“Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” stars and luxury real estate pros, James Harris and David Parnes, offer insights on deciding if a team fits your needs and pinpointing the perfect time to shift gears.

In September, Inman digs deep on real estate teams — what it takes to join or build one, how to optimize a team and even when to consider leaving one. Adding nuance on top of Inman’s weekly Teams Beat email newsletter, this theme month will serve up top insights from the best team leaders across the country.

No one can predict the future of real estate, but you can prepare. Find out what to prepare for and pick up the tools you’ll need at the immersive Virtual Inman Connect online Nov. 1-2, 2023. And don’t miss Inman Connect New York on Jan. 23-25, 2024, where AI, capital and more will be center stage. Bet big on the roaring future, and join us at Connect.

This post was updated Sept. 14, 2023.

The perfect blend of British style and American drive, David Parnes and James Harris bring their charisma, intellect and wit to The Agency as business partners specializing in high-end residential real estate and investment properties across the greater Los Angeles region.

Is your current business structure serving you? When did you last assess it? There’s a lot of uncertainty in today’s rapidly shifting market, which could mean it’s a great time to make changes to your business and perhaps join a team.

Our team is our backbone, and each member’s expertise, skills and talents have enabled us to bring on more clients every year. That said, agents need to consider what makes sense for their individual businesses. We’ve outlined some items to consider for your business to thrive, with or without a team.

Team structure and expenses

Think about the structure of your business and where you might need support. When we built out our team, we considered our needs, the type of role and who might be the best candidate for the job.

For example, our team’s structure includes someone who handles listings, escrows, a marketing lead who manages our marketing and social media platforms, a team member who handles showings, a digital expert who produces our newsletter, and more.

Make an outline pertaining to all the facets of your business and assess if you do or don’t need additional support. Consider what areas you might round out further and how a team might lead to more business or hinder it.

While a team can provide access to a wealth of experience and knowledge, there are also benefits to agents that run a lean and mean operation. A smaller operation can mean fewer expenses, salaries, shared commissions and overhead costs. Everyone gets a piece of the commission when an entire team handles every transaction. Do the math and see if it pays off.

Consider whether joining or creating a team will help you scale your business or lead to more expenses. Determine the structure that will benefit your growing business and guide your growth.

Professional development

One positive of being on a team is learning from a wide range of professionals and developing expertise from established agents in the business. Many newer agents will have the opportunity to develop skills faster than trying to learn independently.

Working closely with a team of highly skilled professionals will help you improve your knowledge. You’ll be exposed to different ways of thinking and learn about others about approaches to solving problems. A dynamic environment can help new agents improve quickly and expand their set of skills.

That said, there are also many resources, courses and other avenues for individual agents to develop their skills and education on their own. I’ve found that some of the best ways to learn and grow are from having to wear many hats and learning as you go.

As an individual agent, you have the opportunity to become an expert in any area of the business and can still tap into the resources in your network, community and within your brokerage group.

Consider personalities

While group collaboration can be excellent, another thing to consider is that some personalities do not always work well together. While we love working on a team and we’ve been friends since childhood, one positive of working individually is that your client can always be your main focus and you build a very strong relationship one-on-one.

When considering a team, make sure you’re joining a group where personalities will work well together and you can problem solve any issue collectively. It can be stressful when working with different people in close proximity every day, so pick your team wisely.

Envision the future

When considering partnering with another agent or working solo, envision your goals for the next decade and map out the steps or support you might need to get there.

While we encourage growth within our team, we always want our colleagues to have a vested interest in the role they’ve been hired for to reduce turnover and complex transitions within a short period of time. No matter what you choose and where you are in your career, both sides have many rewards and benefits.

James Harris is a director at The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram. David Parnes is a director at The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram

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