Being busy is good, but do you suddenly have more traffic and listing appointments than you can handle? There’s a fine line between running a bustling business and becoming drastically overwhelmed. Before you surrender your life to the dark side and sacrifice your commission advance to the competition, protect your investment and take a step toward a brighter future by building a smart, competent and wildly successful team.

Start by Identifying Your Own Strengths

Bigger isn’t always better. Make that your mantra as you add people to your team because you’ll be tempted to snag the best all-around applicant or the most intriguing go-getter, and what you first see as shiny and new might not be the best option. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses and, perhaps more importantly, decide what tasks must be accomplished by you and what can be delegated. Once you know what you won’t or can’t do, you can narrow down your list of potential hires to those who will best fill the gap.

Ask Applicants the Right Questions

Interviewers get too caught up in queries about credentials and experience when that can all be verified using a resume and references. You can offer experience and teach real estate-specific skills, but there is no substitute for things like personality, drive and overall savvy. To see who already has those characteristics, shake up the questions you ask:

  • What do they love about real estate?
  • Why are they entering the industry?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What’s the last book, magazine or blog they read?
  • What industry newsletters do they subscribe to?
  • What’s an example of a great customer service interaction they’re either proud of or that they learned from?
  • What are their career goals?
  • What do they hope to learn should they get this position?

Be Fair When Structuring Pay Packets and Any Potential Commission Advance

Money is a huge motivator — after all, aren’t you inspired by the thought of yet another sale and a looming listing advance? Your team will be encouraged by the same kind of incentives, but the opposite is also true. No one wants to work twice as hard for the same reward, so if your new hires help you double the number of properties you close, then you need to pass on some of the dividends. Those who employ the cream of the crop keep those overachievers on board by sharing not just responsibility but also bonuses and insight into other perks, like how to get a commission advance and what they can do to improve their own industry credentials and career trajectory.

Consider a Partnership Rather Than an Apprenticeship

If you need to be top dog and don’t mind the added pressure and commitment of training relative newbies, then bringing on an office assistant or marketing specialist might be the right move. If, however, you don’t have the time or inclination to educate inexperienced staff, and you’re willing to work with someone already on your level, then joining forces with another agent might be better than going solo. Together, you can grow your network exponentially and support each other’s strengths. There are now two people to answer client queries, attend open houses, show homes and act as catalysts for growth — not a bad deal if the agreement is attractive enough for all involved.

Do you think your commission advance is as big as it can ever get? Growth is always possible when you have the right team in place. Hire smart, and your work-life balance — and your bank account — will be better than ever.