with that agent where she did all the work.  He wound up paying her a 20% referral free based on a “verbal agreement” that was never talked about.    


It was a sad story.  She asked me for my advice.  I explained to her two things.  That was a $11,000 learning lesson that she will never do again.  And, her best bet is to let it go.


Quick Tip – If she consumed her mind with trying to sue and fight this greedy dipshit, she would actually lose future money.  Sometimes the fight isn’t worth the noise that is created. Once we got her mind completely removed from him, she soared!


By the way.  That dipshit agent lost a huge asset that would have made him hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.  She is incredible with people and a closer. Because of this guy’s short term greed, cost him hundreds of thousands in my estimation.


Tips #2 – Don’t be that guy.  It is ok to be hungry for money but not at the expense of others.  Stay true to your word and take care of others. You will be rewarded.  


What About Your Clients?


What if you procure your own buyer?  Is there a more favorable split? I have seen this happen where teams assume you would stay on the same split no matter what and agents would get discouraged.  


Make sure this conversation is spoken about as you will procure clients from your own Sphere Of Influence over the years.  Which I encourage you to read that article on how to generate a 10% annual return.  


You May Have Personality Conflicts


Should a New Real Estate Agent Join a TeamYou should really do your due diligence of everyone on the team.  Ask around. Find out what others in the office have to say about each person on the team.  They will know their personality traits way better than you and a few meetings with them. The evil sometimes doesn’t appear until much later.  


Listen to others and go on your hunch.  Ask each of the team members how they feel about the culture within the team.    


I know of a local real estate broker who has a small office and team.  I also know two of his buyer agents who despise the guy. I asked both of them (when they came to my office to interview) – Why are you still there?  


Their response is because of the money and consistent leads.  But also, I knew they are not confident going out on their own yet.  I don’t know about you, but with that type of abuse, I would move as fast as possible.


Quick Tip – Keep in mind, when you are pressed in hard times, you will figure a solution more so than being in a comfortable financial position.  And never, never, never allow someone to put you down, disrespect you or harm you in any negative way. If this does happen. Move quick no matter how much money is on the line.  


You May Become Restricted In A Real Estate Team


I think many of us get into this business to create a more flexible schedule and freedom.  Just make sure your goals align up the same.


Are you allowed to take a listing?  If you are buyers agent, many times the team leader will not allow you to take or service your own listing.  Even if it were your own mother.


Or what about leads?  What happens if you are not getting enough leads and have to drum up new business yourself?  You might be better off working for yourself then.


Are you required to do certain tasks for other teammates where it doesn’t make much sense?  More likely a scenario of being used.


Restricted Off Time


Should a New Real Estate Agent Join a TeamYou might find yourself in an inflexible schedule.  So be sure you know the expectations going into it. Are you expected to work every weekend?  Or is it flexible in nature? Are there other people to cover for you? If people do cover for you is there a different commission split?  Or just one and another helping each other out?


Lost Independence With A Real Estate Team


You will have to answer to someone in a team role no matter what.  So you will lose some of your control of your independence.


Can you handle this?  Is this why you got into real estate in the first place?  Or did you get in to be your own boss?


I would not set the expectations that you are going to enter a team and “do your own thing.”  So be sure to understand the complete fundamentals on the structure.


The Positives Of A Real Estate Team


Assuming you get with a great team of real estate agents who are there for each other’s success, there can be many great advantages.  So do not let the negative above deter you from exploring this option.


You Could Learn A Lot


Being a solo real estate can be very tough especially the learning curve if you are new to the industry.  Many times the team wants you to succeed. The successful teams have a mentality that if you succeed they will all succeed.  And everyone will make more money…


You also will likely get some personal initial trainings from the beginning that you may not likely get from your real estate office or broker.


Inside of a well ran team you will learn what others are doing well and become immersed in their actions.  


The learning curve will come a lot faster as well.  If you are part of a team doing high volume you are going to see the sales process take place in front of you from day one.  A big added benefit.


Ability To Make Money Faster With A Real Estate Team


Let’s face it.  You may have your real estate license.  And you might have one, two or three people that have already said they will buy or sell through you once you got it.  Is this it? Or you might not have anything at all…


A good team will likely put you out there fairly quickly to start closing deals.  Especially if they have a high level of leads flowing in that need to be serviced.  This is likely the reason why they are hiring. Right? If this is not the case, run.  

