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The #1 Best Way to Start Your Real Estate Team

Is your goal to start a real estate team? Many agents venture into real estate to build a sustainable business and increase their streams of income. Building a real estate team is a tried and true way to take your status from self-employed to business owner.

But how do you start a real estate team? Where do you begin? How much experience do you need?

These are all questions that I will answer for you after I show you the #1 best way to start a real estate team!

When Should you Start a Real Estate Team?

This is one of the most common questions that is asked by agents when they want to start a real estate team. And the answer is a lot simpler than it seems. Now.

Unlike the myth that many real estate agents may believe, there is no experience requirements when it comes to starting a real estate team. In fact, you don’t need much of if any experience at all and I’m about to show you why.

Why experience is not required to start a real estate team

Building a real estate team and being a top producing sales agent takes two different sets of unique skills. Although some of those skills do intertwine, it is not necessary for you to be a top sales agent to start a real estate team.

Here is a break down of each skillset:

skillsets needed to start a real estate team vs skillsets needed to be a top sales agent.
As you can see, the skillsets required for being a top sales agent and a great team leader are quite different.

Can you start a team with no prior experience in real estate?

I’m sure you’ve already guessed it but the answer is an emphatic: YES!

A lot of agents start their businesses by starting their real estate team or partnering with other agents that are better at sales than they are. It’s not only 100% doable, I’ve seen it done before with my own eyes!

An out of state partner of mine started his real estate team as a brand new, part time agent. Two years later he is a recognized top producer with a 10 agent team – achieving the ICON award!

It’s not only possible, but it’s been proven to work! In this next section I will show you exactly how you can start building your team right now.

Self Organized Referral Teams

A main concern for agents that want to start a team but haven’t yet is that they don’t feel that they are capable of putting the systems in place to build a large automated real estate team. And that’s a completely valid reason for you to not start a formal or mega expansion team. It takes a lot of sweat equity, capital, and careful planning to execute such a large feat.

That’s where the self organized referral teams come into play.

A Self organized team is where the team lead (you) will refer leads that you have generated through your own marketing to other agents in return for a percentage of their commissions. This team structure is essentially a referral partnership between the team lead and the agents that occurs at every closing.

A self organized team is the most common type of team started by new team leaders. That’s because you can let your agents fully coordinate the transactions and the team leader (you) can focus on marketing for leads for them.


Your job as the team leader is to use your expertise in marketing and lead generation skills to cultivate a plethora of leads to refer out to other agents. You are not responsible for setting up transactions, setting appointments, making phone calls, cultivating leads, and closing the deal. Those responsibilities are left for the other agent(s).

Since your role as the team lead of a self organized team is to create and execute superb marketing pieces and cultivate creative ways to generate leads you want to look for agents that are good at sales but may be struggling to generate their own leads to recruit to your team.

Here’s a well known fact: MOST AGENTS SUCK AT LEAD GENERATION. So if you can master this, you can build an attractive team pretty darn easily.


Self-organized referral teams are rather easy to structure. All you need is a written referral agreement for yourself and your referral agents. This form can usually be obtained from your brokerage or the other agent’s brokerage or your local MLS Association.

The team leader (you) will have to provide their agents with the written referral agreement stating the percentage of commissions split between the agent and the team leader (you). Although there is no set split, the team lead will generally take between 25-40% referral fee on a commission earned by the agent from any leads the leader helped generate.

This may sound too expensive, but consider this: if it better to have most of a commission on a sale or 100% of no sale? Agents are willing to hustle if they know they will have leads!

You can have as many referral agents as you want on your team and can use the same formatted referral agreement form. There are no team obligation contracts for you or your agents to sign.

Focus on Lead Generation and Marketing

We went over some of the skillsets that you would need in order to start a real estate team and as you can see, there are a few. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done or that it is difficult to develop these skills, especially if you focus on the most important one for new agents looking to start a real estate team: Lead Generation

Lead Generation is a skill that you need to start a real estate team on any scale and should be the first skill that you master in order to start a team. If there was one skill needed to start a real estate team, it’s lead generation!

But isn’t lead generation the hardest part of a real estate agent’s job? That’s what everyone says right?

Although true, that is only the case because most sales agent are so absolutely focused on their clients and honing their sales skills that they have little if any time to develop a proven system to generate quality leads. If you hunker down and focus on making a marketing plan to generate consistent leads every day, then you will have no trouble getting leads for your team to refer out.

Finding Agents to Join Your Referral Team

Now that you have the structure and front end lead generation set up, it’s time to look for agents to join your self organized teams so you can refer your leads out.

The first place you should look for agents is in your own brokerage. There are plenty of agents looking for more leads, after all, it’s the basis of their business. Ask your broker if they have a referral network to connect with agents in your local market area or in your state. You should have a pretty good of list agents that you can offer leads to for a percentage of your commission.

You can also look for agents from other brokerages to partner with and join your team. There should be no restrictions from your brokerage about referring leads out to agents in other brokerages for a referral fee. Start going to networking events and connecting with other agents in your local real estate facebook groups

Start by building relationships with these agents first and letting them know about an opportunity to receive leads monthly that they can work and follow up that you have generated for them. I assure you, no agent will turn down an opportunity to receive leads without having to pay an upfront fee.

Potential Issues With Starting a Referral Team

Along with all of the great perks of starting a self organized real estate team, there are some potential issues that you may run into with the structure of these teams.

Losing Control of Sales Process

As a team leader of a self organized team all you have to do is to refer your lead out to your agents on your team. The good thing is that you don’t have to worry about closing the sale, but that is also the inherent issue. You lose control of the sales process.

Once you pass your lead off to your agent you have no control of whether the agent can actually close the lead or not. It is completely up to them.

Although most agents are rockstars and will work as hard on their business as you don on yours, there are always bad apples out there. But there’s always strategies that you can implement to mitigate that risk.

Team Management

You can always manage your team to a certain extent to be sure that the clients you are referring out are getting the best service. One of the ways to do that is to keep in contact and communication with the agents on your team and the clients that you’ve referred to them.

It’s always best to set the expectation for follow up first with your agents so they don’t think that you distrust and want to micromanage them. Simply ask them if it’s ok to check in on them to see if you can help with anything in a few weeks once you’ve referred your clients to them.

If your agents aren’t closing deals, they probably aren’t following up well (or at all). If they can’t be coached into following up, then it is better to find an agent who will than keep spending time or money providing leads to the agent who doesn’t follow up.

Take your Team Nation Wide

Now that you have a self organized team in your local MLS area, but you want to expand your business to other cities, states, and even countries! That’s the essence of why you started the team, to grow a sustainable real estate business that has unlimited growth potential.

There are ways that you can take your self organized team national or international. It’s not as hard as it sounds as long as you have the systems and marketing in place to generate leads, there is no geographical restriction for you to grow a referral based team.

One of the best ways to take your team nation wide is by partnering with a brokerage built to support teams with national scale and international reach. That way it makes it easier to connect with referral agents within your own brokerages to join your team, as well as recruiting agents outside of your broker to be a part of your growing business.

Start a Real Estate Team Today!

Ok so now that you know the basics to how you can start a real estate team right now, it’s time to build those skillsets and take MASSIVE action!

Like we mentioned above, the #1 skill you need to absolutely master is lead generation. But where and how do you start?

Lucky for you, we have a FREE No obligations webinar that shows you the secrets to exactly how you can start generating quality leads today!