As a real estate agent after receiving your real estate license, you have to decide whether to be an independent agent or to join a team. Both have their pros and cons, but you have to decide which route is most beneficial for your specific situations and goals. Real estate agents own their own business and different people will have different ideas as to whether or not a team is the best fit for them. It’s important to remember that this is your choice and you can change your decision anytime!
In this article, we’ll give you a detailed breakdown of a solo real estate agent vs team and which direction is best suited for you!
Solo Real Estate Agent
Although every agent’s situation is completely unique, in the context of solo real estate agent vs team, the going solo route as an individual agent is generally best suited for:
- established agents who are generating most of their own leads and want to work on their own schedule
- new agents who has a general idea of how to generate and run their business
- agents using their license mostly for investing and flipping.
For the more seasoned agents, being an independent agent might be the best way to maximize your income (why not keep 80%+ commission?). You already have systems in place for lead generation, conversion, presentations, CRM, and relationships with local lenders, inspectors, appraisers, etc. If you’ve established a successful and lucrative career as an independent agent, then there’s really no need to join a team.
But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the idea of teams all together. No matter how seasoned of an agent you are, there are always ways to increase your commission income. Rather than join a team, maybe starting and leading a team of real estate agents of your own can be that next step to take an established agent’s career to a new level!
New Agents with a Defined Sphere
Many new real estate agents already have a defined sphere and business plan in place well before they even pass their licensing certification. These new rockstar agents are usually people who have owned a business in the past or worked in the real estate industry before. You probably won’t need much help with lead generation if you join a team – especially if you choose a brokerage with excellent training and lead generation tools.
In order to maximize your commission income right off the bat, if you already have a good amount of prospects/leads, when it comes to deciding between practicing as a solo real estate agent vs joining a team, you might be better off as a solo agent. Keep in mind, a team provides additional training, mentorship, lead generation, and support through transactions, but if you already have a plan in place for lead generation whether if that is social media, cold calling, etc., you may find additional resources unnecessary.
Investors and Flippers
As for investors and flippers who are leveraging their license to help their real estate business – there are many benefits to becoming an investor agent – joining a team might not be your best option. Since you are essentially your own client, you won’t need any retail leads from a team to successfully use your license. Also, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a portion of your commission, especially at a brokerage that offer investors 100% commission on personal transactions.
Pros and Cons of Being a Solo Agent
- Keep more commission
- Pursue your own ideas
- Maintain more personal client relationships
- Fewer restrictions
- Better personal branding
- Less support
- Generate all of your own leads
- No one to turn to quickly for questions
- Responsible for all marketing
- Not as credible as a new agent
Consider both Income and Support when Deciding Between Being a Solo Real Estate Agent vs Team
Although we did mention earlier that some new agents are better off as a solo real estate agent, the majority of new agents will not be comfortable when stepping into the business. Some may have a outline in place in terms of a marketing plan, but usually lead generation is the hardest part of being a new agent.
It may be more beneficial for those who need a little bit more support and hand holding to join a team. Although brokers do offer training, support, mentorship, and more, being a part of a commission split team can really benefit newer agents who are looking to make a career as a well respected real estate agent.
Perhaps the biggest value add a team provides is lead generation. New agents who don’t enjoy or excel at lead generation might want to join a team to make up for that. But be mindful! Even if your team generates leads for you, you will still need to nurture those leads if you want them to turn into clients. This is true for ALL agents regardless of skill level or brokerage: you will still need to convert your leads into listings or buyers.
Great for Maximizing Commission Income
The best part of being a solo real estate agent is that you are able to maximize your commission income. Since you are doing most of the work yourself, you get to keep the largest chunk of the commission instead of giving it up to a team leader. As a real estate agent, it is absolutely important for you to consider how much money you make and when you make the decision to be an independent real estate agent vs being part of a real estate team.
But as you’ll see, you can earn a decent commission on a team as well – especially if you close more transactions when you join a team.
Real Estate Agent Teams
Joining a real estate agent team can be a great fit for ALL agents, but especially for those with little to no lead generation. Usually the best candidates to consider joining a real estate agent team are:
- new agents,
- agents with no established sphere or referral partners,
- agents who’s strong suit is not lead generation, and
- agents that would prefer to take leads from a team.
What do teams do?
A real estate agent team is where multiple agents, usually within the same MLS area, form a team to the mutual benefit of all team members. This can be structured in a number of ways (see below) but generally there are two or three functional areas of the team:
- Lead Generation: team leader(s) typically generate client leads
- Transaction Execution: agents get access to transaction coordinator staff to execute transactions
- Team Facilitation: as the team grows, other staff can be hired to help facilitate lead generation, transaction coordination, etc.
