Understanding the Individual vs Team Approach to Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Inc. TREC# 595370

When selecting someone to represent you as a Realtor, it is very important to understand how their business operates. Understanding how their business operates is crucial to determining how your experience will be with that company. 

In the world of real estate there are two very distinct models of operations: the individual and the team. The individual model means that there is one person running the operation, who possibly has an assistant. On the other hand, the team model means that there are several people, each with highly specialized roles, which are all contributors to the business’ bottom line. When interviewing an agent, ask them if they are part of a team.

A common dream of many Realtors is to aspire to be a CEO of their own high-performing real estate team as they believe that it is the best option for everyone. The classical MBA model of business operations teaches its students to build a business so successful that it doesn’t need its founder to run properly. However, this model is sometimes not the most effective model in the world of real estate. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each model below:

What are the advantages of working with someone who is an individual?

  • Someone that is an individual is going to be the single point of contact throughout the transaction
    • This person will be the person you meet initially, that shows you homes, writes your offer, handles negotiations, handles contract-to-close, and finally picks up the keys.
    • One person to blame when things go wrong.
  • Easier to relate to
    • Since there is only one person involved, you may have many common interests or personality traits between you and your agent. This can help to establish likeability. There isn’t a need to get to know multiple people involved in your transaction. 
  • Extended working hours
    • Most agents that are one-person businesses will work nights and weekends. Their phones are answered after normal business hours.
  • Personally invested in the outcome of your transaction
  • Reputation of the individual.
    • Many individual agents treat each of their clients like they are there only client and act accordingly.

What are some disadvantages to working with an individual?

  • Burn out and stress
    • Since they are only a one person business, the stress factor can be very high. Stressed Person with a lot of paper work
    • Those agents may not be able to spend a lot of time with their families or take a vacation. This can be particularly true for very successful individual agents.
    • The volume of work can become overwhelming.
  • An individual may not be able to physically handle more business.
  • Lack of specialization.
  • An individual agent is forced to learn something about every aspect of real estate that is a focal point to their business.
  • Potential lack of systems.

What are some advantages of working with a team?

  • A team is almost always able to handle more volume because they have the ability to scale up. They can always hire more people as needed to handle the volume of work. Teamwork Synergy
  • An agent that is part of team tends to have a less stressful live. This is because they are not doing all of the work themselves.
  • Team members are highly specializedWell-performing systems.
    • In a well performing team there will be lead generators, buyer’s specialists, investor specialists, land specialists, and listing specialists. Each one of these people only handles these types of transactions and are well versed on them.

What are some disadvantages of working with a team?

  • Multiple people and each with a different personality.
    • Your transaction will be handed off to different people throughout the transaction. This may be unexpected.
    • Multiple people to blame when things go wrong.
  • Teams usually only work during normal business hours.
    • This can be particularly frustrating when trying to show properties on the weekends and the listing agents aren’t answering their phones.
  • Considerably less personal investment in the outcome of the transaction
    • High-volume teams tend to numerous clients at any given point in time and are less likely to give personalized attention to each one.
  • Reputation of the Team
    • The team leader or the CEO is usually the one that takes all of the credit for the work regardless of whom actually did it.

Thank you for reading my blog comparing the individual vs. team approach to real estate. If you prefer to work with an individual agent in the Austin Metropolitan Area, please contact me. I work primarily as a buyer’s agent and focus on investment properties, first-time home buyers, and relocation buyers. 

Image Credits

- Stressed out Person

Teamwork Clipart


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Bryan Beckstead, KOmKards, Care-Connect-Communicate, on auto pilot, 24/7.
Start MAXIMIZING the Internet.... Kommunicon.com - Priceville, ON
Become a KOmKard owner today,

Great post Jordon, its rare to find such a well written and informative blog post as this one, it deserves to be read by a lot of people here, I have suggested it. 

May 02, 2014 06:24 AM #1
Jordan Gouger
Keller Williams Realty Inc. - Austin, TX
Helping you to achieve your housing goals!

Bryan - Thank you! I think it is something that is very misunderstood in real estate. Many times when a team is recommended the team leader never personally speaks with the client but has their specialists speak with them instead

May 02, 2014 07:09 AM #2
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I hadn't really thought of this before...well explained!  I'm sure this will be very helpful to many sellers.

May 12, 2014 08:48 AM #3
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor


Thanks for defining these two different types of firms you can hire to help meet your real estate goals. Many people just need a Realtor to help find them a home or sell one so they hire a Realtor, not thinking about if they are on a team. It seems to me that all Realtors who have been in the business for a while develope a network they count on who become part of their team and there is no one individual Realtor who can do it all. You really do end up hiring a team in most cases.

Jun 11, 2014 01:55 AM #4
Jordan Gouger
Keller Williams Realty Inc. - Austin, TX
Helping you to achieve your housing goals!

@Sharon, I agree. There are many people that want to work with one person rather than being handed off to multiple people throughout the transaction.

@Sarah & Lester, This is very true. An individual agent has other people in their network that can handle different types of problems. 

Jun 11, 2014 02:18 AM #5
Troy Erickson
Diverse Solutions Realty www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

You did a great job explaining the good and the bad of both an individual real estate agent and a team. Now it's up to the potential buyer or seller to decide which works best for them.

Sep 05, 2014 04:27 PM #6
Stop Foreclosure Program

Thank you so much for sharing this great blog, its been a really very helpful read! I am very thankful to the you for giving this interesting post.

Stop Foreclosure Program Austins

Oct 19, 2014 02:49 PM #7
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles 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 04:52 PM #8
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

When teams are structured correctly everyone comes out a winner; the clients, the team members and the team owner. Win-win-win or no deal.

Jul 20, 2017 12:17 PM #9
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Jordan Gouger

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