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’re wondering how to build a real estate team that’ll spearhead your hyperlocal market. Many agents find themselves at this point after being in the real estate industry for a few years. It could be time to aim higher and take your business to the next level with your own 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?
What Defines a Great Real Estate Team?
Any licensed real estate professional can start a real estate team. Most new teams are formed by agents or brokers who have reached the limit of real estate work they can do by themselves. The size of a real estate team varies widely from a humble duo to several licensed and unlicensed professionals working together on everything from admin to marketing and selling properties.
The success of a real estate team comes down to selecting members with complementary skill sets and working towards the common goal of closing deals. Each team member should be invested in one another’s success and the success of the group as a whole. This way, any time a member of the team is dealing with a challenge, there’s an in-house ally to help figure it all out.
Let’s take a look at 9 steps that will show you how to build a successful real estate team.
1. Start with You
Check in with yourself and your career history. Do you have the makings of a strong leader? As team lead, you’ll set the tone for your team. The ability to inspire and motivate your team is crucial in order to guide them in the right direction.
Of course, leadership qualities can be developed with time, but it can’t hurt to reflect on your weaknesses and make an effort to improve them before taking on a new, heavy responsibility.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look through these 9 ways real estate agents can gain confidence.
2. 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.
Real estate agents 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. The more your business grows, the more difficult it becomes to fulfill all of your real estate responsibilities. Eventually, you’ll 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 a multi-person team structure.
Knowing how to build a real estate team requires a fair amount of 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 adding new team members 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.
3. 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 new real estate agents, you’ll offer them a solid structure to work from, and you’ll be able to plug the agent in and get them producing as quickly as possible.
Systems you need include (but are not limited to):
- 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? At AgentFire, our designers can help you create a unique brand identity, customized for your real estate team with our branding and logo integration.
- Tools and software – Which tools and productivity software will you need? There are a million ways to structure your work day, but how will you make sure your team stays on task? Tools such as ClickTime help real estate professionals stay accountable and keep track of work done within the brokerage.
- 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? A reliable and dynamic CRM is a must in every real estate business. Your CRM is the foundation of your client contact information management and should be organized to make following up and reaching out easy and intuitive. For example, you can use your CRM to organize warm prospects into a marketing funnel and assign prospecting groups to different team members. AgentFire websites offer a CRM integration that automatically aggregates any online lead into your CRM, hassle free.
- Transaction management systems – How will you process all your real estate transactions? Software such as BrokerMint or Paperless Pipeline automate reminders, tasks, and keep record of finances. However, as your office grows, you’ll want to step up to a real transaction coordinator.
- 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? Before you jump in to any type of digital marketing, you’ll need a digital marketing strategy made specifically for your real estate business and clientele. The basis of this strategy will be your real estate website. For a website that is made to generate leads and foster overall real estate business success, reach out to our talented web designers at AgentFire and we’ll get you on the right track.
Baird & Warner does a great job of leveraging content marketing on their website by means of their blog.
- 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.
4. Use a Personality Assessment Tool To Find Great Team Members
When you hit a productivity peak and you’re moving at lightning speed from one closing to another, or you suddenly find yourself with 30,000 tasks that need to be done by yesterday, it’s incredibly tempting to hire the first real estate agent that walks into your office interested in joining your brokerage. But don’t fall for it.
It’s crucial that you hire real estate agents with the right mindset and personality for the job and not simply an eager rookie that just got his/her license. For long-term success, you’ll need a team that is fully dedicated and inline with your values.
Bad hires will cost you time and mental energy. Someone who 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.
When you’re just starting to build your real estate team, it’s often recommended not to hire any new agents with less than 6 months experience. These agents may need extra guidance and mentoring that you won’t have the time to provide if you’re busy building a new business. Instead, wait until you’ve hired some senior agents that can take on a mentoring role if need be.
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. Before you let someone go, ask yourself if you’ve followed through as a great leader by providing all the necessary tools and support. If the answer is yes and that member is still not pulling their weight, don’t wait too long. Take decisive action early, and be quick to replace any problematic agents from your team.
