I saw a social media post recently by our local ‘mega-agent’ entitled: “Breaking News: Individual Real Estate agents added to Endangered Professions List!”
This post compares the individual real estate agent to “a tennis player using a wooden racket” or “a football player with a leather helmet.” The individual agent is on life support, it exclaims.
Total nonsense. Here’s an entirely different perspective.
The individual agent
‘Indy Bob’ is classified as an individual real estate agent only because he doesn’t have other licensed agents on his team. And yet, Bob has surrounded himself with a top-notch team of highly-skilled professional photographers, staging experts, graphic designers and other specialists.
Bob takes a huge amount of pride in the presentation and marketing of a property, and he works with clients personally from the pre-listing stage all the way through to the closing.
He keeps his clients fully informed on listing and market activity throughout the process. Bob is a quick phone call away if clients ever have a question, and he always provides a comprehensive, insightful response.
With Indy Bob, homebuyers and sellers have a direct connection with a highly-skilled expert who cares deeply about delivering results.
When clients receive an offer, they get all the benefit of Indy Bob’s expertise. If there’s a problem, Bob’s got the solution. He negotiates the best possible price and terms on his client’s behalf.
When it comes to finding his clients a new home, does Bob hand them off to a junior agent? Nope!
Once again, homebuyers get all the benefit of his skill and experience as he walks them through the buying process, from the research stage to the possession date.
Bob didn’t get all this skill by accident or experience alone. He went out of his way to learn additional skills that he knew he needed to excel in his chosen profession. Bob has worked hard, and now he’s got a thriving real estate business, fueled by a never-ending stream of incoming referrals from thrilled past clients.
Do you think Bob would ever give up his successful real estate practice and go to work for the local mega-agent? Not in a million years.
When I refer to the mega-agent, I’m talking about the famous real estate agent on the billboards all over town, the radio waves and probably TV. You know the one I’m talking about. There’s at least one in every major market.
They’re marketing machines, that’s for sure. But let’s be clear: All that money they tell clients they spend on marketing? It’s got very little (or nothing) to do with getting homes sold. They’re marketing themselves. To get more clients.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Just please don’t insult my intelligence and tell me they’re spending all that marketing moola on a client’s behalf. (Also, that “guarantee” program? Pffft. That’s a topic for another day.)
We’re No. 1!
The mega-agent is the Wal-Mart of real estate. In all likelihood, they are the No. 1 agent in a local area in terms of total sales. But here’s what they don’t tell you about their impressive sales ranking:
Those sales are an accumulation of all their agents (sometimes 50 or more) compared to the sales of each individual agent, partnership, or small customer-service-focused team. Not exactly a fair or meaningful comparison.
The mega-agent is the face of the mega-team. But if you call the number on that billboard, don’t be under the illusion that you’ll ever get the privilege of talking to the “celebrity” mega-agent. Instead, clients will be assigned to someone on ‘The Team.’
The problem is, who knows how much experience or skill that team member has? You have to wonder why they ever decided to work for another real estate agent in the first place, right?
Then again, they could be good. Who knows?
Often, brand-new real estate agents naively join these mega-teams, attracted by the promise of “team comradery” and the opportunity to learn at the feet of the famous mega-agent. They get trained all right, in “How to chase after ‘leads’ generated from the mega-agent’s Internet lead-generating machine.”
These team members often become disillusioned with their assigned work and never actually learn how to become a successful independent agent. Because, why would the mega agent train them to become a competitor?
I don’t care what anyone else says about the individual agent’s role now or in the future. Achieving the best possible result in real estate will always require a dedicated expert with the right combination of integrity, experience and skill.
This is not to say that every individual real estate agent is as skilled, experienced and dedicated as Indy Bob. They’re not! But you’d be surprised by the number of hard-working, dedicated, highly-skilled individual agents there are flying under the radar quite successfully, serving their clients and getting the job done.
Just don’t expect to see them on a billboard.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of HousingWire’s editorial department and its owners.
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Sarah Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org