If you haven’t realized it already, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to selling a home. Not paying close enough attention to any one of them could easily extend the time it takes to sell your house and even decrease your final sale price. You could choose to go it alone, but more often than not, you’ll enlist the help of a real estate agent to help you navigate the marketing, contract and closing process.

But when it comes to hiring a contractor for fixes you need to make, a home stager to make your rooms look attractive, a photographer for listing photos and finding your next home to purchase, it can be more than a two-person job. That’s where the team comes in.

Real estate agent teams typically consist of agents who work together on listings to provide increased services to clients. An agent team can be two people or 10, and it's most often associated with brokerage firms that have a large number of agents and multiple locations.

Alecia Scott, the lead agent for Scott Team International with Long & Foster Rockville Centre in Maryland, says her team puts equal focus on all its listings, since members can balance the workload throughout the group. “Whether it’s a $100,000 property or a million-dollar property, it all gets the same exposure with our [marketing] system,” Scott says.

It can take "a team effort to get a home sold," says Eleonora Srugo, a licensed real estate saleswoman and partner on the SLS Team at Douglas Elliman in New York City. "Everyone’s objective is the same – it’s to get the home sold fast; it’s to get the home sold at the highest price point; it’s to fulfill our fiduciary obligation to our client,” Srugo says.

The SLS Team not only works with individual homeowners, but real estate developers as well. It can also take on the task of selling 100 units in a single building. Particularly for those bigger projects, a team offers more creativity and a support system, says Michael Lorber, a license associate real estate broker and partner on the SLS Team. “You want to bounce things off your partners and your team,” Lorber says. “There are things that do slip through the cracks, and that’s why you have a team.”

The variety of roles can differ between teams, and they often depend on the number of members, but you'll often work closely with at least a few people as you prepare your house to go on the market. U.S. News talked with members of the SLS Team from Douglas Elliman in New York City who explained who does what on a real estate team:

The lead agent. Typically the most seasoned of the group, the lead agent serves as the face of the team and often meets with the seller in initial meetings to determine his or her needs, as well as the needs of the home.

The SLS Team has three partners leading the group – Srugo, Lorber and licensed saleswoman Maria Velazquez – one of which is always present in the initial meetings and professional photo sessions and writes the copy for all marketing.

Velazquez notes the size of the SLS Team not only allows her to offer her expertise to other agents, but she benefits from the other leaders on the team. "It's very important to rely on the other members' knowledge and experience – we all have different niches," she says.

The licensed salesperson. A team will often have more than one junior real estate agent who will be instrumental in showing your home, providing marketing assistance and, when an offer is made, serving as a guide through the contract and closing process.

Licensed salesman Alexander Boriskin is one of three in this role on the SLS Team. He says working with a team makes it possible to show a home whenever an interested buyer calls.

“Since we’re such a large team, we’re able to accommodate every showing so no one’s ever turned away, and we never have to reschedule," Boriskin says, adding that "if you try to reschedule, you could potentially lose the buyer."

The office manager. With a lot of balls in the air for one listing, let alone all the listings a single team tackles at any given time, you’ll typically find someone in the office manager or administrative role to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Sarah Orenstein, the director of operations for the SLS Team, explains she touches different areas of the home selling and buying process through the support work she provides. “I get exposed to all different aspects of the industry – to the marketing, to the photography, to writing the listing descriptions, to doing some showings,” she says.

Depending on the team you work with, there could be a variety of members in other staff roles that play a part in the sale of your home. Miles Murphy, vice president of sales at Mark Spain Real Estate in Alpharetta, Georgia, explains his team is comprised of roughly 80 people, most of which are real estate agents, with about 20 staff members who work in departments, including photography, accounting and marketing, though clients primarily interact with their agent and a client concierge, who provides the administrative support needed to organize everything else.

Other roles. Scott says she has incorporated home staging into her team’s services, along with managing contractors for renovations before selling, because it helps alleviate stress for the client.

“We actually have our own inventory of staging furniture – that’s something that we do as a value-added service to our clients, rather than have them pay additional money to outside staging services,” Scott says.

Regardless of whether you choose to work with one agent, a small team or an entire army of agents, the relationship between the professional and the client is invaluable in making the home selling process a success.

Murphy stresses the team’s goal is not only to provide an array of services to clients, but to foster a close relationship and make home sellers confident in the deal they make. “You have to walk that fine line between feeling like you’re just a number," he says, "and having a direct relationship with one person who’s going to help you reach your goals.”

Tags: real estate, housing market, housing, home prices, new home sales, existing home sales, pending home sales


Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.