How to Build a High-Performing Real Estate Team in 12 Simple Steps


When you sell a home, you are typically represented by one agent. The agent will attract buyers, show the home, deal with the financials and more. Basically, he or she will see you through from the time you decide to put the home on the market to closing.

Now agents are doing things differently. They are working on real estate teams.

A real estate team can work in various ways. Different agents may be designed different tasks, or every member may perform tasks as needed. They provide optimal service for clients and take some of the stress off each agent’s shoulders.

But there is one feature common to every real estate team and that’s the leader. The leader will be responsible for bringing in leads. They will also help manage and mentor their team. They will hire employees as needed to maintain growth and they will organize the business.

Being a real estate team leader can be quite lucrative, but it also comes with its share of responsibilities. If you have a good team behind you, your job will be a lot easier, and your venture will be highly profitable. Here are some tips that will help you build a high-performance team you can count on to close sales and bring in the dough.

1. Start With Yourself

Beautiful,Business,Woman,And,Group,Of,Workers.A strong team is only possible with a strong leader. Therefore, you will have to ask yourself some key questions to make sure you are ready to provide the guidance needed to make your team a success.

For one, you will need to figure out if you have the volume to justify building a team. Generally, you should not be started a team unless you’re handling about 40 transactions a year. An individual agent can usually handle 50-60 transactions annually, so if you are outperforming those numbers, hiring a team is recommended.

Consider that your team will also be splitting commissions, so you want to bring in enough money to make sure everyone is profitable.

But having the volume to hire a team shouldn’t be the only thing that factors into the decision to start one. You should also have the makings of a good leader. You need to be able to inspire and motivate your team and guide them in the right direction.

Leadership qualities can be developed overtime, but they should be somewhat inherent. Decide if you have what it takes before moving forward.

Learn from the best: 

Sample (2)Amy Herman is a team leader at SERHANT, and frequent guest on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York.  Amy has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years and currently has three dedicated team members and four agents who help her manage her business.
“As you grow as an agent – from experience and when extracting your ego – you realize your strengths and weaknesses. A few years ago, after being in the business about 15 years, I realized how helpful it would be to have administrative help. I started by enlisting one team member to do that and occasional showings. Now, with having over 25 listings to sell in both NYC and the Hamptons, I have team members who specialize in various neighborhoods, new development sales and admin, research etc. This type of teamwork really is an asset and extremely valuable to all of our clients. It took me some time to understand best how to manage everyone but we are in a real groove now!” 


2. Set Goals and Acquire Team Members Accordingly

The first step of starting your business will be to set goals. Think of how many transactions you want to close each year and how much money you want to generate. Then work backwards to determine how many team members you will need to reach your goals.

As the team leader, your main role is Chief Lead Generator.  Decide how many leads you would like to bring in and figure out how many team members you will need to handle these leads.

Sample (3)


“At Northrop Realty, we believe an agent can start a team after achieving a specific volume and being in the real estate business for at least three years. However, once they form their team and become the team leader, they must lead by example and be a rainmaker. More importantly, align themselves and the team with our brokerage utilizing our proven systems and support team and in-house training to support their growth ultimately. This year we have multiple teams in our brokerage that have more than double their business. For example, we have a team who went from 100 million to 200 million+ in volume using our world-class approach,” – Creig Northrop, Founder and CEO of Northrop Realty


Advice from the pros:

Jasmine Lee

Jasmine Lee and Selena Young of the Jasmine Lee Real Estate Team have a combined total of 10 years of experience. Here’s are their tips on how to form a successful real estate team:

“We’re not a regular team, we’re a cool team! All jokes aside, our ‘team’ does not demonstrate the structure of a typical real estate team. While many have found value in the arrangement of team leads and team members, we have found that we work best as a partnership. And as partners, we sit down together once a month, quarter, and year to review our past sales and where they came from to set a production-based schedule for the future. From there, we put up our quarterly and monthly goals in the office to constantly remind us of our commitment to each other and our business. It’s a big motivation help to Selena Youngget us where we want to go. 

