Esther Preston (Heartland Realty)

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Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

I had the unfortunate disadvantage of being involved with three 'teams' over the past few decades. Someone (me) is always carrying most of the load and split commissions whether I generated the lead or not, whether it was my long-standing client or not. (Do I sound bitter?  )

They obviously work, but I would never have anything to do with them again. The more self-motivated you are, the less you should consider it. 

My new favorite expression - run, Forrest, run 


Apr 30, 2016 01:07 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Read the "Millionaire Real Estate Agent" to see the MODEL and explanation of the 7 levels of a Team .

Apr 30, 2016 10:56 PM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

My wife and I are a team and we share duties equally.  We go to listing appointments together and then she is the main contact moving forward.  I work a lot with buyers and I do our marketing and lead generation for the mostpart.  

We also have an assistant and closing coordinator that handles a lot of the day to day scheduling, contact with lender and title company, etc.  

A lot of agents say they don't like teams, but it's because of the other people on their team that aren't pulling their weight.  

I think consumers are at an advantage using a team like ours that have absolute professionals that understand our roles.  I've never had a complaint about it.

May 01, 2016 01:26 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

My husband and I are a Team ... and in 1995 we decided to change the way out company was run and we became a "non-traditional" real estate company.  We chose to run our real estate agency like a "company" -- with salaried employees, also known as "administrative support staff" and that worked wonderful from 1995 until 2009 when the market tipped upside down.  I had 14 full time assistants and "I" was the producer.  Well unfortunately, for me, I could not generate the income into the company that was needed to pay all their salaries and so we ended up having to let everyone go ... one by one.  Since then we are a Solo Team.  I don't think I would ever be part of a Team Concept (as many do today) -- as I can agree with Mimi Foster -- that if you are a strong and self-motivated agent -- you don't need a Team -- just a good Virtual Assistant or in-office Assistant to take the Brunt of the Repetitive Tasks.

Apr 30, 2016 02:04 PM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Esther, I have a team and would be happy to speak with you if you ever want to discuss - 919-602-8489. Teaming with someone, being on a team, and having a team are all different things. I had to learn the hard way. I will say the MREA (Millionaire Real Estate Agent) is the best book out there to help understand how a successful team works.

It is about learning how to leverage your business and design a lifestyle. I started a team because I was tired of working 24/7. Yes, I know some will say and have said, that's what you signed up for. I disagree. Coming from the corporate world, that isn't normal and to me is not a way to have a life. It leads to burnout which I came close to before having a team. Plus, there is a glass ceiling because you can only do so much (my opinion).

As the owner of a team, I'm the rainmaker. I'm responsible for almost all expenses and I obtain leads for my team. The others also bring business to the table. You'll find when you have a team, responsibilities shift as it changes or grows. I have two assistants, one person who just started coming in on Fridays to do my local RE stats, and one buyer's agent. I take the listings myself. I'm hiring more buyer's agents soon. I will also be adding more staff members to my team. My buyer's agents are responsible for their license, classes, and MLS fees. They have very little expenses. They also have support from staff which frees them up to sell more homes. Not everyone is cut out to have a team or be on a team. Agents need to figure out which role is best for them. As a buyer's agent you have a lot of support in many aspects, have a little more freedom, less expenses and ability to generate more income. As the owner/rainmaker you have the same. A team should be a win-win! Hope that helps!

Oh, and can a single agent be successful? Sure. Everyone has to figure out what works for them and what their personal goals are.

May 01, 2016 12:45 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

a team is as good as the team leader's ability to design the team structure properly....and leave greed outside of that system...

May 01, 2016 02:19 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Good question Esther. But this is a 'huge' subject matter that cannot be commented here explicitly on a post. I own and manage a very successful team of very experienced agents. And I'm adding more members this year.

For the ones that have commented that there is no "I" in a team are not necessarily updated to the latest team concepts and perhaps completely missing the boat with old school ideas or pre-conceived ideas. All my team members are individual "I-s" - with their individual businesses and yet we operate as a team.