Should a New Real Estate Agent Join a Team

So as a new agent you likely will not have the systems, funds or resources for these funnels of leads coming in.  What’s the old saying… 50% of a watermelon is a hell of a lot more than 100% of a grape.


I have a handful of team scenarios that produce revenue.  A couple examples. One of which I am getting 33.3% of gross.  Another one I am getting 14% of gross. In both of these roles, there is limited time that I have to spend on each which allows for the creation of other profit opportunities.  


You Might Have Others Work For You


If you review our article on How To Build Your Real Estate Team in your first 12 Months, you will see some roles of a typical team.  There already maybe a Showing Assistant in the team ready to work with you hand in hand.  

This could be an incredible position to start in.  This person will pick up a lot of the tedious work like setting showing appointments, pre qualifying buyers, setting buyer appointments, creating buyer presentation packages, printing mls reports for showings and much more.


This role allows you to concentrate on your role, assuming that of a buyer’s agent, to get out there, show property and close the deal.


Quick Tip – It is a beautiful thing when you can leverage others.  Just keep this in mind as well if you go the solo route. An investment in other people will make you more money if you keep them busy and on track.  As mentioned in my example above, this relieves more time for you to create more revenue opportunity.


Understanding The Real Estate Team Machine


If you were like me and my initial story above about moving when I was 14 years old, you maybe the type who wants to learn as much as possible from this team with the goal to create your own.  


This is fine so as long as you are ethical and do not hurt the team or take anyone away from it.  Not all people are cut out to work for the team but maybe more of a manager or quarterback.


I would also be honest with your team.  If you take on the buyer agent role, explain you want to become a listing agent.  Who knows opportunity may open up in the team where you take on a more independent role and satisfy your wants / needs.  


You Have Companionship With A Real Estate Team


I think that everyone wants to be part of something or a belonging to.  This is the opportunity to develop incredible long lasting relationships and friendships.


Who knows.  This maybe the team which you are on from the beginning and to the end of your career.  Many good things can come up of a good team who trusts and relies on each other.


Upward Movement


Just like any other business, there may be opportunity for upward movement.  You might start as a buyer’s agent and move over to handling listing presentations for more money.  


Do you like managing people?  Maybe there is opportunity to be a team leader ensuring all parts of the machine are well tuned and running smooth.


Just be very open from the beginning of your interests and your willingness to move around in the team for growth, development and even the ability to make more money.  


So…   Should You Join A Real Estate Team?


Consider drafting out what you really want from this team.  Is it short term with the intention to branch out in 12 month?  Is it long term with the intention to move up in the ranks? Do you just want to learn and make some money?  


Do you want to test the waters to see if you like to work with buyers?  Would you rather work with Sellers? Are you more of a visionary who can see other ways to grow the team’s sales volume?  


Questions To Ask When Joining A Real Estate Team


I think you must have a plan when interviewing real estate teams such as the article I put together on Interviewing Brokers.  Review that article in detail as it will cover a lot in a similar fashion for the team interview.  However, some other questions to utilize as well.


  • What is the team structure and how is it set up?
  • What would my role specifically entail?
  • How are the commissions split up?  What would I be looking at?
  • Is there a salary or a drawl schedule?  
  • What is the expectation of the work schedule?
  • Is there a CRM that is used and how does it work?  Efficient?
  • Will I have others to help when needed?
  • Is there any training?  If so, what does that look like?
  • How would you describe the team culture?
  • What are you looking for in this role?
  • Is there a noncompete?
  • Will there be an agreement in writing between us?
  • Depending on the volume of sales, will I have someone assisting me?
  • Is there opportunity to grow within the team as well as financially?
  • How long have they been in the business?
  • What was the teams volume of sales last year?
  • What volume of sales do you expect me to do?
  • What areas do you sell in?
  • What is the typical price point?
  • How many active listings do you have?
  • Will there be a different split for any business I bring to the team?
  • Can I take listings that I procure?


As always if you have found this article useful, we encourage you to read some other useful content on this site and don’t forget to subscribe to SteveInvests!

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