Planning to build a real estate team? Check out this guide! From being financially prepared to hiring the right team members at the right time, our guide covers all the essentials you need to put together a solid and successful real estate team.
So you’ve been in the real estate industry for a few years and you have established yourself as a professional. Now, you’re aiming higher and wish to take your business to the next level and create a real estate team.
But you really have to ask yourself:
Are you truly ready to start a real estate team? Are there any pitfalls you should be wary of? And where would you even start?
Let’s take a look at 8 steps which will help you create a world-class real estate team.
1. Make sure you have the business
When is the best time to start thinking about building a real estate team? In short, when you have the business to justify it.
As a real estate agent, you have a huge number of responsibilities. You need to spend time prospecting for new leads, running marketing campaigns, meeting with clients, dealing with mortgage brokers, taking clients on property tours, etc.
All of these tasks are essential activities in your real estate career, and can’t be skipped. But the more your business grows, the more difficult it becomes to fulfill all of your real estate responsibilities. Eventually, you would reach a point where it’s literally impossible to serve any more clients, and you’ll be forced to turn people away.
This is, of course, a good problem to have 🧐. But just because you’ve reached this point it doesn't mean you have to immediately assemble an 8-person team.
Managing a real estate team is not something to be approached without preparation. You need to be ready mentally, professionally, and especially financially for it to work.
Sadly, there is no magic formula that tells you when is the right moment to start a real estate team. It all depends on your personal circumstances.
For example, Karen Blevins, a top producing Realtor of Churchill-Brown Real Estate in Oklahoma, started building her team when she reached 50 transactions a year.
Although she is often told that she could have started her team a lot earlier than that, she feels that she started her real estate team at the right time for her.
2. Get your systems in order
Before you start hiring people, you need to make sure you have all of your real estate processes and systems running like a finely tuned engine.
That way when you hire a new agent, you’ll offer them a solid structure to work from, and you’ll be able to plug the agent in and get him/her producing as quickly as possible.
Systems you need to get in order include (but are not limited to):
- Business vision, goals and plan - What are your financial goals, and how will your team achieve them? What qualities drive your business? Do you have a detailed plan to meet these goals?
- Branding guides - Which colors, fonts, slogans, and logos will your real estate team use? How will you design your business cards, website and signs, and listing packages?
- Tools and software - Which tools and productivity software will you need?
- Client database maintenance and growth plans - How will you grow and maintain your client base? What is your follow up system? Which software do you use to manage your contacts?
- Transaction management systems - How will you process all your real estate transactions?
- Internet presence and content marketing strategy - Do you have a real estate website? How will you market your properties online? What kind of content will you produce? How do you plan to expand your online presence in the future?
- Referral systems - How much are you willing to offer for a referral, both internally through your agents and between brokerages?
- Commission splits - How will you split commissions with your agents? Will you offer leads to your agents? And if they bring in their own leads, how will the split differ?
Remember that as you become a team leader, you also assume the role of manager. That means that your team members will look to you for guidance as to what processes they will need to follow.
If you don't have your house in order BEFORE you start hiring agents, your team will inevitably suffer from unnecessary slowdowns, losses of productivity and confusion.
3. Use a personality assessment tool to find great team members
When you hit a productivity peak, and you’re moving at lightspeed from one closing to another, and you suddenly find yourself with 30,000 tasks that need to be done by yesterday, it could be incredibly tempting to hire the first real estate agent that walks into your office interested in joining your brokerage.
But don’t fall for that temptation. It’s crucial that you hire agents with the right mindset and the right personality for the job and not simply an eager rookie that just got his/her license.
Bad hires will cost you time and mental energy. Someone that doesn't have the right attitude could become an energy vampire, and demoralize your entire team. Disruptive individuals will cause all sorts of unnecessary conflicts, and engage in sloppy or poor business practices.
In order to make sure that you have the right people with the right personality for the job, make use of personality assessment tools.
From the classic Myer-Briggs personality test, the DiSC model, Belbin’s team roles and even Keller Williams’ Keller Personality Assessment, there are plenty of tools available to help you find real estate team members with the right personality for the job.