One has to research and read what is going on with successful teams, new trends and new thinking, and the latest team configurations and inner business workings.

May 01, 2016 01:09 AM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I've had a team for 10 years (I've cut down from 10 to 2 now) - it depends how it works based on what your role is.

My advice, if you decide to join - get EVERYTHING in writng!


Apr 30, 2016 10:05 PM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

We do not believe in 'teams'. The real estate business is not a sport. I have associates, and each is cooperative with the others for filling in to show homes, etc. The rules for any cooperative agreement are completely flexible and up to the associates to agree and modify.

May 01, 2016 12:57 AM
Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC
Everything Pines Partners, LLC. - Whispering Pines, NC

In my view a Team relationship is like a marriage.  You must know the person(s) well and how you are going to live together and split the responsibilities of daily life and work before you say "I DO" or be prepared to eventually land up in divorce court.

Apr 30, 2016 11:13 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Esther, in concept their are three team models.

Model 1. The collaborative team. This team covers the other when necessary. They are operating their own businesses but when needed (vacation) will fill in

Model 2. Workforce multiplier. This team delegates work disciplines for the purpose of a better quality of life. 

Model 3. Income multiplier. This team operates under the identify of one agent. This market share dominance strategy makes all members invisible except the branded agent. The goal is gross income will be a 2.5 multiplier of what any agent can earn independently.

What you would need to understand is the mutually aligned interests you share with the team. You must know YOUR interests, vision, goal, and ask the intelligent probing questions to reveal what is behind the curtain of the team recruiter. 

The end result of most teams and a cluster of inefficiencies and skilled finger pointing that creates frustration for the client and all those others with whom they must work. 

I see teams as the entry for newbies into the business. Those who have embraced and see the horizons of real estate would only consider a team if they were the brand.

Apr 30, 2016 10:50 PM
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

The problem with teams larger than two members is the fact that a "pecking order" develops over time. Every "team" has a superstar and a bunch of bench warmers or waterboys supporting that one superstar. Unless you have some control over where you fit in, don't expect to get rich and famous on a real estate team.

Apr 30, 2016 10:33 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I like being a part of the team, since it is a great way to jump start your business.  Some advantages being a member of efficient and well organized team: accountability, leverage, collaborative approach, more resources, combined experience. 



Apr 30, 2016 04:42 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Esther, great question. I have never been on a team and wonder how it works. may be different in each office.

May 02, 2016 04:18 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I thought I would NEVER ever be involved with a team and yet here I am, 1/2 of a team or two.  For me, it has worked out to be the best solution ever. We both like to travel and have a flexible schedule, we are at a similar place in our lives, have the same work ethic, experience, philosophy, etc.  The only thing we don't have in common?  Our skill sets. We are polar opposites in what we like to do - and what we don't.  Consequently, we both think we got the better end of the bargain and are happy to do our "own thing."  She's the early bird, I'm the night owl.  She flies by the seat of her pants and is flexible, I'm organized and scheduled.  It has proven to be a match made in heaven. I think it CAN work, but it has to be set up right. 

May 02, 2016 03:27 AM
Althea Kippes, Esq.
A.T. Kippes, Real Estate Broker - San Francisco, CA
Serving San Francisco to Silicon Valley!

 As mentioned above, the "team" is different and how it works depends on how it was set up.  In law we call these partnerships.  

An aside:  I taught a class on starting a business and selecting the correct entity.  When we talked about the partnership entity, after the lecture, one of my students told me a partnership sounded like marriage without the benefits.  This is what a team is like.

As a lawyer, I was on a "team" (in a partnership with another lawyer.)  That did not last long because of the other attorney became greedy and thought she should get all the money because she was doing everything, which was completely false.  That "team" didn't last a year.

In looking at other teams in the real estate industry, here is what I have observed:

If you have a client, suddenly your client is a "team" client and the others who were supposed to do work, don't do it or do it incompetently, but still get part of your commission.

If they have a client, suddenly that client is not part of the "team" and you don't get any of their commission.

If you do get commission from their clients, be prepared to for them to feel like they are giving you money for doing nothing, and they will expect you to do a lot of extra work, because they "gave" you some of their commission.

