This Brokerage Has 750 Listings…..So they must be the best! (Part 2)

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Blowing smokePart 1 of “This Brokerage Has 750 Listings…..So they must be the best! ” was prompted by the fact that the Westchester NY real estate market had changed and as a result,  I was getting more and more questions about what a brokerage brought to the table in terms of marketing.   I emphasized the importance of choosing the right agent and that the brokerage itself was of less importance.    I also indicated that there was a lot of smoke and mirrors  regarding  brokerage brands and what that means to the seller in terms of marketing the home.  Also, for those consumers who would like to see broker/agent input on Part 1 of this post…you can go to my blog on ActiveRain where I re-posted the blog.  It got a good deal of attention and much commentary from real estate professionals.

In the end, I  promised a sequel  that got into more specifics.  So here it is – six  major myths about  listing a  property and marketing a property that are often trumpeted by our own industry.  Its been said that if you repeat something often enough it becomes “fact” in the eyes of the consumer.  So let’s put some of these “facts” to rest.

Myth #1 – “We have  12 billion to the 10th power  active listings, so  our reputation speaks for itself!”

Really?  How on earth does anyone come to that conclusion?  You can have all the listings in the world, but if you can’t sell them, what’s the point?   The percentage of sold listings is a bit  more pertinant. However, even that number does not discriminate between individual agent performance.

Myth #2 – “Your listing will appear on our website which is on page 1 of Google!  That will draw in TONS of buyers”

Yup – it sure will be – along with every other listing in the ENTIRE MLS – whether you are listed with this brokerage or not.

Why? because listings and pictures are like  crack-cocaine to buyers and that’s what  these sites are designed to lure.  The “bait” has to be the entire MLS or the buyer will be on to the next site in very short order.   So rest assured your listing will appear on their site just like every other listing on the MLS whether your contract is with them or the small independent broker down the street.

Myth 3# – Our brokerage has the big dollars behind it to fully support your listing!

It sounds really comforting.   Many consumers believe that a big listing brokerage must be brimming with money to market their home.  Why wouldn’t they do it if they stand to make so much more once the sale is complete?

There are a couple of problems with that notion:
1. That big plush brokerage has a big plush overhead to go with it!  That’s a fixed cost that doesn’t go away and in many cases it has become a monster demanding ever more revenue to sustain it.  Most brokerages are not nearly so flush with money as they were in years gone by.

2. The other problem is “risk.”   By marketing a house the agent or/and brokerage puts money on the table and assumes a financial risk.  The risk is that the house won’t sell.  No matter how good you are as an agent or broker…its a game that you will not always win.

Most sellers would be shocked at how little a brokerages will actually spend. But the  fact is  that if a broker is holding  700 listings, how much money can they spend at any one time?   If you spend $2000 on each listing that’s  $1,400,000 in outlays – with no guarantee of success.  HELLO!!!   Do you see now what I mean about the risk issue?

Brokerages of this size are generally playing a numbers game.  They throw 700 listings up against a wall and some will actually “stick.”  The sheer volume of listings necessitate this approach.  But how wedded to each listing can a brokerage of that size be? That dedication must fall on the individual agent representing the seller.  Since the agent doesn’t carry anything close to a the volume of a major brokerage – each individual listing is of far more importance.  This is another reason why sellers should look to the AGENT not the BROKERAGE when selecting a professional to list their house.  .

Myth #4 – “Our brokerage has a terrific individual marketing!”

If a brokerage has  over 700 listings, how individual can the marketing plan possibly  be?
Usually  that means that the listing will be sucked up into the cookie-cutter marketing machine they throw at every listing.

In fact, if the agent keeps intoning “my brokerage does this, my brokerage does that” it is often a signal that they may well have divorced themselves  from all but standard brokerage marketing. In this tough market that’s not a good thing.  It is also a sign that nothing truly unique or outside the box will be brought to the table to help move the home.

Myth #5 – “We are the biggest brokerage in the area with the most agents and everyone of them is ‘motivated’ to find you a buyer.

WHOA!!!  All I can say to this is RUN THE OTHER WAY!!! This may well mean that they are highly motivated to keep the sale “in-house” which is  code for the agents have a financial motivation to do so.

This is a problem on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin.  For openers it violates the spirit of the MLS.  The MLS’s were created to  level the playing field between competing brokerages so that buyers and sellers could work with whoever they wanted to without feeling they were at a disadvantage.   Creating financial incentives to keep sales in-house throws a monkey wrench into that system.

It may sound great – having 500 agents looking to find you a buyer,  but there’s a big elephant in the room.   If the listing agent is motivated to keep the sale in house, what will they do if an agent from a competing office brings in the best offer?  Will they push an ‘in-house’ offer?   Even if it truly isn’t the BEST offer? The answer depends on the individual.  I know many agents who would never compromise their sellers…but there are always a few who would.   Bottom line:  Why work with a brokerage that encourages this since it can almost invites unethical behavior? In the end, the numbers tell the story.  There are roughly 6500 agents working in our county.   Even if a brokerage had 1000 agents, statistically, it is far more likely that the “best” offer will come from an agent outside the listing brokerage.

Myth #6 – Our big brokerage has a relocation service that brings in gazillions of buyers just panting to see our listings!

Please see myth #5.   Any buyer coming in through a relocation service will be looking at the entire MLS inventory…not just the listings within that brokerage.

So there you have it….six common myths about listings, agents, brokerages and marketing.  I hope this adds some transparency to an issue that is generally a black box to consumers.

Further Reading:

This Brokerage Has 750 Listings…..So they must be the best! (Part 1)

© 2009 Ruthmarie G. Hicks

Please feel free to contact me anytime to request additional information or to set up an appointment so we can explore your listing or purchasing needs. I am easy to reach by phone, text or email. Or, if you just want to continue your search online, the links below will help you get started.

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