8 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Real Estate Team

Real estate team shaking hands

Teams are the new trend in the real estate industry. They involve several agents getting together to form a team. They make agents’ jobs less stressful; they provide better customer service to buyers and sellers, and they offer mentorship opportunities to agents that are starting out.

Structures for teams may vary. In some instances, certain agents will be assigned specific tasks. In other cases, everyone will pitch in and do their part. They are run by a team leader who is responsible for organizing the team and bringing in leads.

If you think joining a real estate team is for you, it’s important to find one that’s a good fit. It’s advisable to meet with the team leader in advance to find out specific details so you can determine whether you want to move forward. Here are some to consider.

1. How is the Team Structured?

Portrait,Of,A,Young,Beautiful,Businesspeople,Shaking,Hands,Introducing,EachAs mentioned previously, teams can be structured in a variety of ways. Once you find out how the team runs, you will get a better idea of what your duties will be, and you can determine whether you feel the team works efficiently.

Team structure involves more than just the roles of the team members. You will also want to find out if the team is a franchise or an independent brokerage. A franchise will be a subdivision of a larger company and may help the team reputation, but an independent brokerage may provide more freedom to team members and may appeal to customers who prefer more of a mom-and-pop vibe.

You will also want to find out if the team specializes in a niche market or if they serve general real estate needs.  A niche company, for example, may cater to vacation properties, farm properties, golf properties and more. If the company specializes in a specific niche, it should be one you are knowledgeable about.

You must also consider if you prefer a niche market to a general market before joining a real estate team. While a general market may provide more opportunities because teams aren’t limited in who they serve, a niche team may end up getting singled out by certain clients making them stand out in the industry.

headshot (5)Team Lally
Adrienne Lally
Realtor Broker

“I started in real estate very young and just had a baby fresh out of the army and grew up in the real estate industry. I saw my mom be overworked and struggle with it. After having my baby, I decided I don’t want to be a soldier – I’m going to get my license, do real estate and help other veterans and educate them and do things a little differently.

Early on I realized I’m terrible with paperwork and get stressed out by it! It would just take me forever and it was the worst part of doing the transaction, so I enjoyed showing the homes, meeting with the clients, the people aspect. So, my first assistant was very organized and helped with that and from there it became built out of seeing talent in other people taking on things I’m not as strong in and knowing we could all do more together.

I think it was in 2007 when Attilio (first listing partner) joined and together we realized we could do even more things and take on more listings. I’m more of the visionary and he’s more of the tactician, so we ended up forming a partnership and that’s really how our team grew.

The are different pros to joining a team, especially as a new agent when you’re able to plug into a seasoned team so that your learning curve is severely cut short. You’re going to have more roadblocks and challenges if you do things the “traditional” way and you might be losing the “being your own boss” path that many like, but when you’re part of a team you become part of a group’s standards that require you to do your part together to succeed.”

2. Where is the Team at and What are the Team Goals?

Group,Of,Architect,Business,Team,People,On,Meeting,Looking,ModelIn order to start and maintain a real estate team, you must be completing a certain number of transactions a year, and the more the better.  Ask the team leader how many transactions they are averaging annually and the value of those transactions to get an idea of the money you will be making.

You will also want to find out where the team is headed in the next few years. Are they looking to expand? Open new offices in other locations?

When asking these questions, don’t be afraid to get specific. Find out what they are looking at in terms of numbers. Ask them how they are hoping to achieve their long- and short-term goals. You want to find a team that has aspirations and the knowhow to reach their goals.

3. What is the Financial Breakdown?

Real,Estate,Agent,And,Sales,Manager,Team,Analysis,Pricing,OfWhen you apply for a job, you usually know exactly how much you are going to make. Why should a real estate team be any different?

Agents on a real estate team are typically paid by commission so your pay may be more of a guessing game. But if you ask the right questions, you will get a good idea of what you’ll be earning. Here are some that will get you closer to knowing how much you’ll be bringing home.