We also provide each other with quarterly ‘fearless feedback.’ During that time, we discuss what we believe we are doing well , along with any challenges we encounter. Together, we collaborate and come up with solutions for each challenge that we face.

Being on the same page and able to utilize the strengths, resources, and expertise of the other has allowed our business to take off, while continuing to guarantee quality service to our clients. So, keep an eye out, because we are just getting started!”


3. Decide What Systems to Integrate

A real estate team has several duties. They will bring in leads and follow up on them. They must keep track of inventory and finances. They must do marketing and advertising. And don’t forget about everything that goes into the actual sale including showings, contracts and more.

Integrating these systems will take a good amount of organization as well as the right software tools and the agents with the knowhow to use them. There are ways to help make this easier. For example, you could use a team focused solution like Market Leader Teams that provides a shard marketing database and assets to allow teams to collaborate and work more efficiently together. Products like Market Leader Teams offer everything an all-in-one solution geared towards individual agents provides, they just enhance it with things like, custom lead routing, to make operating a team easier and more productive.

Experts recommend that you integrate the following systems into your team to implement a well-organized operation.

  • Business plans and goals
  • The creation and maintenance of a brand vision and identity
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Database and referral systems
  • Listing inventory and farming system
  • Buyer escrow and transaction management
  • Lead generations and follow up
  • Financial and profitability forecasts


4. Hiring

Real,Estate,Agent,And,Sales,Manager,Team,Analysis,Pricing,OfThe next step will be hiring a strong team. The building of your team will not only revolve around who you are hiring but the positions you are hiring for.

There will also be certain roles you will want to hire for first so you can get your business off the ground quickly. Here is a smart hiring order example.

Administrative Assistants

Many team leaders will hire buying agents first as these individuals will be at the core of their business. However, if you don’t have the administration to run your team, it will fall apart. Therefore, these are the positions you want to hire for first.

You assistant will help you handle paperwork and other office duties so you can focus on the big picture.

Buyer Agent

Your buyer agent comes next. This individual will be in charge of making sure no leads fall through the cracks. They will be responsible for database maintenance and follow ups.

The person you hire should be able to handle up to four transactions a month. If you start to exceed that number, consider bringing another agent in.

Inside Sales Agent

Group,Of,Architect,Business,Team,People,On,Meeting,Looking,ModelAn inside sales agent will help with lead follow up, but their main role will be to bring in new leads. They may make cold calls, hit the streets or do whatever else it takes. They will also make appointments for leads.

Once you bring in an ISA, things will start taking off on both sides. Get ready to do more hiring!

Listing Agent

Listing agents help sellers price, stage and market their property, so it looks its best for prospective buyers. Once you’ve reached the maximum number of listings you can handle, consider hiring a listing agent.

You may also consider bringing in a third-party listing agent which will typically cost around $300 – $700 a transaction. This should be easily affordable for agents who are on the real estate team level.

Other Roles

As your team grows, you may consider bringing in more members like a marketing director, showing assistants, personal assistants and more. The positions you bring in should be based on your professional needs as your team grows.


5. Get to Know Your Real Estate Team

team working with laptopsAs a real estate team leader, you’ll have a lot on your hands. However, it’s essential to take the time to get to know your team. This will help you familiarize yourself with their strengths and weaknesses so you can get them to perform at their best.

The first thing you will want to do is determine your own strengths and weaknesses. That way you can designate tasks you’re not so great at to team members who will be able to handle them efficiently.

You will also want to assess each teammates’ personality. This is typically done in accordance with a DiSC Assessment. According to this method, team members can be categorizes as follows:

  • Dominance: Direct, strong willed and forceful
  • Influence: Social, talkative and vivacious
  • Steadiness: Gentle, accommodating and soft-hearted
  • Conscientiousness: Private, analytical, logical

Once you figure out what categories your team members fit into, you’ll be able to determine the tasks that are best suited to them. For instance, an Influence person will be great in a sales role while someone conscientious may be better off in an organizational position.


