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Is Real Estate a 'Team' Sport? You Decide
By Mark Mathis, General Manager of Agent and Broker Sales for Homes.com
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, there are just over one million active real estate licensees in the United States. With new agents joining the market every day, competition can be fierce. Becoming a real estate agent can be both exciting and highly rewarding, but it can present potential challenges, as well.
 
As you begin to plan your career as an agent, one important factor to consider is whether you would prefer to work as an individual agent or as part of a team. This can be a challenging decision for many new agents, since there are pros and cons for each—although, ultimately, it comes down to your personality and your work style. Here are four categories to reflect on before making a decision about joining a team or working solo.
 
Accountability
Think about how you work best. Are you at the top of your game when others are depending on you to uphold your part, or are you self-motivated? This will be a major factor in helping you determine whether you should join a team or work individually. One positive aspect of working with a group is that you'll have someone who expects you to accomplish certain things. This can keep you accountable so you're focused and on track. You'll also have someone there who can take over for you if something unexpected comes up. On the other hand, remember that a team is only as strong as its weakest link. If you're the one putting forth all of the effort, while your teammates fail to contribute, not only will this be a frustration to you, but it will also reflect poorly on your company.
 
Vacation
One reason agents like working on a team is when they're ready to take a vacation, they know someone will be there to keep everything going while they're gone. While solo agents have the option of hiring someone temporarily or depending on a real estate friend to cover for them, agents who work in teams usually feel more secure when leaving the office for an extended period of time. However, having a team member in the office at all times can also be seen as a negative. When you work solo, you're able to set your own vacation time rather than waiting until it's your turn or working around someone else's schedule.
 
Finances
This may be one of the hottest influencers that pushes agents to commit to working with or without a team, and there are strong arguments for both sides. Arguably, the strongest reason for working independently is that you don't have to share your commissions. In addition to this, you're also not responsible for paying salaries or commissions to team members. At the same time, though, this means that all other business expenses are your sole responsibility. This can be challenging, especially when you're first starting and working to find as many leads as possible. Without the financial support of a team, starting from scratch can be the biggest hindrance.
 
If you're working with a team, on the other hand, you have the benefits that come with shared business expenses. You're no longer responsible for paying your real estate materials out-of-pocket, and can rely on your team to cover those costs. Also, when you join a team, you may have to share your commission with others. However, even though you may divide your commissions, you'll likely bring in more leads as a team, which means you'll have more opportunities for closing deals.
 
Experts in the Field
Another positive aspect of working with a team is that you'll likely have teammates with expertise in multiple fields or areas, which means you'll be better able to serve your clients with certain specific needs. If one of your team members specializes in urban planning, you can utilize that strength to help clients see where potential markets could expand or trends could start taking off. On the other hand, if you have a favorite part of the real estate process that you enjoy, you may not always be able to manage it if there are others who are more experiences with it. Even still, when you're working as an individual, you have to deal with everything, so you may still have to handle parts of the transaction you don't enjoy.
 
Remember, your decision to work with or without a team depends on your personality and your work style. As you start your real estate career, you may find it's easier to join a team to get the most experience. Then, as you progress, you may find it's time to branch out on your own. Consider each of the categories before making a decision to determine what would be best for you.
 
Whether you're working with a team or as an individual, one of the many challenges that today's agents face is being more responsive to today's consumers. When a new potential client has an inquiry on a listing, or is looking to connect with a local real estate pro, the longer it takes for an agent to respond, the less likely he or she will convert such lead. Homes.com's new Lead Concierge program solves that problem by pre-screening your leads moments after they come in. Lead Concierge sorts the serious buyers from the "lookie loos," saving you valuable time and connecting you with the most qualified buyers and sellers. 
 
For more information, please visit connect.homes.com.

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