Should I Hire A Solo Real Estate Agent Or A Team?

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One of the most popular trends over the past few years in the real estate industry has been the emergence of real estate teams to sell property in popular areas such as Remuera, Orakei, Mission Bay, Kohimarama, St Heliers and Glendowie.

Real estate teams can range from (1) a husband and wife team (like us) to (2) a couple of agents joining forces to (3) a top agent taking on 4 or 5 salesperson plus administration assistants and marketing personnel to form a team.

If you’re planning to sell a home, it’s extremely important that you understand who you’re hiring to assist with your real estate needs. You are bound to have to toss between the options of hiring a team or a solo real estate agent. 

This article lays out the PROs and CONs so that you can make an educated decision that will give you a successful sale and the best possible outcome.

What Are The PROs Of Hiring A Solo Real Estate Agent?

Building A Relationship

Selling a home can be a very emotional and stressful experience. This is because a home is not just a house but where you have created memories with your family. It is also often your biggest financial asset which is why any decision is going to have a certain amount of impact on your life.

It’s therefore vital to the success of a real estate transaction that you’re comfortable with the salesperson representing your best interests and trust him/her to do a good job.

One of the biggest benefits of hiring a solo real estate agent is that you can build a relationship with one person and one person only.  Since selling a home often includes discussing financial information, it’s important that a relationship is built and that you feel that you can trust your salesperson and feel comfortable discussing this type of information.

Solo Real Estate Agents Have Full Responsibility

When you hire a solo real estate agent to help you sell a home, you can expect the agent to take full responsibility for the transaction.

This means that, if your agent actually provides good customer service, he/she will be the one present at the photo shoot, preparing the advertising material (since you would have discussed with him/her the best features of your house), attending the open homes and negotiating with the buyers. These will not be left to another inexperienced salesperson or assistant to complete.

What Are The CONs Of Hiring A Solo Real Estate Agent?

Availability Can Be Limited

Since a solo real estate agent cannot possibly be in two places at once, their availability can be limited.  Limited availability is one of the huge drawback of hiring a solo agent to sell a home.

For example, if you’re selling a home, it’s extremely important that when buyers phone your agent for viewing, that 1) your agent actually picks up the phone and 2) that your agent has the time to show the buyers through as soon as possible. If a solo agent is booked with appointments in the coming days, it can be a challenge coordinating a time that works for all parties. That can hinder your sale as sometimes when it becomes to difficult for buyers, they just walk away and look at another house.

One of the best ways to avoid running into an issue with a solo agents availability is to ask prospective agents about the number of clients they work with at a given time. If they have too many listings at one time (even if they have administrative assistants), you know that it is not possible for them to handle all the appointments at once and therefore they are unlikely to be doing the best for you.

Only one set of skills

Hiring a solo real estate agent means you are only going to be working with one person and one person only. That means you are limited to the skills set that he/she possess.  While it may be possible that your real estate agent is bilingual, adept at negotiating and marketing (odds are very low), it would be impossible for your real estate agent to be able to connect with everyone. 

That is the limitation as opposed to a team where you have more than one agent working your listing and that agent may be able to connect with a wider range of buyers. Remember, it is important not just for you to feel comfortable with your real estate agent but also for your buyers to feel comfortable with your real estate agent.

What Are The PROs Of Hiring A Team Of Real Estate Agents?

Multiple Professionals For The Same Price

One of the biggest PROs of working with a real estate team is that it doesn’t cost any additional money and you get extra professionals.  Depending on the makeup of a real estate team, you can potentially have access to different personalities and multitude of skills set, all for the same cost as having a solo real estate agent.

Take open homes for example. As a team, we are able to engage with multiple buyers at the same time during that open home and share more about what makes your property special on the spot. Nothing beats seeing a specific angle or physically inspecting a particular property so being able to showcase such attributes and ensure that your buyers are well-taken care of are key strategies in ensuring you get top dollar. Gone are the days whereby agents are mere order-takers and just stand and open the house.

More time for your listing

Since a real estate team will have more than one salesperson on the job, that means that when buyers want to schedule appointments, they will be able to cater to a time that suits the buyers. It would also mean they have more time to attend to your listing as you don’t want a case whereby an agent gets your listing and does nothing else afterwards to ensure that the advertising material stays relevant. 

In a property sale, a buyer could also require multiple appointments for valuers, tradespersons, building inspectors or even family/friends to have a look. Having multiple team members who are able to attend to these buyer inspections AND deal with other inquiries on your property can only be beneficial.

We have seen cases whereby a property gets passed in at auction and the details are not even updated one month after the auction date so everyone is immediately reminded that the property failed to sell at auction, which is honestly not a good look for your property. The impact on price is definitely not positive. And this is just one example.

What Are The CONs Of Hiring A Team Of Real Estate Agents?

Potential Breakdown In Communication

Have you heard the saying: “too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth?”  One of the biggest drawbacks of hiring a team of real estate agents is that the potential for communication breakdowns increases significantly, as the team gets larger.

There are many moving parts in the home selling process and communication is key!  A breakdown in communication can be disastrous to a real estate transaction and is actually one of the most common reasons a real estate deal falls apart.

However, often this is not a problem when we have good systems in place, especially if it is just two agents as it is relatively easy to keep everyone involved updated. 

The Team Leader Disappears

One of the most popular reasons why real estate teams sometimes get a bad reputation is because the team leader disappears or is very hard to get a hold of after signing the listing.

