A frequent question that I get is whether it’s better to work with a single agent or a team. The quick answer to that is that it really depends, which may not feel like the most satisfying of answers. In order to present something that our readers can sink their teeth into, we’re going to explore the agent versus team debate from a few different angles in the hopes that we give our loyal friends enough information to decide the trajectory that best suits their individual, family, or portfolio goals.
One thing I want to highlight before we get started is an academic clarification; For the purposes of this piece, we will be using the terms agent, real estate salesperson and REALTOR ® interchangeably.
Let’s first make sure we’re all speaking about the same things: A real estate team usually has one person who quarterbacks your transaction but there are several to many people that work on your file. This can mean that you have folks from the office reaching out to you to coordinate or confirm appointments, or to handle administrative matters around deposits or paperwork, for example. There may also be more junior salespersons who do tasks like running open houses and handling general inquiries.
When working with a solo agent, you’re much more likely to have a single point of contact, namely your agent. While the agent and the brokerage (the REALTOR ®’s office) handle the paperwork in concert, they will likely communicate with each other, and any follow-up required with you will be handled by your real estate salesperson.
Let’s deep dive into working with teams versus a solo agent.
- Availability: In a solo situation, you’re dealing with one real estate salesperson, so you’ll have to work within the limitation of their schedule. Whereas when working with a team, the client has the advantage of a broader availability of multiple individuals. Real estate truly is a dynamic 24-hour business, so flexibility can turn to timeliness which can make or break a deal. Edge: Team.
- Relationship: There is a perception in a team environment where the big name on the door is only around for the ‘kissing babies and shaking hand's stage. Once the meet and greet are over and the ink on the contract is dry, the client will be working with an often junior, less-experienced team member. When working with a single person there’s a sense that this person is in the trenches with you and thus someone upon whom you can count, who knows your unique situation and goals. They are also your own personal real estate google, where you can ask all the questions you want without fear of reprisal or feeling foolish. Edge: Solo.
- Accountability: The agent is fully responsible for your transaction and can’t pass the buck to anyone else. This may make the REALTOR ® more attentive knowing that it is their feet, and their feet alone, that would be held to the fire. Edge: Solo.
- Expertise: Each person in real estate, like in life, has a niche. To put it another way, everyone is not an expert at everything. When working with a solo REALTOR ®, they may be able to show a property like a boss or write the tightest Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) that you’ve ever seen, but they’re not adept at social media or have difficulty calculating a property’s cash flow. With a team, they have leveraged the skill sets of the individual members and so while the person standing in front of you may not be a media maven, it’s a pretty safe bet that someone on the team is. Edge: Team.
- For first-time homebuyers: This is where relationship real estate thrives. First-time home buyers have a lot of uncertainty, lots of questions, and need tons of personal attention. A frequent complaint of people working with a team is that they get lost in the shuffle. A singular agent is able to be more attentive and thus fills the first-time homebuyer niche well. Edge: Solo.
- For Investor clients: Investor clients can often be literally all over the globe, so just in terms of flexibility alone, a team may be better able to support this client profile. Investor clients also often have dynamic needs. The means and technological access that a team has is difficult for a solo agent to be able to meet. Edge: Team.
At Canadian Real Estate Wealth, we’re not ones to rest on our laurels, so we reached out to Jesse Davies, leader of the Jesse Davies Team to share his thoughts on the points raised in the deep dive. Jesse is a Top Producing Team lead at one of the Century21 top real estate brokerages and the Top Realtor for 2020 and 2021 at Century 21 Elevate Real Estate. Jesse runs a rental management division at century 21 helping investors and clients manage their portfolios.
Mr. Davies shares the benefits of his wisdom:
"There are a lot of intrinsic value-adds that our team offers. Our agents specialize in a certain property type or quadrant, and we do our best to match our client's needs during the transaction. We are big believers in being proactive rather than reactive keeping our clients informed of what is to come. We find this makes the entire process less stressful and much more enjoyable. You also touched on the skill sets above, but new team members need to be knowledgeable and motivated, and they need to deliver great service to our clients. At this point, we’re looking for someone who complements our existing folks, not someone who adds more of the same. Team members have been brought on for reason. For example, language is a big value to bring to our team. We have a very dynamic client base, so we take pride in ensuring that our team is representative of our clients. We have folks that speak, Punjabi, Mandarin, and Cantonese. If there was ever a gap where one of our clients spoke a language that prevented us from hitting a home run in service delivery, we’d be highly motivated to find someone that speaks the same language so we can close that gap."
When asked what he feels the right recipe is, this is what he had to say:
"There’s not one magic answer. There’s the importance of working with the right agent. For investor clients, working with people who know the investor market and taking the time to get to know the client's needs before making any recommendations is essential. If they rush into it without doing their homework, I recommend you move along and give us a call! At the Jesse Davies Team, we meet four times a month and run through our clients to make sure that we move together as a unit. No clients left behind the Jesse Davies team is upfront from the beginning on which agents will be working with them directly to set the expectation from the start. Transparency is paramount for us."
Whether you’re buying your family home or an investment property, the process can be a stressful one. The choice isn’t a binary one between a solo agent or a team of agents. It comes down to who you can see guiding you to the finish line, be it a marathoner or a relay team.
Whether in Calgary or its surrounding area, there are multiple opportunities for investors looking to take advantage of this increasingly popular real estate market. To learn more about how you can invest in Calgary or begin your home-buying journey visit https://jdrealestatecalgary.ca.