3 Secrets to Building a Real Estate Team That Won’t Drive You Crazy

Aug 9, 2018 by

Real estate teams are incredible, but they’re not for everyone, according to 18-year real estate veteran Leigh Brown. Brown is a broker/owner of Leigh Brown and Associates with RE/MAX. The 2017 president of CRS, Brown is also a recipient of Lifetime Achievement, Hall of Fame and Circle of Legends recognitions with RE/MAX International.

Building a team will either be a smart idea or a money pit, according to Brown, and you need to know how to make it successful before you start hiring. It’s not just earning big numbers; it’s about the earning the right numbers. The three secrets to building a successful real estate team are:

  • Understand why you’re setting up a team
  • Create a solid foundation (hire the right administrator and agents)
  • Create a true team environment

“I know a team who was doing $ 50 million in volume, but the team leader was only taking home $ 50,000 in sales. That was a money pit situation,” Brown says.

Do your research so you don’t end up in the same situation.

1. Understand Why You’re Setting Up a Team
Is a team the way to go for you? It could be if:

You need better work/life management.
If you feel like you’re going to explode if the phone rings one more time, your work/life balance is probably “out of whack.” You’re burned out. A team can help you restore balance.

You consistently have excess opportunities.
Are you staying busy but still getting calls you can’t get to—or are you so busy you’re not able to give your clients the level of service you want to? A team may help you seize the opportunities you’re missing, and help improve the service to the clients you already have.

Your strength is management, not sales.
You love the field, but what you’re really good at is managing, marketing and lead generation. Part of setting up a team is understanding yourself, your strengths and your skills. As a team leader, you’ll need to be a good manager, or hire one. When you’re putting together a job description for yourself, be honest: What is it you really love to do?

Things to Consider Before Setting Up a Team

Lead Generation
You have to have enough leads coming in to sustain you, as well as your team. As a team leader, you’ll be responsible not only for your income, but the income of others.

Control Freak
Can you control your inner control freak? You need to understand that you’re not going to have a team that does things 100 percent like you do. Understanding that if your team does things “right” 80 percent of the time, you’re ahead of the game. When you allow people to make mistakes, they’ll stop walking on eggshells and start working harder to get things right. Learn to let other people shine and they will.

2. Create a Solid Foundation
Before you hire a team of agents, you need a foundation. That foundation begins with a talented administrator.

However, before you can hire an administrator, you need to run your financial numbers. Look at the number of hours you work per week, including administrative work, email, DocuSign, Dropbox, showing houses and making calls. Now, add up the commission dollars you’ve made and divide that by the hours you’ve worked. What do you earn per hour? What does it cost to hire in your market? How many hours a week will you need them? Five? Ten? Twenty? With those numbers in hand, you’re ready to start building your team, and the first person you need to hire is an assistant.

Before you hire, you must know what you want your assistant to do, so create a detailed job description for the position. Create a checklist of any NRP (non-revenue producing) activities you want your assistant to handle, including paperwork, signs and lockboxes, putting out postcards, inputting people to your CRM and DocuSign requests.

Include “at-bats” (at least one lead generation or referral a month) in the job description. If you don’t ask people to bring you a referral, they won’t. 

Referral Agent
You may not be ready or want to train, hire and manage a buyer agent right away. If so, you can seek out a like-minded agent who is great at closing, but who needs leads.

Expectations are the key here, Brown emphasizes. Know what you will pay them. Have systems in place for tracking leads and closings. Figure out what happens after the closing and what your role with the client is after the closing. Build a relationship on honor and trust with these agents.

Buyer Agent
The job description here is critical. Be very clear when setting and communicating your expectations. You should also take time to figure out what kind of personality you’ll work best with. Look for someone who will balance you, and whom you will balance.

Hiring tips:

  • “Hire the people who are great at what you suck at,” Brown says. “Check with REALTORS® who are not built for sales or who don’t want to put in ‘REALTOR® hours,’ but who want to be in the business.”
  • Pay a little more to get the best people possible. If everyone else is paying $ 10 an hour, you should pay $ 13-$ 15 an hour. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much more for you, but it will create loyalty in your employee. It also shows others you take care of your people.
  • Hire in your local market, not offshore. By hiring locally, you become known as a local employer, and people you hire can also refer people to you.
  • Hire part-time. You can hire someone for 5-10 hours a week and build. If you hire someone who will hustle and generate leads to increase your business and their hours, all the better.
  • Hire for qualities, not task performance. “Attitude matters more than skills,” Brown explains. “Phone skills, handwriting, personality and people skills matter.”
  • Take the DISC personality profile. Take it yourself first, then have them take the DISC personality profile to ensure you balance each other. Pay the $ 29 for the full test, not the free one. It’s more accurate.
  • Take your time hiring. Make hiring a multi-step process so you get the right person.

3. Create a True Team Environment
Once you’ve built a team, how do you stay the course? Start with the details. This includes meetings, goal-setting, team evaluations and individual reviews. Unless your team is one cohesive unit with excellent communication, specific goals and opportunities for everyone involved, your team won’t work.

