I was at a party a couple of weeks ago. A friend of mine, who has been very helpful to my business over time, made the comment that too many real estate agents just want to list property without actually "doing anything". That is a common perception about our business. It got me to reflect on what it is that good agents actually do.
The first thing that everyone should realize is that marketing usually includes listing, but listing does not necessarily include marketing. That is where the main problem lies, but it goes deeper than that. Too many agents spend all there time merchandising themselves, rather than merchandising real estate. What other business do you know of where the practitioner puts a picture of himself/herself on their business card? I sometimes wonder why anyone would put a picture of their daughter on their card, and then claim they don't try to deceive their clients.
So you call an agent to list your home, you decide the price on your own, and the agent gets you to sign a listing agreement. Then everyone waits by the phone. Praying doesn't hurt either.
In fact, the most important thing good agents should do is become knowledgeable about their market and dispense their opinions. If they tell you the property is perfect and your price is perfect, make them prove it, particularly in the current market environment. It is crucial that both parties ask each other questions. The agent should find out about you, your situation, and your property. You should find out what the exact plan is to market your property, and if the agent doesn't emphasize the internet, keep looking. You don't have to listen to your agent if they tell you your property is overpriced in this market and can prove it; that is unless you want to sell it. If you "really don't have to sell", perhaps the agent can bring some people over that really don't want to buy, and you can have tea. It may not be the best idea to select your agent based on how pleasant or good looking they are if they cannot provide value to you. Value translates to knowledgeable opinions (even if you don't like them) and innovative marketing.
Speaking of the internet, it was widely held that real estate agents would go the way of travel agents. Both were gatekeepers of information until the internet was invented by Al Gore. Real estate had exclusive access to multiple listings, and travel companies had exclusive access to airline booking. Those were the days when many agents truly did do nothing but secure the listing and wait for the phone to ring. However, real estate is much more complicated than finding out where someone wants to go and how much they are willing to pay. Despite the best efforts of some, the internet actually became a valuable tool used by 82% of all buyers prior finding a real estate agent. By comparison, I do not believe you want Legalzoom.com to defend you in court, but you no longer have to have an attorney to write a will or power of attorney.
With all that said, take a moment to look around our community at the people who are still grinding it out in real estate. There were over 100,000 people who entered Georgia real estate during this decade. Most failed because they had no plan and no realistic expectation of what they were supposed to do, nor were they willing to learn. They signed listings with all their relatives and friends, picked the low hanging fruit, and made good money for doing very little or nothing. The low hanging fruit is gone for now, but like all cycles it will someday return. When that happens, remember all the real estate professionals who are working harder than ever lately. Right now they are earning your future business. Or you can trust your most valuable asset to your cousin Bubbles because she used to do cartwheels in school.
Ron Barnes can be reached at 678-520-6648 or email@example.com. Prudential Georgia Realty is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential FinancialCompany. Equal Housing Opportunity. Statistics are taken from Trendgraphics.