By Aiman Attar

More and more teams are popping up everywhere. Some are as big as 20 to 30 members, while some are as small as the salesperson and one assistant being dubbed a team.

The benefit of building a real estate team is known as the economies of scale. Economies of scale is an economic term referring to the cost advantage experienced by a group or company when it increases its level of output (real estate sales). The advantage arises due to the inverse relationship between fixed cost and the sales produced.



Think of it this way. Realtors all spend money on marketing their brand. Most will need an assistant at some point in their sales career. Balancing demand and supply of time and resources are often a challenge. A sales rep only has so many hours in a day. Being too busy can mean either losing business or not maintaining service excellence. When you begin giving away business to other salespeople in your office, you’re losing future repeat clients.

Building a team saves costs because several salespeople benefit from the same brand presence and marketing dollars spent. They also have access to the same assistant or marketing co-ordinator, and most likely save costs on sharing office space (and desk fees).

Leads that the team reputation and brand generate are reaped by all salespeople on the same team. The power of the group outweighs what each one independently could have achieved alone. And let’s face it, a group of agents generating $1 million in gross commissions earn awards and accolades that put the group in amongst the best of the best in the industry, which in turn generates a bigger brand presence.

Why do real estate agents join teams if they have to give up 50 per cent of their commissions?

You might think that only new agents are joining real estate teams. That’s not entirely true. Most real estate teams are not keen on hiring straight out of real estate college because a new agent is a very high-risk hire.

Will the new agent learn quickly? Will the new agent handle the clients with professionalism and confidence? Will the new agent have the ability to close deals and negotiate against experienced Realtors? Will the new agent even enjoy being a Realtor? Will the new agent survive the 24-7 demand needed to succeed in real estate? Will the new agent stay in the team after year one or two, when they start earning six figures?

I have personally interviewed and placed into teams Realtors grossing $100,000 to $700,000, and they join a real estate team knowing that they will give up half of their commissions. It might seem crazy why anyone would do that, but successful Realtors join teams every day.

Some real estate salespeople know that they love selling. They love meeting clients, doing listing presentations and offer negotiations but they don’t like working on marketing or financial management or administration or even hiring administrative support. Some just don’t want the headache of running a real estate business – they just want to be salespeople. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, taking 50 per cent of the gross commissions earned, without worrying about marketing expenditures, hiring, retaining and paying for an assistant or renting office space is actually a lot more money than what they might net alone.

So why do buyer agents leave teams if it’s as good as it sounds?

The short answer is not all teams offer value. Value will vary from one agent to another. Some value leads – they simply want to be fed warm leads without any door knocking or cold calling efforts. Some salespeople want coaching and support. Some want to pass off all their administrative work to the office administrator.

In today’s highly competitive market, salespeople who want to attract amazing buyer agents to their roster need to do more than just sell their “brand presence”. They need to offer coaching. They need to provide warm leads as well as teach prospecting, even if it means door knocking together with the team lead. The team needs to invest marketing dollars co-farming each of their buyer agents; after all the buyer agent didn’t join a team to just cold call internet leads that may not come to fruition for 12 to 18 months.

Every day, I speak to buyer agents in large teams that are looking to make a move to a smaller, more involved team leader relationship. Buyer agents want a team that has two to three buyer agents to one team lead who offers coaching, teaches prospecting, provides warm leads and has an administrator to support the team with a solid marketing campaign.

This appears to be the sweet spot. Especially if you are trying to attract buyer agents with a proven sales history of $100,000 GCI per year. For buyer agents making more than $300,000 a year net commissions earned while on a larger team, their motivation and needs will be very different as to why they will make the move.  One size certainly doesn’t fit all.

There are large teams that are very well structured, offer a lot of value and have amazing retention of their real estate associates. I know because I have helped recruit for them. They do not label agents as buyer agents. They often give them titles of real estate associate or sales partner. They offer coaching, marketing and all sorts of administrative support.

Bottom line… it’s all about value. You will attract the type of salesperson that your offering will yield. If you do not offer coaching or fair market commission splits or any warm leads or any administrative support, then chances are you’re going to attract someone who won’t be very productive or someone who won’t stay very long.

The former owner of Imaginahome Inc. and former Realtor at Re/Max, Aiman Attar is the managing partner of AGENTC: The Real Estate Recruiter. She has worked in the real estate industry for over 10 years with Toronto’s finest, most accomplished Realtors. She decided to dedicate her talent and experience to helping you hire the best candidates to build your business. Email Aiman.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hmmm…When I first entered the business in 1980, we earned 50% of the total office commission, but there were no desk fees, the office paid for all advertising and listing exposures, the manager coached full time and hand picked new hires based upon what he thought they were capable of, then fired low producers and incompetents, and, very important, he fed office calls/leads to those whom he felt would convert those leads into firm deals. It was a great system. Now the wheel has been reinvented it seems.

    My point? Competent, energetic, honest, knowledgeable and, most important, altruistic Realtors will always earn a good living commensurate with their personal expectations about what success means to them…and only them.

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