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Pros and Cons of Joining a Real Estate Team | Sierra Interactive

The Rise of Real Estate Teamerages

Pros and Cons of Joining a Real Estate Team

The “teamerage” business model has exploded in the last several years, though the concept isn’t entirely new. Not exactly a real estate team, and not a brokerage, teamerages–as the name suggests–combine the best of both worlds. They often provide shared resources like training, support staff and technology while letting agents operate independently and build their own brand and book of business with less risk and financial burden.

Pros of Joining a Real Estate Team

Ability to build your personal brand

Buddy Blake, a 20-plus-year veteran in the industry, runs his own teamerage, Waypost Realty, out of Wilmington, North Carolina. It’s a brokerage that has all the functions and structures of a team, but as real estate agents grow, it allows them to brand themselves (and even create an individual site with a custom domain if using Sierra Interactive), develop their own success statistics and receive high commision splits on their own personal deals. According to Blake, this enables them to build their own business and eventually their own teams if that’s their goal.

“A teamerage gives you a bigger vision. Our people who work at Waypost can work our leads or work a duty shift, or they can do their own thing. All our agents have their own brand, and they can market themselves. When the sale goes in the MLS system, it goes under them so they start getting metrics attributed under their name,” said Blake.

Effective training for new agents

“For new agents, there’s no better training ground than joining a teamerage,” said Blake. In larger brokerages with hundreds of real estate agents, competition looms large and getting enough at-bats to even get experience can be tough. In a team-based environment with a strong, open culture, new agents benefit from working alongside more experienced agents and get one-to-one training on how to build relationships – and a book of business – quickly.

“Go to a company who will do 1:1 mentoring, who will sit with you through those first awkward phone calls. You’ll learn so much in the first 60 days,” said Blake. “You have to learn how to talk to people. Have conversations and listen to them. Get them to open up about what’s really going on. You have far more opportunities within a teamerage or team because that’s where you will learn the fastest.”

Team-based environments also enable new agents to listen: “In an open culture where people aren’t keeping secrets, you get to hear so many conversations and experience what goes on. Shadowing other agents in a good culture allows you to learn other agents’ customer stories because you won’t have any of your own when you first start. A team is the best place to do that.”

In addition, teamerages can offer training and development through a learning management platform like Sierra Academy which provides on-demand content from industry experts, as well as the ability to create training videos and upload them on a platform embedded within the Sierra’s real estate CRM. With an accessible and customizable learning solution like this, brokers/owners don’t have to pay an additional fee to host training content and Realtors can learn processes, best practices, industry insights and more.

Higher Commission Splits

Blake explained that over the years as brokerages have had to pay top-producing real estate agents and teams more money, they can’t operate profitably without charging ancillary fees to make their margins. They have to hire additional operations staff as they get larger, and if they’re part of a franchise, there are fees associated with that as well. All this limits the splits an agent is able to earn. With a team, however, there’s generally more flexibility and lower overhead and that results in higher splits for team members, particularly for top-producing agents who conduct their own lead generation.

“Do the math. A lot of people are shocked after the first transaction and all the fees come out,” said Blake “50 percent of 95 percent on a team is very different from 50 percent of 64 percent after franchise fees and other costs in a franchised brokerage.”

Broker/owner benefits

On top of being an attractive option for both new real estate agents and experienced top-producers, real estate teamerages are appealing for broker/owners and team leaders as well. By allowing agents to build their own brands and business, through independent lead generation, brokers/owners can see a better return. While a teamerage is not a real estate team, exactly, research has shown that team-based models tend to be more profitable than brokerages, too. In fact, a 2021 Real Trends profitability study comparing teams to brokerages, showed that real estate teams have double the average per-agent sales volume of brokerages and almost 4.5 times the gross margin. 

“As a broker/owner, I make more profit on a deal even with an agent who has a high split because I did not invest in that lead, so I don’t have to factor in that loss,” said Blake. “You have to open the door to allow an agent to build their business in order to see that kind of return.”

Another benefit of the teamerage model is that it typically includes administrative or operations staff that enables team leads and real estate agents alike to do what they do best: build relationships and close deals. With a robust CRM like the Sierra Interactive platform, hiring admin support can increase a team leader’s salary simply by taking on the back office operations and paperwork and giving them back time to focus on building the business.

“That’s the first thing I recommend doing: hire a really good admin to help you handle the non-agent related operations. That’s the first place you can start leveraging yourself,” said Blake, who also noted that admins can also have conversations with leads to add even more value.

Shared Business Expenses

And, of course, a huge benefit you can’t overlook is the ability to share and reduce the various costs of running a business. While it may be true that you have fewer expenses overall as an independent real estate agent, there are still plenty of other unavoidable and necessary expenses that you can share that will make sharing resources well worth it. These can include licensing and brokerage fees, operations costs (such as office supplies), marketing materials, income taxes, MLS fees, and more. 

This can sometimes have surprising additional benefits. For instance, say you’d like to take a continuing education class that would allow you to expand your real estate knowledge and possibly interact with different types of clients. As an independent agent, you may not have the time or money to take this class. But if you are part of a larger team, you can split the cost of this education evenly, allowing you to advance your career in a way that would not otherwise be possible. This can lead to even greater revenue growth in the long-term.

Cons of Joining a Real Estate Team

You Are Not Your Own Boss

For many, one of the main draws of going into real estate is the opportunity to be your own boss and follow your own entrepreneurial instincts. However, when becoming part of a team, you’ll have to give up some of this freedom. That may mean prioritizing different properties or clients than you’d prefer, or working on days when you’d rather be doing something else. 

There may also suddenly be a host of other smaller responsibilities you’ll have to take care of. These may include attending morning meetings, putting together presentations or other internal documents, or covering for team members when they are out sick or on vacation. If these kinds of tasks aren’t what you envisioned for yourself as a real estate agent, then you may want to reconsider joining a team.

Risks of Personality Clash

Working alongside other people inevitably means encountering different types of personalities. If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself inside a team of like-minded individuals who support each other and work well together. Of course, this isn’t always the case. It’s also common to encounter people you just don’t mesh with. 

These may range from people who are simply rude or passive aggressive to those who you may come in direct conflict with. Hopefully, you’ll have a boss or fellow teammates who can support you or otherwise diffuse the situation. However, in rare cases, a bad enough personality clash may require you to find another place to work.

Less Creative Control

If having the ability to determine the direction of your agency or the style of your marketing materials is important to you, then joining a teamerage may be disappointing. As part of a larger team, you’ll have much less creative control. Instead, your priorities will be to build up the brand and vision of someone else – whether the owner or the collective team – rather than your own.

At best, this may mean having to sometimes put aside your own interests or preferences. But it may also mean actively doing things, such as wearing a uniform or making promotional videos that you’d never think about doing on your own, that you disagree with. Whether or not this loss of creative control is worth the added benefits you get as part of a teamerage will have to be up to you.


It’s no surprise that many are opting for the teamerage business model. Teamerages are the optimal environment for new agents who need to learn fast, get access to tech and tools, and be supported by seasoned pros while at the same time being an attractive model for top-producing agents and broker/owners to make the most money. 

Like what you’ve read? We talk about these hot topics and more every Thursday at 2 pm ET in a real estate industry mastermind co-hosted by Buddy Blake and Sierra Product Manager Robert Sagers. Learn more at


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