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Essential Questions to Ask Before Joining a Real Estate Team

May 05, 2022 Realtor Resources Share:

Whether you’re just getting started in real estate or you’ve been in the industry for a long time, real estate teams can be a great way to take your business to the next level. In our last article, we discussed the many benefits of joining a real estate team. If you feel like joining a real estate team might be the right career move for you, we want to help you confidently make that leap.

And if you’re looking for more information about real estate teams, check out the other posts in our series:

Before you join a real estate team, you need to ask yourself and your prospective team several essential questions.

Questions to ask yourself before joining a real estate team

For many agents, joining a real estate team is a smart career move. But making the transition from an independent agent to part of a team can be daunting. And since real estate teams vary widely, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in a particular team.

Before you begin searching for a real estate team, you need to clarify your priorities. As with any journey, it’s important to begin with the end in mind. What are your personal goals as a realtor? Consider where you are in your career and where you’re hoping to be in a year, or even five to ten years. How do you want to grow personally as a realtor? What kind of realtor would you like to be?

You also need to consider what you need from a real estate team. Teams offer many things to their agents, but different teams are going to offer different types of opportunities. It’s important to clarify what you’re hoping your team can do for you. Do you need extensive support and guidance, or do you want to be more of an independent operator within the framework of a team?

Unless you clarify what you want and need from a real estate team, it will be difficult to identify which team is the right team for you.

Finding a real estate team

Now that you’ve identified your priorities, it’s time to find your perfect real estate team. There are a number of ways you can do this.

If you’re already in the industry, it’s a good idea to start by talking with your brokerage. This is a great way to learn about all the different real estate teams that are affiliated with your brokerage, and they can help match you with a team that fits your priorities.

Another option for existing agents is to pursue teams you already know. You can speak with agents in your network who are already on a team to learn more about the team and find out if they’re looking to grow in the near future. Many teams will also make announcements about job openings on their social media accounts. Even if a real estate team isn’t actively advertising for new agents, you can always reach out to a team lead and let them know you’re interested in joining when they are looking to grow.

Many teams will also market themselves to new agents looking to get involved in real estate. These teams will often support you in getting your license, making introductions, and providing you with mentoring relationships. This is a great opportunity if you’re new to the real estate industry.

Questions to ask a potential real estate team

Joining a real estate team is a huge commitment. This isn’t a professional club or an after-work softball team; this is your job, and it’s important to consider it carefully before making a change. You should always interview several teams before making a decision.

While “interview” may sound very formal, it doesn’t have to be. Some ways you could get to know a team better include:

  • Meet a current team member for coffee. They can give you a good feel for the team and help you know if the team is a good fit for you before you pursue it further. They can also answer questions you may have as well as give you information about potential openings.
  • Sit in on an office meeting. This is a low-pressure way to get a feel for team culture, priorities, and the people with whom you’d potentially be working.
  • Conduct a more formal interview with the team lead. While this may take the form of a job interview, this can also be a less formal question-and-answer session.

But what do you need to consider as you’re learning more about a potential real estate team? These are six essential questions you need to ask before joining any real estate team.

1. How is this real estate team structured?

Real estate teams can look really different from one another. Real estate team structures impact everything from the size of the team to the specialized role you may take within that team. Some team structures to think about include:

  • Team size: Some teams have dozens of members, while others have just a handful. You may thrive with a larger team, or you may prefer to work with just a few other people.
  • Agent roles: Some teams diversify roles, allowing their agents to specialize according to their area of strength. In other teams, you’ll find agents that operate as individuals, working both buying and selling roles, while still tied to a team.
  • Specialization: Different teams will specialize in different types of real estate. A team that specializes in residential real estate will look very different from a team that specializes in commercial or investment properties, or even luxury real estate.
  • Geography: Real estate teams often work within a specific geographic area or neighborhood. You’ll need to consider not only whether or not this is a convenient location for you, but also if this is an area where you have experience and knowledge.

It’s important to find a team that matches your personal priorities in all of these areas. For example, even if a team is a good fit in size and specialization, if it will require an hour-long commute each day to see clients and come to the office, it’s probably not a good fit for you.

2. How does this real estate team handle finances?

When you’re a solo agent, all of your commissions stay your commissions. But when you join a team, your commissions join the team too. But every team structures commission splits and compensation differently. When you’re considering joining a real estate team, here are some important questions to ask about your compensation:

  • What is the commission structure?
  • What are the brokerage fees?
  • What kinds of incentives and perks are available?
  • Are there caps available for commission splits?
  • What fees do your splits cover? What fees will you still have to cover? For example, some real estate teams include all marketing and admin fees in your splits, while some require you to pay an additional fee for these services.

It’s also important to remember that financial considerations aren’t limited to splits and caps. Some teams will offer opportunities for financial growth, providing you with financial rewards and incentives as you become a more successful agent.

You also need to consider how leads are distributed within the team. Some teams will pay for your leads, while other teams will simply provide you with access to the database of leads. Some teams also have a hierarchy of leads, giving better leads to their more experienced agents. Lead distribution has a significant impact on your bottom line.