In a recent webinar, Brown went into extended details about how to structure payment schedules, training, reviews and team-building. Get tips from Brown and watch the full webinar for more detailed steps to ensure you find, hire, train and retain the right people to get the best team members possible.

For more information, please visit

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Teamify: When and Why to Build a Real Estate Team

May 11, 2017 by

Many successful REALTORS® struggle with whether or not they should create a team or consider a partnership. Team-building experts Jim Remley and James Colburn make answering those questions much less of a struggle. Remley and Colburn are co-authors of the upcoming book, “Teamify,” which they describe as the “no headache, step-by-step guide to creating a winning real estate team, crushing your competition, and getting your life back.” They should know.

At age 19 Remley listed over 150 properties in a 12-month period. He’s currently listed in the top 1 percent of REALTORS® nationwide. He’s the author of three books, including “Real Estate Presentations That Make Millions” and “Sell Your Home in Any Market.” He’s an accredited Luxury Home Specialist and the principal broker/sales manager at John L. Scott Medford & Ashland.

Co-author Colburn is well established, as well. He’s been a top-producing REALTOR® since the 1990s and is the author of the five-star success book “RESUCCEED.”

In a recent webinar, Remley and Colburn outlined the questions you must ask yourself, and the path you must follow to create a winning team or partnership—beginning with common misconceptions and surprising realities about what teams and partnerships are, and what they are not. Remley and Colburn explained what each structure can and can’t realistically accomplish for your firm, and explain what every REALTOR® needs to consider before moving forward.

The No. 1 Reason for Creating a Team
Do you want more leads? Teams are a great way to get them—but only if you’re in a position where a team will work for you, not against you. Just because everyone else is doing it, you’re too busy to go it alone, you want more of a work/life balance, or because you want to make more money, isn’t reason enough. Your No. 1 reason for creating a team should be that you consistently have more leads than you can follow up on.

“The No. 1 thing to consider when thinking about starting a team is the number of leads you have. Do you have them, and can you generate enough of them to feed a team?” Remley asked.

To create a successful team, you need to have a constant stream of leads to feed the team. Long before starting a team, find out how many leads you’re actually generating. Find a junior agent or someone in the office you can hand off 10 to 15 leads to for three or four months. See if you have the business you think you do before try to justify a team. Building a team is not a revolution, but an evolution. It takes time and effort to get there.

Doughnuts to Dollars
Using what he termed the “bakery example,” Remley asked, “How do you sell more doughnuts?” Which comes first, hiring more employees, or selling more doughnuts? Selling more doughnuts, of course.

“First and foremost,” he said, “team leaders are great at ‘selling doughnuts.’ They are lead generators. Until you get control of leads, you have no business starting a team. Sometimes we think a team is four, five, or 10 people. A team can be as little as you and an assistant. The first evolution of team-building is an assistant, so, hire a full-time assistant. If you can’t afford to hire a full-time assistant, you have no business starting a team.”

Truths About Teams
Don’t assume that if you create a great team and hire successful agents, you’ll generate more leads. “If team members could generate leads themselves, they wouldn’t join a team. Do not expect them to be a significant source of leads,” Remley said. “It’s not that they’re not great salespeople; it’s that it’s just not their forte to be great lead generators, and that’s okay. Everyone has a role to play.”

To be a team leader, you must be a rainmaker, a haymaker and a leader. “Even if you’re not a leader today, you can become one,” he said.

The First Steps to Create a Team
Hire a full-time, licensed assistant. As your business grows, their job can shift into the position of team administrator. Their No. 1 job should be building repeatable and scalable systems; without repeatable systems, you don’t have a business.

Remley stressed that an important step is to “create an incubation system for generating leads. You must have a system for building leads. Without it, you’re missing the boat.” Start by creating a communication system—your assistant should be calling or reaching out to your clients every day.

Don’t try to take on too much change all at once. Evolution is a slow process; start small and grow.

Is a Team Not an Option? How About a Partnership Instead?
If a team might be too much, why not consider a partnership? They can be incredibly lucrative, but they have their drawbacks, Remley said. “Inevitably one person becomes the lead generator and the other becomes the administrative person,” he said. “At some point partnerships fail because the compensation model feels unfair.”

The way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to have clear financial goals and compensation agreements in place from the beginning. Create clearly-defined roles and job descriptions. “Have something in writing that says, ‘This is what I’m responsible for and this is what you’re responsible for,’ and, most importantly, have an exit strategy—a way to get out without burning bridges if things just don’t work out. I know from experience that when partnerships end, they usually end poorly.”

The No. 1 test for picking a partner? Road trips. “Take a road trip with the person you’re considering partnering with,” Remley said. “If you can’t be in a car with this person for eight or 10 hours for a couple of days, you can’t work with this person for 40 or more hours a week.”

“Being in a team is a lot different than being in a partnership,” Colburn said. “In a team, one person is the leader and in charge. In a partnership, both people have the same amount of control. So, that’s why if you’re considering a partnership, take a road trip!”

To learn more about the pros and cons of creating a team and to see if creating a team or a partnership is your best option, listen to the Teamify webinar at

For more information, please visit

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post Teamify: When and Why to Build a Real Estate Team appeared first on RISMedia.


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