One of the best things new agents can do when they first get licensed is begin their journey on a real estate team. It’s a perfect introduction to the business because new agents get the mentorship, leads and support system they need initially. 

In most cases, teams are leaner, offer more support and have a mentorship program with the team leader, which is why I always recommend that a new agent starts with a team. 

The problem with working on most teams is that there isn’t a place to “graduate.” In most cases, the split when working on your own leads isn’t ideal, and you already have to follow the branding rules that the team has set up, which can also be regulated by the team’s brokerage. 

This isn’t universally true. Some teams offer competitive splits on agent-generated leads. 

How do you determine if it’s right to move from your team to a brokerage, a different team or a hybrid brokerage-team? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider your options. 

Leads

How much of your business is agent-generated? It’s a simple equation. The typical split for a company-generated lead is around 50 percent (sometimes lower, sometimes higher).

The usual split for agent-generated leads is around 70 percent; most brokerages offer a split between 75-90 percent, and some have caps associated with them. Look at how much agent-generated business you are doing, and calculate the take-home. 

Splits

If a portion of your business is company-generated and the math above doesn’t make sense, the only way to make that work is to join a brokerage or a team with higher splits for agent-generated leads that will make up the difference. 

I said that most teams don’t offer splits on agent-generated leads that are competitive with brokerages, but that is not universally true. Most brokerage firms don’t provide leads, but that is not universally true either. The ones that do are called hybrid brokerages. I own one, and they’re becoming more and more common.  

Technology and support

If you left your team, could you replace the technology and support you’re getting from your current team with that of a brokerage or team you move to? Most good teams offer technology systems that are better than what a big-box brokerage provides, in my opinion. 

You can buy similar technology in many cases, but as a single agent, you’re not going to get it for the same price. It just makes more sense for a team to spend more money on software than a brokerage does because the margins are much thinner for a brokerage than a team. 

Branding

Do you have the opportunity to brand yourself at the brokerage that you would be moving to? And if you do, is it even beneficial? I’m a big believer in agents starting to promote themselves and their personal brand, but that doesn’t make sense if the brokerage you’re going to has a significant presence in your marketplace. 

That’s why I encourage our agents to brand themselves but also keep the branding of our brokerage. Until the time comes that your personal brand is more well known than the brokerage you’re in, you want to have a mix of the two.  

Culture 

Do you benefit from the company culture of the team that you’re currently with? And if so, does the brokerage you’re thinking about moving to have something similar? If you are a “lone gun” who doesn’t tap into the system or culture your team or brokerage offers, this question is irrelevant.

If you benefit from it, you need to make sure that the brokerage you’re planning to move to offers something similar.

One thing I am positive about after 16 years of practicing real estate is that there are many different models for agents to choose from. It’s not a “one size fits all.” And what worked for you at the beginning of your career might not be what’s best for you as your career evolves. 

Luckily, there are a lot of different choices to choose from. You just need to make sure that you look at every aspect of your business to find the right match. And take your time, ask the right questions

Talk with other agents who are in the firm or team that you’re looking to join. I’ve seen too many instances of agents who picked a spot after one interview because they had a good feeling at the interview. Go deeper than your feelings.

Ryan Rodenbeck is the broker-owner of Spyglass Realty and Investments in Austin. Connect with him on Instagram. 

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