BrokerageIndustry News

Real estate teams find power in numbers

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CHICAGO — They say two heads are better than one. But what about 17? Or 30? Broker teams across the country are growing in popularity, but also in the number of people involved in the team. While some Realtors might be hesitant to start sharing profits from their businesses during tough economic times, two teams in Chicago have found that synergy is working for them.

"When I first started in real estate by myself, I was working 75 or 80 hours a week sometimes," says Fred Scovell of Scovell-Sabatini Team, a part of Chicago’s Rubloff real estate brokerage company. "I wanted to hire an assistant, but I realized the kind of person I would want as an assistant wouldn’t want to stay an assistant for very long."

Scovell, who had recently left a law firm where he had been a minority partner specializing in real estate law, started his brokerage in 2003. By 2005, he decided it would be beneficial to hire a partner and his friend Maria Sabatini was looking to get out of her advertising job and into real estate.

The two decided to join forces. They sell mostly condominiums along Chicago’s lakefront from the South Loop to Rogers Park.

The team is somewhat of an odd couple: Sabatini likes designing and marketing, while Scovell is best at scouring the details of a deal, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Sabatini likes working outside of the office, and Scovell prefers to work in it. But the differing personalities also help them gain clientele.

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"Buying or selling a home can be kind of an emotional experience," Sabatini says. "When we first do a presentation, a lot of times we can see that that person is a little better fit for Fred or a little better fit for me."

While clients often work with just one of the pair, sometimes they’re switched over to the other. Both partners perform equal roles in the business, so they both know what is going on with each client and listing at any given time. They meet each week to discuss ideas: what to do with a listing that won’t sell, or how to get a buyer interested in a listing that might not initially appeal to them.

But having a partner means more than just support in terms of ideas and business. It also helps the team stay personally sane, Scovell says.

"When you’re going through a trying time like many people are right now, it’s easy to try to control all the events that are happening and to do it isolated from everyone else," he says. "When you get out of the framework of the individual and tell someone how you’re feeling or what you’re working through, things can get a little easier." …CONTINUED