Often you only get to meet the team leader during the listing presentation and never the rest of the members of the team. So while you think you are hiring someone very experienced and whom you like greatly, the people who actually do appear at open homes and deal with your buyers are not the same person you actually meet. That means your buyers’ experience might be very different from your experience. Is that something you want at your open homes, especially if you are paying the same price? 
Another likely scenario is that the salespersons who are doing the follow-ups are different from those at the open homes – the big problem for these is that there is likely going to be a communication breakdown. For example, a particular may have expressed an opinion or raised a question during the open homes which was handled by an agent However, the other salespersons doing the follow-up calls may have zero contextual background on such questions and provide a different response. In such case, the consumer experience (i.e. the buyer) becomes unsatisfactory and filled with friction – this isn’t something you want your buyers to experience, especially if you want them to pay top dollar.
Here’s a key tip. Ask the question: who exactly will be at my open homes and dealing with buyer inquiries? 

Tips To Help Decide Whether To Hire A Solo Real Estate Agent Or Team

The decision whether to hire a solo real estate agent or team of agents is an important one.  Hiring the wrong real estate agent can make the process of selling a home impossible and downright miserable.  

Below are some of the best tips to help you decide whether hiring a solo real estate agent or a real estate team is better for you!

How Will Your Home Be Marketed?

The bottom line when deciding whether to hire a solo real estate agent or a team to sell your home is to find out how your home will be marketed.  Asking the right questions about marketing is key when selecting between a solo agent or a team. The better marketed your home is, the more likely you will get more buyers and competition for your home drives up the price. 

In today’s digital age whereby Bauer Media (which owns Property Press) has disappeared, digital marketing should be right at the forefront of your property’s marketing. There should be absolutely no debate about this. Hence the questions you should be asking yourself is: Are you sure your agent is well adept at this? Check out their online profiles (for example Facebook / Google / personal website?) and judge the differences for yourself. Is that an agent you can trust the digital marketing of your property to in this radically different landscape?

You also need to know that your home will reach and attract as many buyers as possible. That means you want a team or agent who is bilingual so that you do not miss out any segment of the market. Sometimes, even though Chinese buyers may speak English, they are still the most comfortable in their own native language and most importantly, we understand the cultural nuances and can better address their concerns in a diplomatic way. When we work with your buyers, we are working to get you the best price.

Understand How The Lines Of Communication Will Work

When deciding between a solo real estate agent or a team, you must understand how communication will work.  If you’re interviewing a team, who do you contact to schedule an appointment to view a home?  Who do you contact with questions regarding preparing the house for sale?

If you’re comfortable with how communication will work with a team, then hiring a team to assist with your real estate needs could be a good fit.  If you’re confused with how the communication will work with a team before signing the contract, you may want to consider sticking to a solo real estate agent.  Again, communication is key in a real estate transaction!

Are their incentives aligned?

You want a real estate agent, be it a team or not, to work for you. That means their incentives must be aligned. In some teams, because of how it is structured, the team leader gets the bigger share for landing the listing and the team member actually working the listing (i.e. selling your property and doing the hard work) gets a very negligible portion (for e.g. 10%). In such situations, do you realistically expect that team member is going to work hard for you when he/she cannot see the tangible benefit to him/her? Who does the ultimate responsibility lie with?

Final Thoughts - Not All Teams Are Created Equal

Being involved in a real estate transaction, it’s important to realize the person or team who you hire to represent your best interests can be the difference between a pleasurable experience or not.

The above PROs and CONs to both hiring a solo agent and hiring a team should be evaluated before signing a listing agreement.  Failing to understand the possible benefits and drawbacks of a solo real estate agent and a real estate team can lead to unnecessary surprises once a real estate transaction is underway.

The rise of real estate teams in modern real estate sales is obviously a clear sign of its popularity and efficacy. However, remember that not all teams are created equal as we have pointed out aboveIn our case, we are a husband and wife team. What does this mean for you? 

  1. Both our incentives are 100% aligned. Regardless of who takes the call, regardless of who brings the buyer, we are committed to getting the best price for you. When you succeed, we succeed together. 
  2. As we are both your listing agents, the responsibility lies with both of us collectively. From the marketing, to the open homes to the negotiations, we deal with them personally. Zero outsourcing, 100% personal touch. 
  3. We live and breathe your property 24/7. As we live together (duh!), the both of us are able to discuss your property face-to-face and deal with any questions or marketing ideas that may arise. There will be no issues of any communication breakdown between us and you/your buyers.
  4. Our skillsets complement each other and each of us is able to deal with different buyers. As we both speak English and Mandarin, there is no concern that there needs to be a Mandarin-speaking agent all the time when during with the Chinese buyers and vice-versa. Both of us are equally adept and capable of dealing with any buyer, anytime. 

We obviously live in radically different circumstances today (April 2020). How we market, show and sell property will undoubtedly change in the future (just like how workplaces and consumer behaviour will change). Make sure the agent(s) you pick to market your most precious asset is well adept and ahead of the curve. After all, you deserve the best.

Found this post useful and have more questions?

Work with a team with a unique marketing campaign to maximise your chances of success. 

Do not hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation discussion over coffee on your future plans to either buy or sell. 

Disclaimer: Yes, I am a licensee salesperson under the REAA 2008, but I am not your salesperson and this article does not create any relationship between you and me (other than reader and author of course). All the information on this website is published in good faith, for general information purpose only and should not be seen as specific financial or investment advice. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website is strictly at your own risk. Copyright: The material contained in this website, including property information and images, may not be used in any way without the express permission of NZ Premium Homes or Ruoxi Wang.

Contact Team Ruoxi & Dickson for a 10-min chat today!

If you want to sell your home for the best possible price and are looking for a competitive and top performer to showcase your home in the best possible light using cutting-edge marketing techniques, then let’s have a chat today. 

+64 22 683 6391 (Ruoxi) | +64 22 647 2635 (Dickson)

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