6. Be Intuitive When Hiring

jotting down notes at a meetingWhen it comes to hiring, intuition is key. The person you choose should be self-motivated and also aware of the bigger picture. They should have personality traits that work well for the positions they are applying for.

It is recommended to start eliminating candidates you don’t want in the early stages of the hiring process. Then focus in on your finalists to pick the cream of your crop. Usually, your gut will tell you who is right for your team.


7. Create the Right Structure for Your Real Estate Team

There are several structures you can use for your real estate team, but they will typically fit into one of three categories as follows:

  • The Mentor/Mentee Model: The mentor/mentee model focuses on developing agents to improve their real estate skills. Once they graduate from a mentee role, they can become a mentor working to shape new members of your team.
  • Team Lead Model: A team lead model revolves around the brand identity of the team leader. It is the way to go if you have made a name for yourself in the real estate industry.
  • Lead Team Model: This model focuses on generating inbound leads. It may require additional upfront costs, but it’s likely to provide high growth rates. It’s ideal for those with strong marketing skills.


8. Figure Out Your Budget

real estate team hands inEvery team leader will need to figure out a budget for their team. Your agents will likely be paid in commissions with the biggest split going to the leader. So, if there’s a three-person team, there might be a 60/20/20 split with the 60% going to the leader.

Consider that, as a leader, this isn’t just take-home pay. It will be used to cover office and marketing expenses and staff salary as well as any other expenses that figure in.

When budgeting, you will need to determine company goals to ensure you are performing at an efficient pace when it comes to covering expenses and seeing to it that everybody profits.


9. Fire Fast

Fire fast is an expression often used in business, and it makes sense. If someone is bringing down the team, keeping them on will do more harm than good both for yourself, your team members and the employee. It’s better to rip the bandage off quickly so your team can prosper, and the employee can move on to other endeavors.

However, you must also determine if you are making the right choice when firing a person. You must ask yourself whether they have the potential to succeed, and you must make sure you gave them every chance possible by providing them with the tools necessary for success.

If you gave them every opportunity and you were still unable to make it work, it’s best to move on.


10. Motivate Yourself and Your Teams with the “Whys’

sold signFinding the reason behind what you are doing gives you a purpose to stay motivated. There are various reasons why people do what they do. Money usually factors in, but agents may also get satisfaction off achieving personal goals and helping people through a life changing event- such as a home sale.

The people on your team may have different ‘whys’ that drive them to success. As a leader, it’s important to find out what those whys are so you can keep them motivated.

Some leaders start their mornings with a group call to motivate their team. They provide words of encouragement to inspire them to reach their goals. They may tell their team that today is the day when they can make a difference.

A leader board can also keep workers focused. Hang one in your office to show how each team member is doing in terms of reaching their goals. This will promote friendly competition and illustrate what they need to do to reach their goals.


11. Encourage Great Customer Service

shaking handsAs in any field, your team won’t be successful if you don’t provide great customer service. If you treat your customers well, they may refer you to other clients and they may use you again in the future if the need arises.

Here are some things you can do to provide top-notch customer service:

  • Respond promptly: Aim to respond to customer inquiries in no more than an hour.
  • Over Communicate: Everyone wants answers quickly, but if you can provide clients with even more information than they ask for, it can go a long way.
  • Cut the Jargon: Real estate jargon is difficult for clients to understand. They will appreciate it if you speak to them using everyday language that makes communication more accessible.


12. Learn From Mistakes

As a leader, you’re bound to make mistakes. You may make poor hiring decisions. You may lose deals. You may even lead your team astray.

Failures happen and it’s important not to beat yourself up over them. Instead, look at them as a learning opportunity. Avoid making the same mistakes to ensure future success.

Real estate teams are the way of the future. You can join a team, or you can be a leader. Leading a team is not easy, but if you feel like you are cut out for it, it could be a worthwhile endeavor. What move will you be making in 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: 8/22/2023