Over the past couple years, one of the most popular trends in the real estate industry has been the emergence of real estate teams. Real estate teams are being formed daily and can range from a couple agents to several dozen agents coming together.
In many cases, real estate teams are formed to boost an agent’s sales numbers. However, this is not the right reason to form a team. Instead, one should want to join or create a team to improve the customer experience.
If you’re planning on buying or selling a home, it’s important you understand whom you’re hiring to help you. If you’re interviewing a Realtor to sell a home or assist with buying a home, you must ask whether they work solo or with a team.
There are PROs and CONs to both working with solo real estate agents and working with a team of agents. In this article I discuss the tradeoffs of each option. To make an educated decision, you need a strong understanding of the differences between the two.
Solo Real Estate Agent
A solo real estate agent is self-explanatory: one who works directly with a buyer or seller from start to finish.
If it’s a solo listing agent, you should expect the agent to produce and discuss your comparative market analysis, recommend a pricing strategy, and prepare the marketing plan required to sell your home.
If it’s a solo buyer’s agent, you should expect the agent to schedule private tours of potential homes, prepare and explain the purchase offer, negotiate the contract, attend inspections, and ensure the home- buying process stays on schedule.
Real Estate Teams
Real estate teams, on the other hand, are comprised of a group of professionals. It’s not uncommon to see teams consist of listing agents, buyer’s agents, transaction coordinators, administrative assistants, and marketing specialists.
If you’re hiring a team, your expectations will depend on how each team is run. Thus, it’s critical to understand how a real estate team works with their clients before hiring them.
For example, if you’re buying a home, the last thing you want is to find out that the agent you assumed you’d be working with is not a buyer’s agent for their team, and so, you won’t actually work with that agent.
What Are The PROs Of Hiring A Solo Real Estate Agent?
Building A Relationship
Buying or selling a home can be emotional and stressful. So, it’s vital to the success of a real estate transaction that you’re comfortable with the professional representing your interests.
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a solo agent is that you can build a one-on-one relationship. Since buying or selling a home requires disclosing personal and/or business financial data, it’s critical you trust your agent to maintain strict confidentiality with your personal information.
Solo Real Estate Agents Have Full Responsibility
There are certain things to expect from a real estate agent when buying or selling a home, one of the most important being their responsibility for your best interests. When you hire a solo agent, you can expect them to take full responsibility of the transaction.
For example, if you hire a solo agent and it’s later discovered that an important document wasn’t circulated in a timely fashion, which created a delay in the house closing, that agent must accept responsibility.
What Are The CONs Of Hiring A Solo Real Estate Agent?
Availability Can Be Limited
Since a solo real estate agent cannot be in two places at once, their availability is limited.
For example, if you’re buying a home in a hot seller’s market and you see a new listing you want to check out, it’s important to schedule an appointment ASAP. Moreover, it can be a challenge coordinating a time that works for all parties if a solo agent is booked with appointments.
A key way to avoid running into issues with an agent’s availability is to ask prospective agents how many clients they work with at a given time. A successful solo agent can work with 15-20 clients at one time if they have the proper systems in place.
What Are The PROs Of Hiring A Team Of Real Estate Agents?
Multiple Professionals For The Same Price
One of the biggest PROs of working with a real estate team is that it doesn’t cost additional money and you benefit from additional professionals. Depending on the makeup of the team, you may have access to a transaction coordinator, marketing professional, listing specialist, and buyer specialist (among others) for the same cost as having a solo agent.
Tasks Can Be Delegated
Teams often have systems in place to delegate specific tasks. Thus, there is a professional for each task instead of a single agent trying to accomplish it all. For example, if you’re selling a home with a team that has a marketing professional on staff, you should feel confident they’ll know good marketing strategies and can dedicate their time and energy to that specific task.
What Are The CONs Of Hiring A Team Of Real Estate Agents?
Potential Breakdown In Communication
Have you heard the saying, “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth?” One of the biggest drawbacks of hiring a team of real estate professionals is the increased risk of communication breakdowns, especially as the team gets larger.
There are many moving parts in the home-buying and home-selling processes, so communication is key! Lack of satisfactory communication can be disastrous for a real estate transaction, and it’s actually one of the most common reasons a real estate deal falls apart.
The Team Leader Disappears
One of the most common reasons a real estate team gets a bad reputation is that the team leader disappears or is hard to reach after the listing agreement is signed. Yes, this really does happen.
Tips To Help Decide Whether To Hire A Solo Real Estate Agent Or Team
The decision whether to hire a solo real estate agent or a team is an important one. Hiring the wrong agent can make the process of buying or selling a home impossible and miserable, so below are tips to help you decide whether hiring a solo agent or team is better for you!
You’re Hiring An Agent…Not The Team Or Company!
Agents that work for the same company or on the same team can have unique work ethics, marketing skills, negotiation tactics, and industry experience, so remember you’re hiring the agent, not the company or team.
The decision of whether to hire a solo agent or team can be simple if the agent you want to work with doesn’t work with buyers and you’re buying a home! In this scenario, unless the agent can make an exception to the team rules, you will want to explore other options.
For Sellers: How Will Your Home Be Marketed?
There are many solo agents across the country who have great marketing skills, and some such agents even blow away the marketing of real estate teams with dozens of members.
So, when deciding whether to hire a solo agent or a team to sell your home, get a detailed marketing plan, check references, and ask tough questions.
Understand How The Lines Of Communication Will Work
When deciding between a solo agent or a team, you must understand how communication will work. If you’re interviewing a team, who do you contact to schedule an appointment to view a home? Who do you contact with questions about the closing date?
If you’re comfortable with how the communication will work with a team, then hiring a team could be the right decision. But, if you’re confused about how the communication will work, you may want to stick to a solo agent, as the lines of communication are simpler.
When involved in a real estate transaction, whether it’s as a buyer or as a seller, it’s important to realize that the person or team you hire to represent your interests can be the difference between a pleasurable experience and a miserable one.
The above tradeoffs to hiring a solo agent versus a team should be evaluated before signing a contract, as a failure to understand them can lead to unnecessary surprises once a transaction is underway.