It’s important to remember that while these tools will help you find people with the right mindset for the job, they are not perfect. The human mind is extremely complex, and it's impossible to completely distill someone's personality into a simple type.
There will be times in which these personality tests indicate you have hired the right person, but for some reason, that agent simply doesn't work. If that happens to you, don't wait too long. Take decisive action early, and be quick to replace any problematic agents from your team.
4. Hire an Administrative Assistant
When it comes to deciding who to hire first, there’s a lot of disagreement among real estate team leaders. Some argue that it’s better to hire a buyer’s agent first because a buyer’s agent gets paid a commission split, not a salary. As a result, a buyer’s agent wouldn’t cost you any money out pocket, would help you to convert leads you don’t have time to follow up on.
But on the other hand, it would be a wise move to hire an assistant first.
First of all, an assistant can be hired early in the process, way before you're ready to hire a buyer's agent. By doing so, you can make sure that all of your real estate systems are running smoothly, and everything is ready for the arrival of your new agents.
Your administrative assistant will also be instrumental in carrying your contracts from their first draft all the way to its closing day. This help will free you and your buyer's agent from spending countless hours on filling out the paperwork involved in the process.
While traditionally your administrative assistant would be an actual person sitting in the office, you also have the option to hire a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can do pretty much everything that a regular assistant can do. But if you hire one living in another country, you have the added possibility of getting an unbeatable price, thanks to exchange rates.
If you’re really concerned about the expense of hiring a full-time administrative assistant, then perhaps you’re not ready yet financially ready to start a real estate team.
5. Hire a Buyer’s Agent
Once you have all your real estate systems in place and you have an administrative assistant supporting them, you’ll be able to spend more of your time on producing more leads than ever before.
And once you start producing more leads than you can handle, it’s time to hire a buyer’s agent.
This agent’s main responsibilities will consist of lead conversion, showing properties, taking care of the buyer’s needs, making offers, negotiating, and prospecting for both buyer AND seller leads.
While it may be tempting to hire a rookie real estate agent that is willing to accept a lower commission split and could be coached and modeled into your image, it’s a better idea to hire an already experienced and established real estate agent.
An experienced real estate agent will be able to be productive right away and would be able to start adopting your real estate systems immediately.
All successful real estate teams start with an already successful and experienced real estate agent. And for the team to continue to be successful and grow stronger, it needs to attract other successful and talented agents.
6.Hire an Inside Sales Agent
Because you and your buyer’s agent will be busy closing deals, eventually you may find yourselves too busy to spend the necessary time to prospect, answering calls, and following up with potential new leads.
At this point, you would want to bring in an inside sales agent. This agent would be responsible for prospecting for new leads by contacting expired listings and FSBOs, past clients in your database, people in your collective sphere of influence, etc.
This agent can also nurture and follow up on those leads, and help convert them into scheduled appointments.
7.Hire a Listing Agent
As a real estate team leader, one of your main responsibilities is making sure that your buyer's agents are busy closing deals year-round.
But once you’re attracting so many clients that you can’t handle any more listings, it may be time to hire a seller’s agent to assist you with listings.
This agent will be instrumental in handling listings you’re too busy to take care of and will be able to add more listings to your team’s inventory as well.
The listing agent can also take care of some of your marketing duties, such as open houses and prospecting duties.
If you’ve made it to this point, congratulations! At this point, all of your major roles have been filled. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop here. As your real estate business grows even more, you may want to hire more buyers’ and sellers’ agents.
You may also consider hiring other specialists as well, such as a listing manager, a marketing director, showing assistants, transaction coordinators, rentals’ agents, a success coach, etc.
But once you get to that point, you will be able to rely on your own judgment and experience to decide who to hire and when.
Building a real estate team is taking your career to the next level. It shows your level of success and expertise, it enables you to increase your income, delegate tasks that do not suit your strengths and create and manage something you can be proud of.
Building and having a real estate team allows you the control of your business and your income levels. It is very rewarding and something that can be done relatively easily if you follow a designed system to do so.
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