The Listing Agent Minefield – “Everyone I know lists with ‘Big Box Brokerage’ so they must be the best”

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The Listing Agent Minefield – Should I choose my agent from Zillow’s list of premier agents?
October 26, 2012
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Lighting Up The Night – Outdoor Lighting & Twilight Photography – The American Dream Home at Hudson Harbor Tarrytown….
October 29, 2012

This is a common misconception.  Its somewhat analogous to choosing the agent with the most listings but with some important differences.

If you choose an agent in this way, what you are doing is choosing a “brand”.  There are many popular brands out there to pick from – Houlihan Lawrence, Julia B. Fee Sothebys, Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker and my own brokerage, Keller Williams are among the big players in lower Westchester.  The big mistake here is that sellers think there is constancy between agents within each brand.

Real estate brokerages are not at all like other big box brands…

When you go to Starbucks, you expect the same service in New York that you get in  California, Florida or the outback of Alaska.  The same would hold true of a McDonald’s or a Cheesecake Factory.  There is a consistency within these brands that just doesn’t happen in real estate brokerage brands and that can extends even within individual franchises.

The reason why is simple:  Your local Starbucks is run by people who employees of Starbucks.  Your local agent is self-employed.  They are independent contractors who are hanging their license with a brokerage.  They are not employees.  The result, for good or ill, is that the large brokerage and even the individual franchise has limited control over how each agent conducts business.

What does a big-box brokerage offer?

In general – when you strip away the hype and the meaningless bells and whistles – they offer a recognizable brand to showcase your house.  You will get a marketing package which is generally a one-size-fits all endeavor.  That’s the way it is with most of the large brokerages, the big exception being my own brokerage –  Keller Williams where the model is quite a bit different.  Most of the big brands offer a flat package of marketing.  Your home goes into their sausage making machine.  MLS listing – check, Fliers – check,  Open house and publicity – check.   Its all very nice, but it  tends to be all the same with little variation and almost no “outside the box” thinking.

Always choose an agent – not a brokerage brand…

If there is on message I would like everyone to take to heart from this series it is this:  choose an individual agent NOT a brokerage brand.  Even if you like the brokerage “package” and what it has to offer, there is more to a real estate transaction than that – a lot more.   The difference between individual agents – even within the same office  can be like night and day.


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.


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