The TRUTH About Building Your Own Real Estate Team

by | Aug 14, 2023

Are you a super busy and successful real estate agent?  Have you found that doing it all yourself has gotten stressful and has got your life out of balance? Do you need to build a team to help, or are there alternatives that might actually work better for you? That is what we are going to talk about today!

Since you are reading this, you are probably a very busy real estate agent, because you are great at what you do. However, being SO busy might be stressing you out and causing your life to be out of balance. That is not great for your family or your health.

So what’s next? You may have been told that building a team is the next step. Maybe you have even taken that next step and actually hired a few people. But is hiring, training, and managing other people really what you want to do? Are there alternative ways to get the support you need? Yes, but each alternative has advantages and disadvantages.

Talking about the hard stuff is never easy, and that is why most brokerages shy away from this type of content.

As the CEO of Relevate Real Estate, I have been where you are. At the beginning of my career as a real estate agent, I grew my own business quickly from zero to eighty-eight transactions per year. I cannot give myself all the credit though. I started with a part-time team and then I built an industry-standard MREA team (as described in Gary Keller’s The Millionaire Real Estate Agent book). Finally, I connected to the already-built and fully-trained Relevate support team.

In this blog, we will walk through these THREE alternative ways of getting the support team you need to continue growing at the rate your talent deserves. We will break down the “pros” and “cons” of each type of team and suggest what type of agent-team duo will work best. You will be one step closer to having the right support team for YOU.

Rather watch a video? Check it out below!                                                                                                                                                                             

What are the Different Types of Real Estate Teams?

The Part-Time Team

This first alternative is a low-risk, “toe in the water” approach consisting of using part-time help such as

    • An unlicensed assistant (often a family member) to stuff and stamp envelopes for marketing.
    • Using apps such as Showami or “partnership deals” with other agents in your brokerage to get help showing homes or attending inspections when you are busy.
    • A part-time transaction coordinator (usually unlicensed), either hired by you or offered by your brokerage.

Normally, to save money and maintain control, an agent with a part-time team does all they can themselves and only delegates the overflow to others.

The pros include:
    • Low risk with low and instantly controllable expenses.
    • Enables an agent to increase transaction volume by about 20% and take some limited time off.
    • The agent keeps a high percentage of the gross commission income.
The cons include:
    • Customer service handled by team members is not at the highest level due to a lack of processes and thorough training.
    • Potential income level is limited by the capacity of this type of team to handle much growth.
    • Most agents will feel that the management responsibility necessary even for a small, part-time team is distracting and not enjoyable.

The part-time team is best for agents who want to do things their way and also want to avoid the risk and responsibility of hiring full-time people.

The truth about building your own real estate team

The Industry Standard “Millionaire Real Estate Agent” (MREA) Team

The second alternative to get the support you need is to build an MREA team. This model became the “industry standard” when Gary Keller interviewed hundreds of high-volume agents in many brokerages across the US. He documented, in The Millionaire Real Estate Agent book, how they had structured their teams and the standard process they used to build those teams from scratch. As a result of this book, Keller Williams became “the place to build a team” and that was a big part of how Keller Williams Realty grew so fast.

Here is the implementation process for this type of team:

    • Hire an assistant to do administrative tasks.
    • Hire your first buyers’ agent to take care of your buyer clients since buyers normally take much more time than sellers. 
    • Invest in more lead sources, like advertising and purchased leads (Zillow,, Homelight, etc.) and hire more buyers agents to convert the buyer leads from those sources and work them (you keep the seller leads).
    • Hire a “listing coordinator” who is like a buyers agent for sellers, converting and serving seller leads.
    • Leave the team to do everything without you. The leads keep coming in and they keep converting them while you get the profits.
The pros include:
    • Truly unlimited transaction and volume growth potential.
    • The best choice for having a big team and a well-known personal brand.
    • Great opportunity to lead and grow other people.
    • The team leader has complete control over all marketing, processes, and systems.
    • Leaders of these types of teams often leave their current firm to establish themselves as independent brokerages.
The cons include:
    • By far the most costly type of team, due to the need to pay 50%+ of the commission to buyers’ agents (mostly to compensate for their effort to convert lower-quality leads) and the high cost of purchasing and/or advertising to get those leads. As a result, team leaders rarely keep more than 35% of the total team gross commission.
    • Not all agents enjoy the demanding and constant management responsibility required to lead this type of team.
    • High turnover of buyers’ agents (whom the team leader trained and mentored, and who are now leaving to compete against them) can be frustrating.