As we mentioned earlier, the most important and most common difference between a solo real estate agent vs team member is that teams will help you generate leads. Usually new agents have a hard time generating their own leads because they don’t have the credibility and seniority in their market to compete with more seasoned agents. A team’s job is to give an agent a sense of structure and direction for how they should go about their business.
Why Would I Join or Be Part of a Team?
- Continuous funnel of client leads to pursue
- More transactions = more commission income
- Focus on sales rather than on lead generation
- Splitting commission for each transaction closed rather than up front paid lead generation with an unknown return on investment
- Agents with no existing referral network can get leads easier
- Still keep your usual commission split on leads you generate
- Access to Team Marketing Materials
- Getting to work with a group of agents
- Access to Customer Service Staff, ISA, Transaction coordinator, a Customer Relationship Management Platform (CRM), etc.
But What if I don’t want to miss out on my commission?
Being on a team means that if you take a lead generated by your team leader, you’re going to have to give up a portion of your commission. It only makes sense for another agent to start a team if they can benefit from it somehow. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still maximize your commission income.
Since teams also have to operate under a brokerage, make sure to look for teams that are with brokerages that already have a favorable split. If you’re having a hard time deciding between whether you want to be a solo real estate agent or to join team, just remember that teams works best under a broker that offers it’s agents the highest income potential.
Remember, as a new agent there are many “hidden fees” that you are told about when you take your real estate classes like your national association of realtors fee or MLS fees, so it’s important to join a real estate brokerage that will allow you to make and keep more money moving forward.
Although lead generation is the main purpose of a team, joining a team doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to generate any of your own leads. Since many teams only take a part of your commission for any leads that the team generates for you, being on a team can be a good fit for agents that want the option to take team leads and split commission whenever they don’t have any active leads of their own – think MORE INCOME:
50% of a transaction’s commission is better than 100% of NO transaction!
Teams can be a great fit for all agents!
The best structured teams are the ones that allow you to keep your full commission split for the leads you generate yourself, and only takes a split for any leads generated by the team that you close. That way you can do your own thing, but if you don’t have any active leads of your own, you can always take a lead that your team has generated.
Being a solo real estate agent vs team isn’t just a question for new agents.
Teams aren’t just for new agents. Many experienced agents have been working in teams their entire career alongside top real estate agents. With a structure that allows you to keep your commission for your own leads, working with a group of collaborative and like minded agents can create a motivated and positive atmosphere.
If you are looking to join a team, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to join the right team that has a well-oiled machine of leads that can help your business.
Or even… Lead Your Own Team
Now when we said solo real estate agent vs team, we didn’t just mean joining a team. If you’re an agent that wants to add an additional income stream to help you build wealth, you can start your own real estate agent team!
Before you freak out, no, you do not have to be a broker. A broker actually has MANY more things to worry about than providing agents with leads. Teams work under brokerages just like a solo agent, and teams focus on growth while the broker focuses on everything else: training, support, contract review, running an office, recruiting agents, ensuring compliance, etc.
Advantages of Leading a Team
There are many advantages to starting your own team, but the most obvious one is that you can add an extra revenue stream. Although building the team initially isn’t passive, once you have a good amount of agents and the right systems in place, you can leverage automation and and hire assistants to help you run and maintain your team.
Leading a team is just like building a business. The revenue you make from your agent’s commission splits not only have to cover for the costs of lead generation, team CRMs, office space, advertising, marketing, etc. It also has to generate enough revenue to make sure that you’re turning a profit. Building a real estate agent team and having lead generation systems in place for an entire team is a lot of work, so you want to make sure that you’re rewarded too.
Pros and Cons of Leading a Team
- Extra Stream Income to Build Wealth
- Cashflowing business
- Having other Agents to help you with your business
- Faster Growth and Expansion of Business
- More Credibility with the local market and other agents
- Can be great for those who have a business mindset
- Building a Team from scratch takes a lot of work
- It may be a while until you start turning a profit
- May require some upfront investment
- Takes extensive planning and trial and error
- Might not be a lot of room to work with commission splits
How can I maximize my team’s potential?
If you’re starting a team, you want to make sure that you’re with a broker that allows teams and have a very beneficial commission split for agents like 80%. Remember that when agents decide between being a solo real estate agent and joining team they not only have to split their commission with you, but they also have to split their full commission with your broker before that. You want to partner with a brokerage that offers the agents a lucrative enough split that there’s some more room for you the team lead and the team members to actually receive a significant portion of the commission even after the broker split.
Want to learn more about teams, find a team, and see benefits of eXp Realty for teams?
Now that you know the benefits of being a solo real estate agent vs joining a team, are you ready to crush it out there as a real estate agent? Whether you choose to be solo or to join a team or to lead a team, with the right systems, work ethic, mindset, and plan in place you will find success!
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