Logo of the National Association of Realtors.
The real estate industry is no place for the meek and the timid; it is uber competitive and embodies the natural order of hard work and commitment delivering financial reward. As in any industry, competition leads to innovation and back in the 1990s, realtor teams began to populate the landscape and compete with traditional individual real estate agents. As a result, today’s real estate marketplace offers a choice between working with a traditional individual agent, or with a realtor team, and since consumers would do well to explore these alternatives, let’s take a look at both.
First up, I wanted to look at realtor teams, and to find out more, I first went to Keller Williams Realty, because they seem to have lots of them. While I was there, I discovered that they try to promote a sense of camaraderie rather than competition amongst agents, so this seemed like a good place to find out more about realtor teams. I sat down with Marilyn Nuber, Meg O’Connor and Michael Fidanza of Keller Williams Village Square Realty in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Marilyn has been the “toppest” realtor in Bergen County, New Jersey for a long time (something like 29 years) and she is the rainmaker on the 3 person team that bears her name. Meg O’Connor is the Buyer Specialist and brings some 17 years of real estating to the team, while Michael is the “new kid on the block” with 2 years of real estate and 30 plus years of technology experience, he handles listings and all the “technical stuff.”
A well-defined structure is vital for a successful team, delegating organization and accountability can exploit individual strengths and reinforce the overall team. The goal of a successful realtor team is to do more business; an efficient, well-organized team will generally close more deals than individual agents.
From the consumer’s perspective, the advantages of working with a realtor team besides the obvious seemingly unlimited access to an agent, is the efficiency of the organization of the team moving the transaction to closing and the idea that several real estate brains can be focused on buyer and seller solutions.
Team Nuber advocates the “specialization and interdependency” inherently characteristic of realtor teams, gives them an advantage delivering “access and expertise” to real estate consumers. The “team” can be in “2 or 3 places at one time,” buyers and sellers have ready access to someone on the team at virtually all times, and the team offers 2 or 3 separate “banks” of experience and expertise.
A team can leverage the collective time and experience of its members, to more effectively deliver a full suite of services for buyers and sellers. “When you go to the doctor, someone takes your vital signs, someone else may do the ‘why are you here?’ interview and then the doctor diagnoses and treats you,” Nuber analogizes. With Buyer Specialists, Listing (or seller) Specialists and of course the “Rainmaker,” teams may be able to offer a broader level of service and expertise than an individual agent.
Consumers can benefit from the diversity of individual realtor team members experience in different geographic areas and technical savvy. The meteoric rise of social media has had a significant impact on traditional real estate marketing and some agents are better at it than others, a team can share each other’s strengths and fortify each other’s weaknesses.
Sue Lovit and Dana Farber Schwern, a partner team at Rhodes, Van Note & Company in Upper Montclair, New Jersey echo the team advantages; “If one of us is with a client or on vacation, the other steps in without missing a beat, most buyers looking in New Jersey are interested in many towns, and often times, one of us is more familiar with a town than the other. For a seller it can never hurt to have another person on the case with all the marketing and all the social media campaigns that sellers these days want to be part of. It is great also to have more opinions as far as pricing goes.”
Realtor teams offer access and a collaborative approach to the evaluation process for buyers and sellers, as well as the ability to leverage the experience and expertise of more than one real estate brain. A team can bring a competitive ad
vantage to a buy or sell transaction by simply having more resources to tap, more people, more ideas, more perspectives. Every consumer has a personal preference, but if the collaborative process, an all access pass, depth of combined experience and real estate wisdom are on your must have list, a realtor team may be a good fit for you.