5. Get To Know Your Team
When you’ve found the right team members, the next step is finding out how foster a positive team atmosphere. Look into which personality types work well together and with each type of client. For example, a charismatic ESFJ agent can help an introverted INTJ learn how to relax during tense client discussions. An ENTJ who loves being around others would do a great job sourcing leads through community outreach and local events. An ISFJ, on the other hand, gets drained from too much socializing and should focus in on creating a website that doubles as a lead generation machine.
Within all of these personality types should be the common goal of representing the brand and creating the same positive client experiences across the board. When hiring each member of the team, be clear that being on a team means working cohesively. Avoid agents looking for their time in the spotlight and put a system in place to reward star performers for their achievements.
6. Decide on Your Team Structure
As we mentioned earlier, teams come in all shapes anf sizes. We can’t tell you exactly how to build a real estate team, however most teams consider these four main structures:
- Mentor and Mentee
- Two Agent Partners
- Team Lead Structure (pyramid0
- Lead Team Structure
Getting clear about which team structure you’ll follow will make future onboarding an easy and fluid process. From here, you can build an onboarding plan and new agent guide. Be sure to include necessary documents, handbooks, style guides, systems guides (such as your CRM, socials etc.) web access, and how to collaborate with other employees.
7. Clarify Your Team ‘Why’ and Set Measurable Goals
There’s a lot that goes into intentionally setting, measuring, and achieving goals. Hitting the ground running without a clear idea of where you’re going is a just plan for disaster. Before you start thinking about hiring other team members, get clear on how many transactions you want to do each year and how much generated income that is. Then think about how many new members you would need to make that goal a reality. Once you have those numbers, get into more detail and ask yourself: How will our team achieve these goals? What qualities drive our business? Start to flesh out a detailed plan and reach out to successful real estate professionals you know for a second opinion.
Your team will have a large role in putting this plan into action. Encourage individual and team goals to keep everyone on track. Some team leads start their mornings with a group call to get everyone motivated and in the right mindset. This is a prime opportunity to provide words of encouragement and praise when needed and to touch on team concerns.
8. Build Your Lead Generation Strategy
The first key to building an efficient lead gen strategy for your team is consistency. Every team member should have an excellent and customized website, access to a high-quality CRM, and feel well-versed in a number of lead generation techniques. This can include cold calling, email campaigns, lead forms, lead magnets, and more. Check out this article to make sure your real estate website is catching every lead: How to Rake In The Leads With Your Real Estate Website.
As your team continues to grow, consider how you’re going to scale your lead generation strategies to continue generating leads quickly and efficiently.
9. Hire the Right Team Members
Now it’s time to get to hiring. Depending on the size of your new team, you may decide to sign on a couple of agents you can mentor or a full admin team, marketing staff, and the whole shabang. The roles below are most important positions you’ll want to hire for as your business grows in scale.
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 of pocket and would help you 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 real estate agents.
Your administrative assistant will also be instrumental in arranging showings, managing your correspondence while you’re away, maintaining the office space, and other clerical tasks. This help will free you and your buyer’s agent from spending countless hours on small tasks that aren’t contributing to the bottom line.
While your administrative assistant would traditionally 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.
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.
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While it may be tempting to hire rookie real estate agents that are willing to accept a lower commission split and can be coached and molded 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.
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.
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.
Your transaction coordinator is the one who works on your agents’ behalf to help move transactions along. This team member doesn’t have to be licensed. However, if they were, it’d be much easier to train them in the process of getting to the finish line after a contract has been signed.
The day-to-day of a transaction coordinator can include submitting purchase documents, gathering additional info, communicating with other real estate agents, and more. Having a transaction coordinator isn’t mandatory, but it does give real estate agents extra time to focus on working directly with clients.
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 , you may want to hire more buyers’ and sellers’ agents.
You may also consider hiring other specialists such as a listing manager, a marketing director, photographers, showing assistants, 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 about taking your career to the next level. It shows your level of success and expertise, enables you to increase your income, delegate tasks that do not suit your strengths, and create and manage something you can be proud of. It’s also very rewarding and something that can be done relatively easily if you follow a designed system to do so.
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