In these difficult and challenging times, it is very difficult for the potential seller to cut through all the “noise” and “hype” about listing agents and what individual brokerages bring to the table. In an industry that desperately needs more transparency, there is probably more hocus pocus floating around than ever before. Tales about how agent “X” can sell your home for more than agent “Y” in less time abound and have become the stuff of legend. Apparently agent “X” has that secret potion that moves homes – and what’s more, he’s got the sales figures to prove it! Big box brokerages also make the same claim. “Our Rumpelstiltskin marketing plan will attract buyers willing to pony up pure gold for your house made of straw!” In truth, like most fairy tales, these claims usually don’t amount to much.
First and foremost – AGENTS sell homes – brokerages don’t. With a few notable exceptions, most brokerages spend shockingly little money marketing a seller’s home. I’ve seen situations where brokerages will spend about 0.1% of the list price. That’s about $500 for a $500,000 home. If the home lingers on the market – and the advertising money is used up – that’s just too bad. The rest is left up to the individual agent who is unlikely to have very deep pockets in this current market.
True, many brokerages have spent hundreds of thousands for very fancy web sites brimming with eye candy and tons of nooks and crannies for buyers and sellers to explore. They try to blow sellers away with the fanciness of it all. As in the story of Snow White – there is a lot of smoke and mirrors to this tale. Bottom line – these sites are designed to do two things: Convince sellers to list and buyers to call.
The trouble is that most brokerage websites are not designed to sell particular listings – most notably your listing. In order to get buyers to call, the site must feature ALL listings from ALL brokerages in the area. When you take away the glitz, these sites are basically a public version of the MLS – nothing more. Since they are listing almost everything on the MLS, sellers need to realize that their home will be on that web site no matter WHO they list with. The website may well create buyer leads – however, it will do so whether or not the home is listed with that particular brokerage.
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