Panelists at Inman Connect Now argued that teams are nimble, and can provide significant value to both consumers and real estate professionals.
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Real estate teams are likely to continue increasing in popularity, and to see their profits grow, in the future even as brokerages themselves see their margins compressed.
That, at least, was the takeaway from a Tuesday panel at Inman Connect Now dubbed Where Teams Go From Here. The panel featured Adelina Rotar, a team leader with Ben Kinney Companies in Texas, and Wilson Leung, a team leader with Own Real Estate in California. Vija Williams, director of growth at Ben Kinney Companies, moderated the conversation.
Both Rotar and Leung agreed that teams offer agents a number of advantages, including that they provide a way to get started in an industry that depends on contacts and networking.
“They have a book of business,” Leung said. “They have vendor relationships. All of that is going to continue to grow.”
“I think teams are here to stay,” Rotar agreed. “I think they’re only going to increase in marketshare.”
Rotar went on to argue that teams are fast and nimble, allowing them to adapt quickly to market conditions. And they offer a kind of double whammy: With their collection of specialists, teams can create value for consumers and for agents. Rotar specifically said that going forward, she expects to see teams that are assembled with “operational specialists, technology specialists, sales specialists and marketing specialists.”
“The model that will thrive and that will provide the highest level of service to the consumer will be those models that are flexible,” she continued. “A model that will provide a consumer-centric and an agent-centric value proposition. The model that can marry the technology of tomorrow with that heart felt level of service.”
However, on the flip side Leung added that teams that fail to focus on serving customers and instead get distracted by efforts such as recruiting could end up facing harder times.
“A focus on other things other than serving the client is going to be the downfall of the team,” he said.
None of the panelists were anti-brokerage. Indeed, they all work at brokerages.
But Williams began the conversation by noting that she has observed brokerage “margins are shrinking.” That doesn’t mean they’re going away, but rather that teams are increasingly becoming a kind of front line in real estate, where agents are able to merge new types of service and technology.
Leung described a similar trend, saying he has watched brokerage margins gradually decrease over the last 10 years.
None of that means brokerages are irrelevant. But, the panelists argued, it does mean teams in the future will likely go above and beyond what brokerages can accomplish.
“Brokerages are important,” Rotar concluded, “because they are the platform for the team.”