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Whether to join a team or go it alone is the second most important decision you’ll make as a Realtor — after you pick which brokerage you’d like to join. It’s essential to understand the pros and cons of both options. Every agent works differently, and a business model that works for one agent might not work for another.
So, how do you know which is the right fit for you?
What does it mean to go solo?
Being solo doesn’t mean that you’re completely out on your own with no support network. Yes, you will work predominantly by yourself to secure listings and sell properties, but you can always call on your broker for advice if you need it. Working independently rather than on a team allows agents to set their own goals, to their own time frame.
Pros of going solo
A lot of agents choose this profession due to flexibility. Deciding your own hours and working on your own terms are some of the biggest draws of the real estate world.
Working independently also allows you to decide your farm area and target demographic. When you work alone, there are no restrictions on how you can market yourself or who you market to.
But possibly the biggest pro to working solo is that you get to keep 100 percent of your commission check after brokerage splits and fees. With the flexibility to create your personal brand, the sky is your limit.
Drawbacks of going solo
The first year of real estate can be challenging for a new agent. It takes time to build your sphere and strengthen your referrals. If you work independently, the responsibility to source leads can fall solely on you.
There are also a lot of expenses involved in marketing yourself and creating your brand. Going solo means that the financial burden is yours alone.
What does it mean to join a team?
Joining a real estate team means that you work alongside other agents in your brokerage in a collaborative effort. Typically agents in the team fall into roles, such as being the buyer’s agent, who works predominantly with the team’s buyers.
Usually, the team is run by an experienced agent who recruits other agents to help manage their business. Some agents prefer working in a team environment, whereas others might learn the business and move on to work independently with the knowledge that they have acquired.
Pros of joining a team
Joining a real estate team allows you to learn the ropes of the business while on the job. There is a lot more to real estate than showing homes. Contract negotiations, listing presentations and even holding open houses are skills that you must acquire to be successful. Having a mentor that is invested in your development as an agent can be invaluable when you first start out in real estate.
Furthermore, while establishing your network, a team might also feed you qualified leads. This can help you to build up your experience more quickly.
Drawbacks of joining a team
The biggest negative of working in a team is that you receive less of your commission check. This is because part of your paycheck is paid to the team for any support or help that you receive. What you pay your team can be negotiated, but it’s not free.
Also, it’s prudent to know that everything you work on is to bolster your team’s brand and business success. Although your sphere of influence will probably follow you if you choose to go solo further down the line, other potential leads might only recognize the brand you have built with your team. And often you won’t be able to work with past clients if you decide to leave the team.
Deciding whether to join a real estate team or work independently is a choice wholly dependent on the agent. If you like working in cohesion with others and don’t feel a desire to build your own brand, a team environment could be perfect for you.
On the other hand, if you like to set your own schedule and don’t need support from others, working independently might be the best choice.
Jackson Cooper is a writer and real estate enthusiast at Jensen and Company. Follow Jensen & Company on Twitter or Facebook.