How to Choose a Realtor – Hint: Bigger isn’t better

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Judging from the local newspaper ads, several real estate companies in Summit County are absolutely the top producers.  Each of them has either the most listings (although I’m not sure this is something to boast about – why aren’t they sold?), the most sales over $1 million, the most sold on Thursdays during a full moon, etc.
So how is a buyer or seller to choose?
The first thing to remember is you are choosing a person, not a company.  Gigantic Real Estate may sell twice as much as every other company in town, but how many brokers does it take them to do that?  If Gigantic sold 200 properties last year, that sounds like a lot of business. If they have 50 brokers who each sold 4 properties, that’s different.
Millennium 42 Real Estate has a nation-wide referral network that will bring buyers flocking to your door.  But that network is geared largely to relocations between urban areas.  We don’t have any of that.  I can tell you from personal experience, brokers generate their own referral network.  Companies, not so much.
Big Time Resort Realtors owns the ad section of the local paper.  They spend a hundred thousand a year to make sellers feel good with great pictures of their house in the paper – week after week.  Oh… and to build the Big Time Resort brand into the biggest, baddest, and loudest of all.  (Despair, competitors.  Resistance is futile.)
But wait…the actual broker you choose to work with is essentially a sole proprietor.  The other 39 brokers in his or her company are concentrating on their own business.  They may get a commission incentive for in-house sales, but they aren’t worrying about how to sell their colleague’s listings.  They’ve got their own to think about.
So it’s all about how good the broker you work with is, not how big and loud their company is.
How many closings did your broker have last year? How many of his listings sold last year?  How long has she been a Realtor?  In Summit County?  How much did your broker spend on their business last year?  How much of your broker’s business comes from past buyer and seller referrals?  How much continuing education and what professional designations has your broker achieved?
A full-time professional Realtor should be selling at least 12 to 15 properties a year.  The majority of those sales should be their listings whether sold by them or another broker.  Listings are the key to a successful real estate career because they generate the referrals and future business.  And your broker should have a system in place and people to run it that make the process as easy and stress-free for you as possible.
Believe me, the top producer at Big Time Brokers has her own staff, essentially runs her own office and pays for all of it.  And gives part of every commission to Big Time for the privilege. That’s why top producers eventually go on their own.  They’re doing it all and paying for it all anyway.
You are choosing a person to work with, not a company. Your broker is the one who will do the job, not Gigantic Big Time Millennium Real Estate Company.
So just tune out the noise and go find a seasoned  pro.

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