Real Estate Team Building Strategy #3: Define Your Team Model

There are several model variations for real estate agent teams.  In this real estate team building tip, we discuss the differences, pros, and cons for the primary models we have identified at WBNL Coaching and Real Estate Team Builder:

  • Informal Team
  • Partnership
  • Niche or Specialty Team
  • Rainmaker Team
  • Traditional Broker-Style Team
  • Expansion Team

Informal Team

  • Lead Agent gives referrals/leads to other agents
  • Written referral agreement
  • Referred agents conduct own business without sharing commissions with Lead Agent
  • Pros: minimal responsibility for managing a team for the lead agent; less risk and commitment to resources
  • Cons: Less control over lead and priority referred agent gives this business vs. their own


  • Two or more team leaders form a partnership
    • Spouses, family, related in some way
    • Individual agents join forces to build a team
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses – partnerships can balance
  • Leverage time and resources
  • Brings credibility and added value
  • Written partnership agreement
    • Outlines division of tasks/responsibilities
    • Addresses expenses and how covered by partners
      • Marketing LLC?
    • How commission is shared: all business vs. personal SOI
      • Dig into the details here – second and third generation leads?
    • Dissolution clause that addresses database, any intellectual property, websites, software, open escrows, and listings

Niche or Specialty Team

  • In this model, the team leader specializes in a particular market, niche or area (Luxury, Military/Veterans, Seniors, High Rise, etc)
  • A variation could be having a diverse team of agents who specialize in a particular niche or geographic area
  • Yet another variation may be a unique team of specialists with defined duties and a specific sharing of the commission based on duties.  It is imperative to have very clear job descriptions and accompanying fee or commission amount earned per closing.
    • Team Leader may be either the CEO/COO overseeing the operation or the Primary Listing Agent
    • Listing specialist handles all the listing paperwork, marketing, and servicing of the listing
    • Showing /buyer agent who shows team listings and may represent the buyer in a sale of a team listing
    • Inside sales agent/leads coordinator who qualifies and nurtures leads, distributes and tracks all leads
    • Showing agent who simply shows properties and hands client off to a buyers agent who writes presents and negotiates the purchase agreement.  Either the showing agent or buyer agent attend inspections and the walk-through
    • Or a traditional Buyer agent who shows properties writes, presents and negotiates the offer; also attends inspections and walkthrough
    • Transaction Coordinator / Closing agent who handles all the details of closing the escrow

Rainmaker Team

  • Team Leader(s) is in charge; primarily listing agent, rainmaker (lead generator).
  • Internet-based lead generation teams produce primarily buyer sales
  • Team associates also generate their own leads (Teach to fish)
  • Team size and structure varies based on goals and production of the Team Leader
  • Written agreements with Team Associates outlining commission sharing, termination policy, team procedures, expectations, termination policy.
  • It’s not always about the leads! Team associates want structure, security and to learn from the top producer.
  • Pros: Increase productivity; additional income; specialization; leverage time and resources with the right team members
  • Cons: Inevitable challenges that come with managing people; turnover; recruiting and retaining good agents


Variations of the organization chart

  • Dual roles for the key position
    • Team Manager is also the leads manager
    • Admin serves as TC, Marketing
    • Hire to additional positions when needed (set a revenue goal)
  • Define Your Listing Policy
    • Can Buyers Agents List?
    • Or are all listings referred to team leader
    • Are listings in Team Leaders name/MLS ID with TA listed as the co-listing agent
    • Recommend Team Yard sign with optional sign rider
    • Do you want a listings specialist or showing agent?

Traditional Brokerage Style Team

  • Team Leader(s) has more of broker-owner/COO role. May list and sell but not the primary role as in Rainmaker Team.
  • Team size and structure varies based on goals
  • The model focuses on hiring and training new or newer licensees
  • Must have a new agent training program and team manager(s) (10-15 agents to 1 manager ratio is recommended)
  • Must compete with traditional companies who focus on new agents with tools, resources, support, and training.
  • Written agreements with Team Associates outlining commission sharing, termination policy, team procedures, expectations, termination policy.
  • It’s not always about the leads! New agents want structure, security, training, mentoring and leadership.
  • Pros: Higher team dollar generated initially with lower splits; Increase productivity; specialization; leverage time and resources with the right team members
  • Cons: Time and expense of training new agents; turnover of new licensees; recruiting and retaining good agents; retaining solid team managers; always recruiting; managing the larger operation



Expansion Team Model

  • Both the Rainmaker & Traditional Brokerage Style Model will work for expansion teams
  • Must have rock solid team operations manual and turnkey systems in place
  • Identify Team Manager first in the new market
  • Team Leader and primary staff support the satellite teams (Home base operations)
  • Leverage technology, cloud-based operations
  • Ideally – stay within your company/franchise

Let’s Connect!

At Home Connect America: THE Home for Teams, we see YOU as a small business owner.  Home Connect America was created to help professionals like you build a successful real estate team.  Our purpose is to help you seamlessly connect your business, your life, and your community so that you realize your ultimate goals and dreams.  Our ultimate goal is to provide you with freedom.  Everyone has a different objective and we believe that you should have the freedom to achieve what you want.  We’ll be there to help you reach whatever that looks like for you.  We make it happen with specialized coaching, training, and business systems designed to show you how to operate a successful business focused on providing excellent service and results.

Contact Jan O’Brien for a confidential interview to learn more about our proprietary training and coaching programs, team systems and software. Call or text Jan at 702-858-9191.

Real Estate and Reality meet as co-hosts, Jan O’Brien and Matt Emerson bring you Tips, Tools, & Topics to supercharge your business. They’ll share their insights along with interviews with industry thought leaders. The ethos of WBNL Coaching is helping you to align and connect so that you can prosper. The Wandering Zen segment will offer you some inspiration so that you can disconnect and recharge.

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