Your clients, even though your clients are "team" clients by the new team rules, will not be taken care of as well by the other team members because they don't care about your or your clients, or your success.

In fact, your "team" will not support you in doing things that will make you successful because if you are successful, you will leave the "team" and they need you around to do the things they don't want to do.

Eventually, someone on the team gets too greedy, and the team will implode.

What is better is to form alliances with other competent agents on a listing or project basis.  That way, if things work, you can split the fee, if they don't work, you have not invested a lot of time and money into the "team"

May 01, 2016 07:01 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Esther Preston - there is a lot written about Real Estate teams - and many great posts from Grant Schneider . Please read them to begin with.

This is something that needs many blogs to answer....

May 01, 2016 02:36 PM
Martin Kalisker
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS - Boston, MA
Professional Standards & Legal Assistant

As a broker owner, I can tell you what teams mean to me... They use my reputation, brand and resources until they grow big and no longer need me, start to compete with me internally for agents and become disruptive within the office by non-participation and then ultimately leave, trying to take clients, files and staff with them.  Doesn't work, lawsuits follow, tears, appologies, misunderstandings and for many, their "business" tanks and they try to come back with heads down.  No way.

That was until two years ago, until one team took my business down with them.  I  am now an independent and very happy to be back on my own with my own small "team" that has no illusions of taking over the Real Estate world.

May 01, 2016 06:07 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

I echo what Mimi Foster said.  Been there ... done it.  Got the T-shirt minus my earned share of commission.  Be careful. Know what you are getting into. Look for alternatives. Understand your options. Do your homework on the team members ... the list goes on and on.

May 01, 2016 06:02 AM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Parked and reading.

May 01, 2016 02:05 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

There are many different ways to structure teams. Study some of the successful teams in your office.

Apr 30, 2016 10:08 PM
Peter Mohylsky. Broker -BRIX REALTY
Miramar Beach, Florida - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

There are numerous articles and even a book written on the subject of real estate teams.  I am a team leader, started the team in January.  It seems to be working OK, I need to tweak the split here shortly.  I was too generous initially.   I am going to hire another buyers agent here shortly.  Call me anytime and we can chat.  Teams are not for everyone but it seems to be working well for me so far. 

Apr 30, 2016 06:10 PM
Toronto, ON

Each team has their own working parameters.

Apr 30, 2016 05:14 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

There are all sorts of business models, and not being part of a team it's hard to say, but it depends on the specific structure. There could be a lead listing agent (the team leader), one of more buyer agents, a transaction coordinator, a customer service person, and so on. Commissions can be handled a number of different ways, as well as some staff being paid a salary.

If you are thinking about being part of a team I would spend time thinking about what you want, but then talking with the person who is offering so you truly understand the particulars about how you get paid, if you care able to bring in your own leads, etc. Due diligence is key!

Apr 30, 2016 02:14 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Mimi gave you a great answer!!

May 21, 2017 09:39 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Teams work in so many different ways. Talk to them and come back with your questions.

Mar 05, 2017 04:42 PM
John Mosier
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ
Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142

I think there are MANY answers to this question. The term "Team" has many definitions and interpretations.

Any team that I form would be quite informal and would involve paying assistants and paying referrals.

May 02, 2016 08:45 AM
Sandy Williams
eXp Realty, - Sarasota, FL

Being on a team can be a good thing for an agent that does not want to be the lead generator, the accountant, the human resource manager and office support.  When a team is well designed, everyone has a job to do and it can function wonderfully.  I have had a team for over 12 years and we would not have sold 118 homes last year if we did not have a well oiled machine.  Esther, you have to ask yourself if you would rather pay someone else to do the work and provide you with leads.  

May 02, 2016 07:34 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

It really depends on how the team is structured, it works well for some, not so much for others. Before you agree to anything, be sure to have specific goals for yourself and see if the team concept fits into your business model.

