The Listing Agent Minefield – Is a “local” or “hyperlocal” agent really that important?

Real Estate Issues
The Listing Agent Minefield…Choosing a listing agent without losing your mind…
September 27, 2012
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September 30, 2012

In my first installment in this series,I described why listings were so important to agents and why agents were popping out of the woodwork to list your home.   Most agents come with a listing presentation and  this blog will discuss one of the most hyped features that agents use to distinguish themselves from the pack.

Real estate is a local business:

The above statement is true.  Its one of the reasons why sites like Zillow and Trulia are of limited use.  Real estate is very local.  In Westchester right now we have towns that are booming running right along side of areas that are groaning under heavy inventory and lower prices.  Even within a town or village, small differences in location or condition can  alter the value of a home.

So is it important for your real estate agent to be truly “local”.  Well, that depends on what you mean by local.  A lot of agents are hyping the fact that they live in a given town or neighborhood – so this sets them apart from all the rest.   To that I say “WHOA!!! Wait just a second there!”  If an agent is trying to distinguish themselves as special because of a  personal or brokerage street address, chances are they are playing with a rather weak hand.

Local KNOWLEDGE is important but living in the exact location  or having an office in town is not. 

Your agent should know pricing and should have a knowledge of any zoning changes that might be in the offing, they should have knowledge of the general area and neighborhoods. They should have taken buyers to homes similar to yours.  That does not necessarily mean that they need to have SOLD a lot of homes in the immediate area.  These days buyers are often looking in several locations and active agents are familiar with many towns and neighborhoods.  There are areas where I have showings all the time, but no recent sales.  In that case their knowledge of your area is as solid as someone who is exclusive to one neighborhood.  What the agent is going to do to sell your home is far more important then whether their address is in your zip code.

Will the local agents know about the listing if we don’t go with an in town broker?

Of course they will!  Its called the MLS.  That’s where agents get there information.  They don’t get it by whispers between agents in the office.   When they have a buyer in a given price range, they check the MLS for new listings daily.

The internet has changed everything – but not quite:

In the days before the internet was used extensively to market homes, it was harder for agents who weren’t strictly local to obtain information about properties in neighboring towns.  That is no longer the case.   So are the days of the local agent over?  No, not really.  Local knowledge still rules which is why I wouldn’t hire an agent to sell my home that is 50 miles away.  This is particularly true in densely populated areas like Westchester NY.  Apart from not having enough local knowledge there are the logistics of servicing the listing.   But when agents huff and puff about a competing agent who is one town and maybe 5 miles away – that to me, that is pure hype.

The big exception: pre-foreclosures/short sales:

If you are seriously delinquent on your mortgage,  there are only handful of agents with expertise to manage the negotiations with the banks.  That capability super cedes local knowledge. If you are in that situation, you need a short sale expert.  PERIOD.

Note:  I do not handle short sales, but know agents that are expert in this.  If you are in this situation, feel free to email or call me and I will turn you over to someone who knows that market inside-out.

Other posts in “The Listing Agent Minefield” series…

  1. The Listing Agent Minefield…Choosing a listing agent without losing your mind…
  2. The Listing Agent Minefield – Is a “local” or “hyperlocal” agent really that important?
  3. The Listing Agent Minefield – The more listings the agent has the better! Right?
  4. The Listing Agent Minefield – Should I choose my agent from Zillow’s list of premier agents?
  5. The Listing Agent Minefield – “Everyone I know lists with ‘Big Box Brokerage’ so they must be the best”
  6. The Listing Agent Minefield – Whatever happened to internet transparency?

© 2012 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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.

Phone/Text: 914-374-5529


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