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By Lesley Geary

RISMEDIA, May 2008–The repercussions of communication breakdown can be far reaching into many areas of your business. To a real estate team of four like the Margy Hargraves Team, who are constantly busy and all working on different aspects of the business poor communication can be devastating. Here’s how one team from Long Island, N.Y. keeps the lines open and business moving.

Margy Hargraves
Margy Hargraves Team
Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty
Years in real estate: 35
Years as an agent team: 6
Number of team members: 4
Region Served: The North Shore of Long Island, NY.
I formed an agent team because… My husband retired and I thought I should retire as well. When I went to Daniel Gale management and told them that I was thinking about retiring, they said, “No! What you need is an associate.” This discussion led to Peggy Moriarty and me teaming up and getting our own assistants, and it has been a wonderful pairing for both of us.

Why was the agent team concept an attractive alternative for you at that stage in your career? Peggy Moriarty and I have a unique working relationship. All of my business is split evenly between the two of us, and Peggy is responsible for all of her business as well. This gives me the opportunity to hold onto my position as the museum chairman of the Heckscher Museum of Art, which takes up a great deal of my time. Since I spend about an hour or two at the museum each day, I couldn’t do a good job for either the museum or my clients without Peggy.

What were some of the biggest challenges going from an independent agent to a team partner?
Communication is one of the biggest challenges that we face as a team. I want to make sure that both Peggy and I are always informed as to what the other is doing, and this takes extra steps. We are constantly updating each other whenever we happen to pass one another in the office as well as leaving messages. On top of all that, our assistants help us out a lot in the communication department.

What are some of the biggest advantages to working as a team?
Things don’t slip between the cracks as much. Working with Peggy has allowed me to have more coverage, which lets me give better service to my clients. One of the biggest reasons that our partnership works so well is that Peggy and I think about things in the same way, so each of us is able to pick up for the other when needed.

Was it hard to relinquish control?
Relinquishing control was not a problem for me. I have total trust in Peggy. She is the top producer at the company and knows what she is doing.

How do you decide which tasks/responsibilities to give to the other team members?
Our assistants do the paper work as well as hold open houses for us. If we aren’t available, they will follow-up with clients, too.

Success Strategies

Our team is different because: Mostly because our financial outlook is unlike any others out there.
Our team culture is…that we are both hard workers. We not only care deeply about doing what we need to do but also in doing what is right.

What is your preferred training? We don’t use a formal training program, but we do attend all of the Sotheby’s training, motivational workshops and conferences. Sotheby’s is very good at keeping us up-to-date with the changes occurring in both the business and paperwork aspect of real estate.

What’s the one thing the team can’t live without? Chocolate.

Biggest change in real estate: All of the Department of State regulations that are being enforced. It used to be that everything was done with a handshake, but now it’s wide open until the contract is signed. One of the great things about real estate is that you never know what’s around the next corner.

What is your philosophy for a successful life in real estate? I believe in three things: always be honest, enthusiastic and well informed. If you have those three things you can’t go too far wrong. You also have to be positive. I always tell the new people coming into the company to never criticize. There is something nice about everything, so people must take the time to find that nice thing.