A Real Estate Brokerage and Team Distinctions
Real estate teams have been around for decades, but you can be forgiven for not being familiar with them if you’re new to real estate or work in a market where teams aren’t very active. Over the past few years, new tactics like expansion teams have boosted the number of teams operating in the country as well as those teams’ market share, and joining a team instead of operating individually under a brokerage can be a good option for agents both starting out in the business and working on gaining more experience.
However, the nuances between a real estate team and a brokerage can be confusing even to the initiated. The important distinctions between teams and brokerages and how that affects the agents working under each are important to understand before you decide to join either.
Teams are part of a brokerage
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a real estate team operates independently — a team leader, however, established and experienced, is not necessarily the same thing as a real estate broker, who has had to practice for a certain number of years and pass specific exams in order to earn a broker’s license.
And so like any other real estate agent, a team leader and all the team members still have to work under the auspices of an experienced real estate broker. This means that some of the profits the team generates will go to the broker for administration, overhead, and other fees agents typically pay their supervisors. Teams vary in how they distribute these fees to team members, so it’s smart to ask about the different fees associated with belonging to both a team and a brokerage before signing up with either.
So what exactly is a team?
A real estate team is a group of people, most or all of them licensed agents, who work the same leads, which are generated by the team leader. Teams can comprise just a handful of people — perhaps one other agent who works leads alongside the team leader — or can stretch to dozens or even hundreds of team members, especially if the team leader expands into a new market.
You don’t need any special qualifications to call yourself a real estate team, so agents joining a team (especially in a new area or one they aren’t familiar with) should ask lots of questions about that team’s production and business model to make sure it’s an appropriate fit for them. As noted before, teams still operate within a brokerage, but they can have unique cultures and agent experiences — for better or worse.