Even the best real estate agents can’t do everything perfectly all the time. And that includes successful single agents—those who decided to remain a solo agent rather than join a team or brokerage. 

Single agents committed to building successful businesses typically learn, at some point, that they need support staff to handle tasks not specific to helping clients:

  • Transaction management
  • Listing coordination
  • Marketing and social media
  • Office management
  • CRM management and email
  • Website management

It’s similar to building a real estate team of your own. But instead of adding other agents to your business, you’re adding skilled professionals to support you as the sole agent. 

And while there is a capital investment in both cases, it’s considerably less when you’re only hiring support for one agent. 

Starting as a solo agent

Yesterday’s real estate agents wore 27 different hats: 

  • They were their own marketer
  • They wrote their own listing descriptions 
  • They took their own listing photos
  • They uploaded their listings to the MLS
  • They worked with buyers and sellers
  • They ran CMAs
  • They analyzed the market
  • They made videos 
  • They posted on social media
  • They negotiated

They did all these things as one person. And, like all of us, they were probably average at many of those things. When you spread yourself too thin, you’re not going to do your best at any of the roles you have as an agent. 

So much goes into real estate work. It’s a lot to balance—and too much for one person to do well consistently for every single client, especially if that agent wants to grow their business. 

This is why even solo agents form some sort of team. If you’re going to be successful in today’s market, you need to hire W-2 employees at some point if you want your business to grow.  

Building a team as a solo agent vs. joining a brokerage

Building a staff around you as a single agent involves risk. You need capital to take this risk and remain a single agent with your own staff. 

The alternative is to work with a unique brokerage that is offering to offload a lot of the tasks you might otherwise hire staff to handle for you:

  • Transaction management
  • Listing coordination
  • Marketing 
  • Branding 

Do you have that type of brokerage in your marketplace that you can slide into as a solo agent? 

This is where your research comes in. And that means researching everyone—including the brokerages in your community—to ensure that the one you choose has all these figured out. 

This research is critical. It’s also something very few agents actually do. 

The top teams in each brokerage typically do have all this stuff figured out. They often have employees, infrastructure, and systems they’ve built out over the years that can support you. 

The higher cost of going solo

Being a solo agent is much more difficult—not to mention expensive—than joining a team or brokerage. You must figure out how to get the support you need and get leads on your own. 

Remember, almost 90% of agents do not make it to their fourth year. The vast majority of those are solo agents. 

So, if you’re building a solo agent career, you have to be willing to employ W-2 employees at some point, whether that’s early on or you’re working up to it. 

Burnout isn’t the only tragic thing that happens to one-person real estate businesses. You also cheat yourself out of the exponential growth that is only possible when you delegate non-agent-specific tasks to skilled professionals who perform those tasks better than you do. 

You’re already facing risk by becoming a real estate agent. Be open to hiring or contracting with skilled and supportive staff members, so you can focus on the things you do best.