The MREA team is best for agents who want to start and run their own business from scratch, including managing and motivating other people. Being seen as very successful by other agents is also a motivating factor for some team leaders.

The truth about building your own real estate team

The Relevate Team

The third way to have a support team is a “Relevate Team”. In this support team model, the brokerage has already hired and fully trained licensed professionals who immediately become your full-service team when you join the brokerage. These team members include:

    • Marketing professionals: Plan your marketing in advance for the entire year; design, write, produce, address, stuff, stamp, and deliver all marketing materials.
    • Licensed agents: These “Client Service Managers” partner with you to do all client service work on your behalf such as searching for homes, researching client questions, showing homes, writing contracts (directed by you), arranging and attending inspections, negotiating due diligence agreements, arranging repairs, scheduling and attending closings, and more!
    • The Listing Success Team: Analyze sellers’ homes to identify improvements that will increase their sales price and reduce their “days on market.” Consult with sellers and teach them how to prepare their homes for sale, and give them the specifics of colors, styles, and vendors for any improvements. They also manage the improvement project as needed, stage the home, and arrange for professional photography.

The idea of this model is to free up the agent (referred to as the “Sales Agent” at Relevate) to do what only they can and WANT TO do: build relationships with their sphere of influence and past clients to bring in growing numbers of referred and repeat clients. 

The pros include:
    • Unlimited transaction and volume growth potential
    • Because of the economies of scale Relevate realizes by providing standardized marketing and client service support to a large number of agents, the cost of the support is reasonable. As a result, Relevate leadership guarantees agents who follow the process correctly will take home at least 65% of gross commission.
    • Excellent life balance, ability to spend plenty of time with family and take “real vacations” (not tied to phone or computer)
    • Collaborative, non-competitive environment among agents
The cons include:
    • The Relevate system is standardized and must be followed closely to ensure the high take-home income and life balance results. As a result, the Relevate experience can feel less “entrepreneurial.” Consistent with this, Relevate does not support personal branding (other than your name and photo) in your marketing.
    • Agents have to get comfortable with the idea of delegating so much of the marketing and client service and trusting everything will be done right.
    • This structure can seem “expensive” to individual agents who have never had a support team and are accustomed to keeping 85%+ of their gross commission income (although at a significantly lower amount of total commission).
    • Less opportunity for “creative expression” since the firm plans and executes almost all marketing campaigns.

The Relevate Team is best for agents who want to keep things simple and focus primarily on selling, delivering great client service, and still making very good money. This team model is perfect for agents who do not want to have to worry about anything else. We feel this is the best choice for agents who need a better life balance, especially for moms with younger children.

The truth about building your own real estate team

Which Type of Team is Right for Me? 

Successful real estate agents often have more clients than they can handle on their own, and start to experience high levels of stress and out-of-balance lives. They know they need a support team but may not know what kinds of support teams are possible and how they work.

Now that we’ve walked through the basics for all three types of support teams for real estate agents like you, you may have a lot of questions. Covering the pros and cons of each is really just the beginning. You have a big decision to make, and you might be asking yourself, for example, how does each type of team:

    • Ensure my clients will get great quality service?
    • Help me build my personal real estate brand?
    • Maximize my take-home income?
    • Give me more life balance and real vacations?

Great questions. Check out this video for a point-by-point comparison of all three teams for branding marketing & life balance. Or watch this video about the best team for quality service, volume, cost, and take-home income. These comparisons are critical because depending on what is most important for you and your business, one type of team might be perfect for you while another might be completely wrong.

Be sure to check out our Growth Learning Center and Real Estate Elevated YouTube Channel as you continue growing your real estate career.

If you are an agent in the Triangle Area of North Carolina area and you’d like to visit with us to learn more about Relevate Real Estate, click HERE to set up a time to talk with us.