When you’re determining whether or not a real estate team is a good fit for you, make sure the team makes good financial sense for you.

3. What is the team's culture like... and how do I fit in?

When you’re joining a real estate team, you want to make sure you actually like the team you’re going to work with. While this may seem a little shallow, this is a key consideration that’s often overlooked.

While the team is made up of individuals with very unique personalities and strengths, you’ll find that as a group, every team has its own personality. You can get a good feel for a team’s personality by sitting in on a team meeting or meeting with a few members of the team. You’ll need to ask yourself if these are people you can feel good about working with. Not every team is a good personality match for every person, and that’s okay.

Team culture also includes more than just the team's personality. Consider:

  • Team priorities: Do the priorities of the team match yours? Ideally, you'd find alignment with your team in working towards similar goals. How does the team feel about work-life balance? Are the production goals in line with your own?
  • Team atmosphere: Some teams have a family-like atmosphere that truly feels like a team. These teams are a great fit for those who are really looking to support other realtors and become a part of something. Other teams are more loosely affiliated and will be a better fit for the more independent realtor who likes to do their own thing.
  • Team marketing and brand: When you join a real estate team, you also take on the team's brand. You need to consider whether or not this is a brand you want to be affiliated with. And if you've spent a lot of time cultivating your own personal brand, it's important to consider how your team's brand will impact that.

4. What kind of training and development will the team provide?

Many real estate teams offer extensive personal and professional development opportunities to help you grow as both an individual and as a real estate professional. If you’re joining a real estate team, you’ll want to find a team that fosters a culture of growth. Some ways teams provide opportunities for growth and development include:

  • Book clubs: Book clubs are a popular form of informal but valuable education. Teams will gather together over lunch or for a meeting to discuss business books, self-help books, and real estate-specific books. These book clubs are a fun and productive tool for growth.
  • Team meetings: Many teams will also provide relevant and timely training to their members as part of regular team meetings. If you felt a little blindsided by COVID-19 as a realtor, you aren’t alone. But many teams provided valuable training to their members on topics such as, “Marketing in a Crisis," “Using Technology," and “Safe Showings," providing valuable support in an uncertain time.
  • Outside training opportunities: When you’re part of a real estate team, you’ll have increased access to outside training opportunities. Lenders and title companies love to provide relevant training to teams. Some teams will also cover the cost of other development opportunities such as conferences and seminars.

You'll want to make sure the team you're considering is a good match for your professional development goals.

5. How will the team support me as a real estate agent?

One of the main reasons agents decide to join a real estate team is because it’s just too hard to do the work alone. But every team will provide a different level of support to their agents.

Many real estate teams will provide mentoring support to new agents. If you’re just starting out as a new agent, ask questions of a prospective team to find out exactly how they plan to support you. Many new agents fail within their first few years as a real estate agent, but a good mentor can be the difference-maker you need to be successful. And even if you’re not a new agent, it’s always good to have a team of agents that can help you with your questions.

If you’re an established agent, you may not need mentoring; you may just need some help. One of the best ways real estate teams support their agents is through administrative help. By outsourcing your paperwork to an administrative professional, you can focus on closing deals. It’s important to know whether administrative support is provided to you by being a part of the team.

You’ll also want to ask questions about marketing. Larger teams may have a marketing specialist that handles all marketing for the team, while you may need to provide your own marketing materials in a smaller team.

If you’ve been a realtor for any length of time, you know that there’s so much behind-the-scenes work that goes into closing a deal. Some teams provide extensive behind-the-scenes support with tasks such as photography, getting signs in and out of yards, and social media promotion.

When you’re considering joining a real estate team, it’s important to make sure that the team will provide the amount and type of support that you need.

6. What are the expectations and requirements of the real estate team?

When you’re working on your own as a real estate agent, you make your own rules. But when you join a real estate team, you’ll be working under a new set of expectations and guidelines.

When considering a team, you'll need to know what's required of you. Consider:

  • Office hours: How much time will you be expected to spend in the office each week making calls and attending meetings?
  • Lead development: Most teams require you to spend time making calls to people within the database and following up on leads. You may also have open house requirements within your team.
  • Vacation policies: If you've been working on your own, it may have been a while since your last vacation. While being a part of a team can help you get that vacation, you'll want to know what policies are in place to protect your hard work while you're gone.
  • Quotas: What kind of sales quotas will you have as part of this team? You’ll need to realistically evaluate whether or not you feel like these are doable for you since agents that don’t produce won’t stay part of the team for long.

Working with a real estate team is a huge commitment. For many agents, being a part of a team is worth it. But it’s important to consider each of these essential factors and how they align with your personal and professional priorities.

But joining a real estate team isn’t for everyone. If you’re someone who thinks they’d rather start their own real estate team, check in next week for our ultimate guide to starting a real estate team.

And if you're interested in being a part of a real estate team but you're not sure where to start, contact us today. At South Oak, we love to connect realtors with helpful resources.