Realtor Teams Or Individual Agents
Previously, I explored the nature of Realtor Teams as advocates for real estate consumers, but here and now we take a look at the perennial industry standard; the traditional individual real estate agent as buyer and seller champion. The real estate business has always been a platform for entrepreneurial pursuit, although most “pre-agents” may not realize it as they consider entering the fray. Few other fields offer the achievable business model and financial upside potential that a real estate license and self-motivation can. An individual real estate agent may have a company name on their business card, but success is mostly the result of individual effort.
To research this post, I spoke to individual agents from different companies, and filtered the varied company cultures to try and get a better sense of what individual agenting is all about. I found a unified focus with three main points governing the business model of each agent. One-on-one dynamics, depth of relationships and personal responsibility, are the hallmarks professed as primary drivers for each agent I spoke with.
Individual agents have long been the way real estate business has been done, mining a circle of influence, generating referrals, holding open houses, scheduling showings, negotiating contracts, even “op” time manning the phones for new business, all managed by a single agent, in a sense; a sole proprietor. This is the structure that has stood the tests of time, competition and innovation, it is the one man (one woman!) band playing all the instruments and booking all the shows.
The secret formula is all about focusing individual attention and developing relationships to create strong bonds between agents and real estate consumers. Suzanne Walker from Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Oradell, NJ says;“one agent gives the buyer or seller their undivided attention, they never feel like they’re getting pushed to someone else, they develop a relationship with one agent not a whole team.”
Buying or selling a home in its purest form may be a business or financial transaction, with buyers and sellers each negotiating to lock down the best price. But it is often a very emotional experience as sellers’ part with a home full of memories and buyers embark on the journey of homeownership. Trusted relationships can help successfully navigate the emotional highs and lows that can arise, as Agent Walker posits; “speaking to one agent to express your needs and concerns can be easier and more intimate than dealing with a team.”
The business of real estate has been known to keep sometimes long, often erratic and ever inconsistent office hours. Jane Wallace with Sotheby’s International Realty in Montclair, NJ told me that “clients have been known to call at all hours of the day and night, often times wanting to see a property within minutes of their call, being able to make appointments without having to coordinate with other people allows me to be more accessible.”
From the consumer’s perspective, the advantages of working with an individual agent are the single point of contact, the trust developed from a one-on-one relationship and the direct accountability that motivates the agent. Credit for the good and responsibility for the bad go in the same bucket; individual agents craft their own destiny and govern the quality of their own business practice.
According to Kathy Lops of Keller Williams Village Square Realty in Ridgewood, NJ; “I know my clients are taken care of exactly the way I want them to be taken care of because I’m the only one taking care of them! You know what they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself!”
Advocating the individual agent model means that scrutiny of all of the moving parts of a deal falls to Agent Lops; “I have complete control over the transaction and I know what is happening every step of the way. I don’t need to check in with anyone if a client or another party to the transaction calls me with questions or for a status update.”
Individual agents offer a focused point of contact, potentially more intimate connections with buyers and sellers, and one-stop accountability for the results of a real estate deal. An individual agent can bring a competitive advantage to a buy or sell transaction through established trust that the job will get done as mutually agreed. Real estate consumers often see an individual agent as a close friend, almost family and become comfortable with the rapport that can develop. Of course, every consumer has an individual or personal preference, but if a single point of contact, one-on-one relationship dynamics and direct accountability meet your comfort level requirements, an individual agent may be the right fit for you.
Contributed by Mark Greene