Choose the RIGHT Agent - Not the "Walmart" Agent
Personally, I don't mind Walmart. Some totally despise their business strategies of nickel and diming their suppliers while putting "Mom and Pop" stores out of business in the process... however you can't deny the fact that you probably go there a couple of times a week.
And sure, its sad to see the small stores out there leave. These Mom and Pop stores tend to add a sense of personal touch to your shopping and also foster a sense of community. However, if you were the CEO of Walmart, wouldn't you do everything in your power to seize control of as much of the market as you possibly could? Granted, you'll probably miss the personal touches, but that's hardly a large price to pay for cheap prices...right?
OK idea for laundry detergent and groceries... not so great for real estate!
What is a Walmart Agent?
You've seen him (or her). Face plastered all over billboards, seven or eight pages of listings in the real estate magazines, frequent radio ads, and a direct mailout to your home twice a month. They typically tout the fact that they are "multi-gajillion dollar producers" in their ads and love to tell you how many listings they sold last month! Perhaps its not necessarily a specific agent, but a particular Real Estate company that boasts about the fact that the have more listings than anyone else. So, you call their office, speak with one of their many assistants on their team, receive a rehearsed Power Point presentation on why they're so great, sign your name on the dotted line, and get a sign stuck in your yard. So you think, "Great! This guy (or gal or company) is the best out there!"
But in the end, is this Super Walmart Agent really working hard to sell my property?
Chances are, probably not!
Why? Because just like Walmart, these agents and companies rely on the fact that they have TONS of things for sale. They don't generally care what sells, just that something sells. These agents are typically more interested in selling themselves than selling real estate. Chances are that if your listing isn't a very expensive house, your Super Agent won't do much work to sell it.
Do the math... For a $500,000 house, your agent has the potential of bringing in $15,000 into the company (at 3% commission or twice that if he/she finds the buyer). If your house is listed at $120,000 (which is an average selling price in our area), your agent could potentially bring in around $3,600 into the company. Don't forget that the agent also has to share a portion of that commission with their company/broker! To your Super Walmart Agent, that $500,000 house is looking MUCH better. So, of course, it gets all the biggest ads, the video walkthroughs, the open houses, the Tour of Homes, etc. Your listing? Probably gets an out of focus picture or two on the MLS and a crooked For Sale sign. And since they have to cover all those expensive advertising costs, you can forget about them negotiating on that commission amount!
Sad, isn't it? Especially considering this is your most valuable asset that represents years and years of hard work, saving up, fixing up, and growing up.
Real estate is a very personal thing for most folks. People typically feel an emotional attachment to their homes, and each house is extremely unique when compared to the next. You need to make sure that your real estate agent has the time and ability to market your home in such a way that is as unique as your house is. You've got to have someone there that answers your calls personally, that is available outside typical business hours, and is hungry enough to go the extra mile or two to make sure your house sells.
Wait... hungry enough?
Yes! Your agent is paid by commission which is only earned once the house sells. If your agent shows up in a brand new Mercedes Benz, brags about how much their last listing sold for, and loves to tell you what neighborhood they live in, chances are they aren't very hungry to sell your particular home.
What do hungry agents do?
- Hungry agents go out of their way to impress you with good service, not brag.
- Hungry agents are usually available personally everytime you need them.
- Hungry agents may not have as much marketing money, but you can bet that the marketing they do will be done with extreme detail.
- Hungry agents will go out of their way to become your best friend, because they absolutely depend on word of mouth business.
- Hungry agents work extremely hard for their pay.
My clients all know I'm not a "real estate powerhouse" and they don't see my real estate company as a "Real Estate Super Center". I don't plaster my name and face (and my dog's face) all over town, and I definitely don't have a huge portfolio of listings I'm trying to sell. However, my clients know that I work extremely hard, I am completely honest with them at all times, I am always personally available to them should they need me, and I am truly their advocate looking out for their best interests. I have a long list of happy clients whom I call personal friends of mine.
Please understand that when it comes to your home, the "Walmart" mentality isn't the best choice.
And to all you out there trying to decide which real estate agent to use...
Choose the RIGHT Agent - Not the "Walmart" Agent
Joshua B. Pettus
Home Grown Real Estate