Real estate teamerages (Inman calls them teamberages) have been on the rise as a business model for the last several years and for good reason: they offer agents training, tools, and earning potential they can’t find in more traditional (and bigger) brokerages. Teamerages also tend to be more agile, scalable, and profitable — factors that best position them to not only ride out a market slowdown but also grow by seizing opportunities that shake out from less innovative structures. Teamerages are the “Goldilocks” of business models when it comes to shifting markets — small enough to pivot quickly, but big enough to take advantage of opportunities that will undoubtedly arise.
The “teamerage” business model has exploded in the last several years, though the concept isn’t entirely new. Not exactly a real estate team, and not a brokerage, teamerages — as the name suggests — combine the best of both worlds. They often provide shared resources like training, support staff, and technology while letting agents operate independently and build their own brand, all with reduced financial risk.
According to Buddy Blake, broker/owner of the teamerage Waypost Realty in Wilmington, North Carolina, quick-shifting housing markets can wreak havoc on larger real estate brokerages, smaller undercapitalized teams, and solo agents. With transaction volume down 20% year over year, this will drive a number of less-established agents out of the market, opening opportunities for real estate teamerages who can pivot quickly.
“Nimble, fiscally sound, strong-cultured, lead-from-the-front and pioneering teams, and now teamerages, are the tip of the spear in responding to the numerous opportunities that appear as market swings paralyze or destroy traditional organizations,” noted Blake, who was co-owner of three RE/MAX franchises in Wilmington before pivoting to found his teamerage in 2019. Blake noted recently in a mastermind webinar co-hosted by Sierra Interactive.
“More traditional companies are creating silos that open up opportunities for teamerages to be successful,” said Blake. “Brokerages are going to have to figure out the teamerage model because top-producing agents will go where they can get the highest split. They know there are only so many deals to go around in a shifted market.”
Teamerages also have agility and innovation on their side when it comes to reacting to market conditions. Whether by leveraging technology, pooling resources or enabling agents to be more productive with their time, the teamerage-based model will likely be better able to withstand — and capitalize on — a market slowdown.
“They’re trying all the new technology. Typically, larger teams control most of the market share on Google My Business and Google Local Service, too,” said Blake. “I see some bigger franchises building in teamerage plans where agents can have their own brand, have resources, and be a part of something bigger. Bigger brokerages are going to have to adapt to that because there are not enough transactions out there right now for all the agents who are in business. There will be a lot of agents who fall out.”
With any significant market shift comes the need for real estate businesses to pivot to stay profitable, let alone grow. The real estate teamerage’s agility and “just-right” size — not too big, not too small — make it the business model best positioned to capitalize on the market slowdown and unpredictable year ahead.
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