One of the valuable attributes of our industry is the opportunity to enter the profession at different levels of finacial and temporal commitment. Assistant level to another licensee, part -time sales, on-site brokerage, serving on a team as a buyer agent, or general brokerage agent are the primary options to consider.
I find that most of my readers are weighing two choices: working as a buyer agent on a large team or building their own practice as a solo agent. Both are great ways to work in real estate, it is simply a matter of determining what best suits your goals and temperment. Here are a few key areas to consider:
Ego Management: Do you struggle if you're not calling the shots? Do you prefer for someone else to direct your work? Think carefully about those two questions. If you like direction, working on the team of a high volume agent provides assignments and clarity. If you prefer to determine your own strategies, marketing, and prospecting activities, you may want to be on your won.
Resources: As a new agent it is challenging to make all the investments in professional membership, monthly fees, and technology services. Many high volume agents cover some or all expenses for their assistant agents. That's a big advantage on the debit line. If you have saved money for start up or have another revenue stream to cover the real estate nut, then you can make that investment in your self.
Support: Working on your own means that, well, you're working on your own. Hello Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. Some of us are wired to love that challenge, but others may prefer having the simplicity of a narrow assignment. Working on a team usually means you have a clear role such as buyer agent or contract-to-closing coordinator.
Pay Days: Higher risk, higher reward - right? Working on your own means you're not sharing that commission with other team members. After your company split (that's a whole other story), you take home the bacon. Working on a team usually means some complexities in calculations. You'll start with the company split on a sale you brokered, followed by another split to the lead agent. It's also possible that your compensation is a flat fee with incrementals for exceeding monthly quotas. You might even work on an hourly rate. If you're contemplating working on a team, this is an important area to explore and document with the agent you're going to follow.
Your Time: As a team member, you'll probably have assigned days to work and cover clients and leads for your sponsoring agent. You'll have to work your schedule around the dictates of these assignments. Think job. Some of us are wired to work this way, but many people choose a career in real estate so they can dictate their own schedule. As an independent agent, you decide when you want to work and you can always make that Yoga class on Mondays at 2 pm if that is what floats your boat.
Short Term: Working on a team has significant short term benefits. You have leads - the most important survival component in our business when an agent is launching into the career. Some or all of your expenses are covered, too. That's a HUGE plus. As a solo agent, you begin with no or few leads and the responsibility of all your expenses. You eat what you kill, if you don't mind the hunting analogy. Some people are wired to take the risk and go out and reap a big time pay day all on their own.
Long Term: no debate, there is more money in your pockets by working long term on your own. Splits with sponsoring agents are usually significant. Assisting agents are prone to develop a bit of resentment over time toward their lead agent. The value of the team leader begins to decline as you grow in your ability to take care of business on your own. In particular, you may have heart burn over sharing a commission with the lead agent when you are responsible for generating the lead and doing all the work. Listen to Socrates, "Know thyself, " and determine if this is going to irritate you in the long run.
Rent vs. Own: Working as an assistant or buyer agent to a high volume agent is kind of like renting an apartment. When it's time to leave, you have no equity. Your effort is going to the credit of another agent. When you work solo, you're making payments into your very own practice. Yes, you carry more expense and more risk. Yes, you fully reap the rewards of your commissions. At the end of your career you have your book of business to sell or generate referrals. It's a very important component to consider as you make your choice.