There are three ways to get exposure to realtors.

  1. Word-of-mouth from friends and family.
  2. Personal experience or investigation.
  3. Realtor-paid advertising.

First, let’s identify how realtors get their business.

Either they earn the business (#1&2 above), or they buy the business (#3 above).

They earn it by creating relationships with friends and family that turn into sales. Those results create word-of-mouth endorsements that will hopefully be the foundation of the realtor’s business.

Or agents can buy the business through advertising.

There are several realtors in our area who spend $25,000 to $50,000 per month on advertising, which means they need to charge the higher commission rates – and that probably won’t change.

Billboards, bus benches, trailers in movie theaters, grocery store carts, etc. all lathered with realtor advertising that supplement their online ads, social media, and mailers to the neighborhood. These realtors hope to subconsciously create a positive image in the homeowners’ minds, which causes them to reach out to the ‘local expert’ when the time comes.

Which realtor will help you the most, and be deserving of their pay?

The best part of the realtor lawsuits is that they might cause consumers to investigate the choices more thoroughly. It is a daunting task because of the number of realtors out there, and the lack of hiring knowledge available. It’s why 80% of consumers hire the first agent they meet – they haven’t moved in a while, and in the microwave society they just want to grab an agent and go. Plus, the realtor industry provides virtually no guidance on the selection process, so you’re on your own.

My General Tips:

Those who spend the big money are vunerable to investigations – they hope that you grab and go instead. Once a team gets to 10 people or more, you have to wonder who is doing the heavy lifting. There are many top producers now in North County who have retired – but you wouldn’t know it because they leave everything in place, and just let the assistants run the machine. See if you can get the team leader on the phone, and check their reviews on Google and Zillow to see which agent is being acknowledged for the work. It’s not a bad thing to work with the assistants, but you’d like to know that up front.

The bigger the team, the less personal attention you will get. Their expertise will hopefully make up for it, but you should know that if your sale doesn’t work out, it’s not going to change their lifestyle.

Realtor websites look the same – brags about their sales, a button to search for your ‘dream’ home, and another for a computerized value of your home. With both buttons, you give up your contact information so they can pester you. Do they provide any helpful content on their website or social media? Their published content is a direct reflection of their expertise, and awareness of current market conditions.

Are they too busy for you? Simple way to find out. Call their phone number, and see what happens.

Every agent has their sales history on Zillow (whether they like it or not, because Zillow auto-loads them).  If you are looking to conduct a full analysis, you’ll have fun with this data. One sale per month is a good sign, and check their mix of buyers and sellers, mix of price points, the SP:LP ratio on their sold listings, their listing presentations (quantity/quality of photos) and days on market. It’s takes work, but time well spent.

Do you want to hire the local expert? Rarely do they go into detail on what that means for you, and besides, every agent calls themselves the local expert.

Do you want to hire a long-time veteran? Only if they are still on their game (minimum one sale per month, etc.). More than half of all realtors are 60+ years old, and you don’t want to be their last sale.

Are they available? Deals are being done 24/7, so how the agent handles that is important.

Can they put a few sentences together to describe the current market conditions? It means you have to talk to them live, but it’s a terrific way to judge a realtor’s competency.

My big hope is that the realtor lawsuits give consumers the idea that they should shop around more, and they search for the best combination of quality realtor and commission rate. My guess is that the commission rates won’t change much, and they sure won’t be advertised. It should mean more scrutiny on what a realtor does for you – which is a great thing, and how the decision should be made!

Get Good Help!

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