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Team Effort: Banding Together Can be a Boon for Your Business

by Jason Porterfield

Organizing a Team

The concept of a real estate team is not a new one, but the shape of teams has evolved over the years. In the past, a team might consist of one super- broker directing the team and delegating tasks such as handling showings to a support staff. Now, a greater level of parity between team members is more common, though many offices still have a support staff structure to handle some of the daily tasks that might bog an agent down in the office.

No matter the size or structure of the team – whether it’s just a partnership of two agents and a small support staff or a dozen part-time and full- time Realtors, each with their own office personnel – working with other agents tends to bring in more clients while easing the workload for everyone involved.

Lieu and Hulett formed their current partnership in 2004 so that they could focus on residential sales after previously working together as partners and co- owners at the boutique River North firm Atland. They added a third agent to help out, as well as a small support staff in the office.
“Every team is a little different, and what Mike and I have might be unique because we share a lot of clients,” Lieu said. “We grew the business together, and it becomes hard to say who brought in which client. If one person brings in more business, it doesn’t mean that the other person can’t contribute. There are so many other ways that the other person can pitch in.”

Rubenstein and Fox run their business as a full partnership, but each takes the lead in a separate market. Dena handles clients in the city, while Marlene handles the suburbs.

“When we joined our partnership, our business in the city wasn’t the best for me because I’m based in the suburbs,” Rubenstein said. “We’ve had exponential growth since we’ve been together. It’s not just me. She has built our business in the city to new heights. She runs our city business and makes decisions in the city, and I run our suburban business. We balance and run the businesses together, but she absolutely takes the lead in the city from the Lincoln Park office, and I run the business in the suburbs and work out of the Highland Park office.”

They make it a point for each client to meet both of them during the process, and maintain relationships with clients across both offices.

“A lot of my peers are either buying their first homes or upgrading to another home in the city, or they’re starting to have kids and move to the suburbs,” Fox said. “My mom’s peers are downsizing and starting to move into the city. They constantly go back and forth. Because we have a team that covers both areas, we’re able to build upon the relationships we have.”

A team doesn’t just have to consist of the Realtors themselves. Many agent teams hire marketing professionals to take care of their social media presence as well as their traditional advertising. Some teams have staff members who are dedicated to overseeing the details of a closing and orchestrating the many moving parts that go into finalizing a sale. An office manager typically helps with scheduling, maintaining contacts and overseeing the nuts and bolts of the business. It’s not unusual to bring in part-time help to assist with staging open houses or even to pick up some of the load during particularly busy times.

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