May 01, 2016 11:18 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

It really is negotiable - In my situation my buyer agent works for me - I am responsible for team expenses and we share commissions based on an agreed relationship.  There are teams and there are partnerships - the two are differentand the sharing of commissions are different

May 01, 2016 09:22 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

There are many different sets and structures.  Read carefully before you sign.

May 01, 2016 02:58 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

    You need a lawyer to draft and/or review whatever agreements you make. 

   One observation about teams - they will usually make one of the Team members "the face" for Zillow, Trulia, etc.   By doing that, they can get a much higher number of "recent sales" posted on Zillow.   That person will look like the expert for that area or town.

May 01, 2016 10:01 AM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

I prefer working on a team, rightfully managed with strategic delegation makes all the difference.

May 01, 2016 06:24 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

There are many different types of "teams".  They can be a great way to do business if everyone is on the same page.  Though, I strongly suggest that you get everything in writing to the point that all parties are held accountable and that there is a clearly defined exit strategy if the team doesn't work out.

May 01, 2016 03:50 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

I think it can be set up a number of different ways, depending on the individuals involved, their various strengths, availability and so on.

May 01, 2016 03:42 AM
Ritu Desai 703-625-4949
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Northern Virginia,Washington DC & Maryland Realtor

If you can generate and convert lead (essentially if you are self driven ) you don't want to part of a team .
New agents or agents who want to survive, need leads and want to learn it's a great opportunity to be part of team remember you are growing some else business and identity when you work for a team. Good luck.

May 01, 2016 03:39 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Ask them.  

The person who asked you to join as a team must have some idea of why they approached you, no?!?  What are they thinking.  

The first rule of a team is to be on the same page.  Don't you think you'd be better off talking to them about what they have in mind? 

May 01, 2016 03:20 AM
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

I have interviewed for an office with teams, and I could not understand or justify the system. In this business with so much relying on your reputation, I had trust issues putting my rep in the hands of a team leader. I can't say they don't work, but I just see the top outpacing the subordinates.

May 01, 2016 03:01 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

The main reason teams are trendy now is because so many dissolutioned agents are buying leads and they can't handle the volume. Unfortunately since only .3% of all leads convert, given they're more stepped on than the front porch of an open house, the leads are crap.

May 01, 2016 02:41 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Make sure every one is on the same page and know what the expectations are.  I would even draw up a contract.

Apr 30, 2016 11:55 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Esther Preston If you do decide to join a team, make sure you have an agreement in writing so there won't be any hard feeling along the way.

Apr 30, 2016 11:43 PM
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

There's no "I" in team!

Apr 30, 2016 11:35 PM
Erica Love
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek - Colorado Springs, CO

I recently had a transaction with someone who was part of a team. At closing she informed me what her split was. I think my jaw hit the table. When I see that name on stuff now, I have mixed feelings. She did all the work. She gets no credit, their name goes on it and she makes NO money. I would put it under Annette Lawrence's #3. :) I was asked to join one and I now know they were very fair. I didn't have to pay on my own leads. I don't work with them though. With little kids and no family near by I can only do so much.

Apr 30, 2016 11:35 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Think extra eyes and ears and then a  huge pie split into so many ways

Apr 30, 2016 11:26 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

This is a blog post in and of itself.  The key is to document in writing whatever you and the team agree to do, and have the broker review and sign off on it as well as you and the team leader...

Apr 30, 2016 11:23 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

I don't believe there is a formal definition and it can vary based on the leadership, composition and mission of the team.    It is definitely an issue that should be established before deciding if it is right for you and the team.

Apr 30, 2016 10:48 PM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

What will joining do for you? Since you won't be the leader why bother?

Others have given great advice.

Apr 30, 2016 10:34 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I would not rush to be a member of a team. There are many ways to structure and operate it, and many teams don't last very long based on my observations.

Apr 30, 2016 09:39 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

You should discuss it with the person with who you want to team up.

Apr 30, 2016 09:27 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Generally a group joining together under a leader, with each member having unique skills to add to the partership.

Apr 30, 2016 06:27 PM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

A Team can vary greatly in regards to splits, duties, etc... there is no one set formula.

Apr 30, 2016 04:40 PM