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Time to Expand? How to Build Your Dream Real Estate Team

Christy Murdock Edgar

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Some real estate agents and brokers love the individual effort required to run a real estate business. Others naturally gravitate toward cooperative work, participating in training events, professional organizations, and leadership councils. If you’re ready to put your talent for organization to work growing your business on a larger scale, it may be time to start a team of your own.

You may be ready to take on the role of team leader if you are experiencing the following:

  • Exceptional growth and name recognition in your local market.
  • An overwhelming number of inquiries from new clients—more than you can serve.
  • A desire to scale your business and put more of your time and energy into the income-producing part of your business—the services only you can provide.
  • A desire to mentor and collaborate with others and help them build the processes and professional skills that have made you successful.
  • A desire to extend your influence and impact in your local market and beyond.

If this sounds like you, it may be time to begin exploring scaling up your real estate business. Here’s how to put together your dream team and make it a successful one.

If you’re growing to the point where you’re so busy that you need to leave money on the table, then it’s a good time to start thinking about building a team.

Determine your purpose for expansion

It’s not enough to want to free up a little extra time in your schedule or want to add a little more to your income. Forming a team is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that will fundamentally change the way that you do business. Make sure you know what your goals are and why you want to expand. Ensure that the rewards are worth the higher level of commitment this change will require.

Create a well-defined brand

You’ll need to rethink your branding and marketing as you expand. A well-defined brand is essential because you will no longer be the only one responsible for communicating with the market. Put marketing collateral and brand guidelines in place so that everyone on your team knows what is expected and how to market in a way that is consistent with the team’s look and message.

Protect your brand and create marketing collateral and brand guidelines to ensure everyone on your team is talking the same language.

Define your differentiators

What sets you apart from the competition in your area? What makes your team the best place to build a career? What do you offer that no one else can? As a team leader, you will no longer be selling yourself only to potential clients. You’ll be promoting your team to superstar up-and-coming real estate agents as well. Figure out what makes you special and translate that into your marketing and outreach to stand out.

Choose colleagues with proven track records

You may want to start a team in order to work closely with your best friends and favorite personalities. However, those may not be the hardest-working or most successful agents in your area. Once you align yourself with others, your reputation will rise and fall with their performance. Make sure that the people you choose for your team have a track record of success and effectiveness that will enhance your image.

woman taking notes

An oral agreement between friends is fine, but when friendship and business overlap, it’s in everyone’s best interests to create a written agreement.

Put all agreements in writing

Even if you are friends with the other people on your team, you need to formalize agreements regarding structure, compensation, and the materials and services that you’ll be providing. It may feel overly formal at first, but you’ll be glad for a written agreement if there is ever a question in the future.

Consult with a financial planner and attorney

If you haven’t already, discuss your financial goals with a trusted advisor to determine how much capital you’ll need to put into the business and how to effectively manage its finances. Determine what type of record-keeping and financial management you’ll need from month to month, and discuss the legal and tax implications of various ownership structures.

two business people speaking

Building your real estate dream team and scaling up a business are complicated tasks. Hire the advisors you need to protect your interests and help you navigate the twists and turns.

Focus on systems and processes from the start

When it’s just you and one or two others, it may seem silly to put formal systems and processes into place. However, you’re planning for growth down the road and it’s best to begin as you mean to go on. If you implement and codify everything from day one you’ll be in a position to scale quickly as you gain more clients, more agents, and more support staff.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Taking on a role as team leader requires a great deal of self-knowledge and self-reflection. It’s important for you to know what you’re good at and what you struggle with so that you can ask for help when needed. Talk with your mentor, a trusted colleague, and your closest friends, and ask for honest feedback to help you better understand what situations challenge you and what conditions help you to flourish.

There are leaders who struggle and even fail because they lack self-awareness. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Build a team that will shore up the former and compensate for the latter.

Refine your leadership style

If you are used to being a one-person show, you’ll need to develop new skills in order to provide the leadership and day-to-day management your team will depend on. If you haven’t already, begin to think of yourself as a leader. Consider working with a coach, read books on leadership, or take a management course. Think about the great leaders you’ve worked for to find out what made them so effective, then implement their strategies with your own team. Listen to this episode of the Stay Paid podcast, hosted by ReminderMedia president Luke Acree and CMO Josh Stike, for even more leadership tips.

Know what’s working—and what’s not

It is vital that you track your progress over time to figure out how to refine the various elements of your team. Do you need to tweak your systems and processes? Do you need to provide more guidance and leadership? Is one team member causing unnecessary drama? Do you need to provide additional resources or training? By constantly evaluating and re-evaluating your organization, you’ll be better able to address small problems before they become big challenges.


Related article: How to Hold Your Team Accountable

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Written by Christy Murdock Edgar

Christy Murdock Edgar is a seasoned real estate writer and frequent columnist for Inman. Her expertise in the realm of real estate has helped agents all over the world improve their content marketing strategies.