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Top New Agent Choices: Assistant vs Team vs Solo

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

There are many paths for a new Real Estate Agent, and each has the potential for long term success. It depends on what’s most important to you.


If you are interested in immediate income while you learn the ropes, then being an assistant either live or virtual, might be a good start. If you would enjoy a strong support system to help you get up and running, you probably want to join a team. If independence is your thing, and you want to keep as much of your commission as possible, you may want to consider a solo path. You might enjoy: Can I Start Real Estate for Just “Extra” Income?



Assistant (Live or Virtual)

Being an assistant can take on many structures; it is based on the needs of the Agent or Broker you are working for. But let’s go over the basics.


License Requirements. The first thing to note, is that an assistant DOES NOT have to have a real estate license. This can be important, because a student could even be an assistant WHILE in the process of getting a license. However, the duties of an agent is limited without a license. They are allowed to give basic information about a property, such as asking price, number of bedrooms, etc. They cannot do any price negotiations, conduct open houses by themselves and many other tasks that an employing agent may find very useful.


A licensed agent can conduct the open houses, discuss pricing and terms, and basically conduct normal real estate activities under the direction of their employer. This makes a LICENSED ASSISTANT a very coveted position among employers; there might not be many to go around (a good position to be in as a prospective employee 😊) Be sure to check out Ways to Make Money with a Real Estate License (Without Selling a Home)


Live or Virtual. An assistant also might have an ability to be live (where they go into an office each day) or virtual (they work remotely from home), or a combination. Often, a virtual assistant is paid less than one that comes in; however, each position is different.


  • Pay Structure. An Assistant is normally a salaried position but can vary by employer.

  • Fees: There are often no fees involved.


Typical Job Responsibilities of a Real Estate Assistant. These, of course, can vary based on the employer and even state laws regarding license or no license.


  • Running front desk

  • Answering the telephone and making follow-up calls

  • Managing the client database

  • Posting property listings in MLS

  • Scheduling meetings, inspections, showings etc.

  • Preparing and distributing marketing materials.

  • Updating social media

  • Run errands

  • Preparing reports

  • Assisting at open houses and obtaining feedback.

  • Assisting with closing processes.

  • Ordering supplies.

  • Performing other duties as assigned.




Working on a Team


Working on a team promotes comradery, and is working as an agent, with the help of others. With a team, you have a variety of people working with you, and because of their different backgrounds and experiences, they can help you approach challenges during a transaction in multiple ways.


Pay Structure.

You are typically paid in a commission per transaction. However, the commission is normally less that a solo agent, because a portion of the earnings go to other team members and support staff.


Expenses.

Some expenses might be paid for you. This can include association dues, license, MLS fees, marketing expenses, and educational courses. These costs can add up quickly for a new agent and having a team to help offset some of the expenses is helpful.


Lead Generation.

Teams usually have a lead generation system already in place, and the leads are simply assigned to you. This saves you time and money digging up more business.


Marketing.

You don’t have to focus your time on becoming a professional-grade listing photographer or designing the best brochures. Teams usually have support staff to do these tasks for you. However, you will not have say over branding; the marketing will be under the team name. And, if you have an idea for a new way to sell or a new system to use, it must fit the team’s business model or it won’t work.


Specialization.

What if you only want to work with sellers, or work with New Home Sales, or work as an administrative role? Teams might be able to provide that. Learn more: Do Real Estate Agents have High Job Satisfaction?




A Solo Agent


A Solo Agent is probably the image that comes to mind when thinking of a real estate agent: one who is out there on their own (under a Managing Broker, of course). Be sure to check out: How to Choose the Best Brokerage for You


Pay Structure.

Your pay is based on the commission split of the brokerage, such as 70% to the agent, and 30% to the broker (commission splits vary). You are in charge of the hard work you put in.


Expenses.

As a Solo Agent, you are responsible for covering all of your business expenses, membership dues, and licensing fees.


Education.

You are also responsible for your own education. Teams often have their own training curriculum for new hires. Brokerages do, too, but individual agents often have to fit education into their schedule when they can. Learn about New Agent Training Classes HERE.

Marketing.

You’re in charge of your brand and can craft your messaging exactly the way you want it instead of having to get approval from your team. Check out: Low-cost (and No-cost) Ways to Grow Your Real Estate Business


Service.

You can serve clients the way you want. On a team, you have to accept the way your teammates work, even if you have higher standards. As an individual agent, you can give clients extra-special attention.


Schedule.

You’re not being assigned to certain client meetings or showings at certain times by a team leader. You can decide for yourself when you want to work. On the other hand, there is no one to cover for you. If you want to take a vacation, have an unexpected family emergency, you’ll have to work it out with clients who are expecting you to be on call. you might enjoy What Does a Typical Day Look Like as a Real Estate Agent?


More Career Options.

Because you are not locked into a team, you can decide to start your own team with your rules, become a managing broker, or continue to grow your business as an individual agent.


Start up.

You have to find your own resources, which means it may be a while before your business grows large enough to sustain itself. Joining a team provides a jumpstart you don’t get as an individual agent.


You have to be a self-starter.

As a Solo Agent, self-motivation and a goal-oriented personality is key. Without teammates to push and encourage you, some might find it hard to stay motivated and focused. You might like: How to Get Listings Without Cold Calling


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