Dave Panozzo is the co-founding owner of The Panozzo Team-HomeSmart, a real estate team in Phoenix, Arizona.

With the competitive market in real estate and the complexities of coordinating transactions, it’s no wonder that we ponder the question, “Is the solo agent dead?” Believe me, there are many solo agents who are very successful and should be commended for the hell of a job that they do. That being said, the average solo agent may be faced with circumstances in the coming year unless they treat being a real estate agent like a business, instead of like a career. In fact, before I got my real estate license and built my real estate team from scratch, my wife had been a solo agent for 14 years. Here are some of the things we have learned along the way. 

Looking back, I remember seeing what my wife went through as a stressed solo agent. Fast forward to today, when we have a team, systems, processes and daily routines that allow us to split up deliverables to achieve a lot more with less headache. As the saying goes, you can go fast alone or far with a team, which I would have to agree with, especially after reflecting on the most powerful mega real estate teams out there with 300 to 500 people! One of the struggles of working solo is that with your limited bandwidth, you can only work with one buyer at a time. On a team, you can have multiple buyers who work with multiple agents. By having several people on a team, you are able to handle a larger flow of customers. 

Something particular I’ve noticed about real estate is that when a consumer sees a shiny object they like to change directions or get misled. In today’s world with internet marketing and countless lead services like Zillow, Realtor.com, etc., it is imperative that you can be quick. Recently, my wife and I were analyzing how many different streams of referrals and leads we receive from different resources.

What we found is that we have almost 32 now: everything from relocation companies, lead services, word of mouth and lots more with the average return at about two to three deals a year with some others ranging from 15 to 20 deals per year. You know, the average solo agent may only have two, three or maybe five different pillars of business from which they get their leads: their referral network, lender partner, friends and even family. With a team like mine, we may not be getting something every single day through every one of those lead sources, but having so many different resources then provides a consistent flow into our team. After all, the level of service required in today’s real estate world is fast-paced because the consumer is marketed to everywhere they look. Having a team allows you to divide and conquer. 

Overall, the benefits to having a team or joining a team by far outweigh the cons for the solo agent. Although you may take a little less commission due to the splits on the team, the fact is that you will be provided with a lot more leads to make up for that difference. And on the bright side for a solo agent, you don’t have to pay for a transaction coordinator or a listing coordinator because those are provided for you. Not only that, but when joining an existing team, the marketing, websites, social media, etc. are typically taken care of! Usually, it is already an integrated part of the team structure, which relieves those responsibilities for you, making it as easy as just plugging and playing. 

Whether you are a two-person team, a husband and wife team or a smaller team with around two to five people total, the most important aspect of the most successful real estate teams are the systems, processes and organizational structure they possess.

It is so important that everyone knows their roles, from “How are the leads?” to “How did the leads come in?” to “Who is handling the listing?” and “How soon can our transaction coordinator take care of all our paperwork and behind-the-scenes projects?” As the team lead, it is your job to make sure everyone knows what they need to do on a regular basis. And for those of you solo agents looking to join a team, when shopping around for the right fit, it’s important to look at things like location and company culture because, ultimately, you want to be a part of a team that is local to you while always supporting your goals and aspirations. 

And for all of you solo agents out there, you really have to look at your business and look into your future. Once again, the industry and market are changing, so you may want someone who can be in charge of handling those changes, as it will be tough handling it as a one-man band. If starting a team or joining an existing team isn’t for you, consider investing in hiring a transaction coordinator or even an assistant that can put on many hats in your business. In the end, from one real estate professional to another, I wish you the best of luck in building the journey that works for you.

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