  • Do agents get paid by commission, salary or a hybrid split?
  • If I’m paid by salary, how much will I be making?
  • Does the team offer bonuses and if so, how do they work?
  • If I’m paid by commission, what is the commissions split?
  • Is there a cap on the commission?
  • How much does the average agent make annually?

You also may be paying fees that will be deducted from your take home pay. Here are some fees you should be inquiring about.

  • Brokerage fees including desk fees, office fees, MLS fees insurance and more.
  • Fees for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools
  • Other startup costs including marketing, business cards, etc.

Ideally, you will want to find a team that charges as few fees as possible so take home the maximum amount.

You may also be entitled to benefits that make the deal sweeter. These can include health and life insurance, sick days, vacation days, profit sharing and more.

4. What Will My Role Be in the Company?

Beautiful,Business,Woman,And,Group,Of,Workers.Every member of the team has a different role and it’s important to find out what’s expected of you. It’s not enough to assume that you will be an agent and will have to perform regular agent duties. You may be in charge of open houses, preparing contracts, listings or a combination of tasks.

There are also other roles on the team including ISA’s, administrative positions and more. You may want to inquire about those if you feel like branching out in the field.

Once you get an idea of what you will be doing, determine if it’s a good fit for your personality, your personal goals and your schedule.

5. Is It a Good Culture Fit?

Most real estate teams have a specific culture. Some support specific causes. Some emphasis diversity. Some focus on a healthy work life balance. Others may be modeled after the team leader and may use their reputation to guide their brand image.

The team culture will determine how well you get along in the company and whether you are a good fit with your employer and colleagues. If the culture doesn’t feel right to you, don’t try to force it. If you do, you probably won’t be happy with the team at some point down the line.

6. What Technology Do They Use?

Business,Handshake,And,Business,People.,Business,Executives,To,Congratulate,TheIn today’s tech-oriented world, the technology a company uses is so important. It can make an employee’s life easier; it can provide a better customer experience and it can make them stand out as an innovator in their field.

There are many ways technology can come into play when joining a real estate team. It includes the tools agents and staff uses while they are in the office including computers, printers, lead software and more. Mortgage calculators, camera scanners, automated dialers, CRM and transaction management software will come in handy in the office and in the field.

It can also include virtual showings. In modern times, virtual tools can be used to provide 3D images that simulate the experience of stepping into a home. This is an easy way for buyers to test drive homes before they decide if they want to move forward, and it can be extremely useful in closing deals.

Technology will also play a role in how a team handles their marketing, their social media presence and more. It’s important to find a company that’s visible on a variety of platforms and uses the tools they need to get ahead.

7. What Mentoring Opportunities are Available?

This question is a good one for agents that are starting out, but it can apply to agents at any level.

When joining a real estate team, it is not uncommon for new agents to be taken under a more experienced agent’s wing. They will show them the ropes so they can become better trained in the industry. Once they have the knowledge they need to advance, they may move up to a mentee role.

But even if you are joining the team as a more experienced agent, you may want to find out if you will receive any continued education and training opportunities. You will also want to ask about the possibilities for advancement in terms of position and pay.

8. What Do I Land My Clients?

jotting down notes at a meetingWhen you work in real estate, it’s all about getting clients and closing deals. Typically, in a real estate team, the leader and sales agents are responsible for generating leads which are then passed down to the agents.

But it’s important to find out how leads are handled in advance.  Ideally, you won’t want to end up on a team where you are on your own when it comes to generating leads and landing clients.

You will also want to find out how soon it will be before you start working with sellers. Some companies may require you to go through a training period before they let you get hands on experience. In general, the sooner you work directly with clients the better.

A real estate team can be a great way to get ahead in the industry. Now that you know the questions to ask in finding one that’s right for you, you can join one that offers the perfect fit. Do you feel that a team is the best move for your career?

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 6/8/2022