SHOCKING STUDY OF SELLERS' WAYS OF PICKING THEIR AGENT

By
Real Estate Agent with Bill Cherry, Realtor 0124242

UPDATE, June 2, 2010:   5,931 have read this blog since it was posted.

The April 2010 issue of "Texas Realtor" shows interesting results of a new survey of home sellers.

  • 62% of home sellers only interviewed one agent before listing their home.
  • 19% of home sellers talked to three agents before they selected one
  • 22% were more interested in determining the list price that would make their home competitive than any other service a listing agent would provide.
  • 1% thought professional designations were important when picking their agent.  The other 99% didn't see the value to be of consequence.
  • 3% found/picked their agent by walking in or calling a real estate office and speaking to the agent who had floor duty at the time they called.

I don't know the size of the sample and I don't know how respondents were picked.  Nevertheless, I suspect the trends are valid, and several are shocking.

You have to wonder why our Realtor designations carry so little weight.  CPA means something special when you're trying to pick a tax accountant.  Board Certified Trial Attorney seems to indicate you might have a better chance if you're going to end up in court. 

So why would the majority of the public feel that the representation they would get from a real estate agent will probably not be improved by his education?

And why would far more than half of the potential home sellers only interview one agent before contracting with them to list their home?

I would suggest that the 3% who just walked in the door of the nearest agency and took pot luck choosing the agent who was on floor time duty had no less of a chance of getting the best representation available than the 62% who only interviewed one agent, or the 99% who didn't see how an agent's formal real estate education and the resulting certification was worth considering.

BILL CHERRY, REALTORS

DALLAS - PARK CITIES

Since 1964

214 503-8563

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Re-Blogged 7 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jason Killam 04/04/2010 07:40 PM
  2. Harry F. D'Elia 04/05/2010 02:09 AM
  3. Harry F. D'Elia 04/05/2010 02:10 AM
  4. Billy Andrew 04/05/2010 03:00 AM
  5. Joseph J. Chang 04/05/2010 04:37 AM
  6. Sandy McAlpine 04/06/2010 01:33 AM
  7. Dave Woodson 04/06/2010 03:31 AM
  8. Susan Morrison 04/18/2010 08:41 AM
Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
Texas
Groups:
The Art Of Marketing You
All Thing's Texas
Dallas Real Estate
Everything is Bigger in Texas
Advice for Sellers
Tags:
texas realtor
how to pick a realtor
seller survey

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Rainer
25,587
PHIL MCGREEVY
Chesapeake, VA

Hi Fred,

I did put a 'smiley face' after my statement and admitted I am entertained by similar observations from my own perceptions BUT I also find my own self importance and lack of humility just as funny and a weakness in itself.[There wasn't one thing you said I have not said or thought myself at one time or another]

You did write this;

"You've noticed that shallow reasoning permiates every aspect of our society.  I bet you spend untold hours trying to explain very fundamental aspects of marketing"

"Often, I struggle with Clients indecision, absence of analytical skills, and inclination to major in the minors."

ect.

Maybe I should have said you insinuated? Shallow, ignorant, indifferent and or oblivious to reality:)

 

PHIL

Apr 09, 2010 01:27 AM #203
Rainer
59,416
Amy Nakos
Your Castle Summit - Frisco, CO

I don't find the study too surprising.  The public thinks the letters behind our names are alphabet soup - only other real estate professionals know what they mean.  I find that the fact that I'm an attorney helps people to trust my skills, but that's because the public knows I worked very hard for 3 years in school to get that degree, then pass the bar, then keep an active license.

I also have my GRI and CLHMS, and I finished those designations to learn and to hopefully attract more clients.  Not ONCE has anyone ever asked about these desingations!  But almost every person says, "Oh, you're a lawyer!"  The public just doesn't know or care about real estate designations.

 

Apr 09, 2010 04:29 AM #204
Rainmaker
323,215
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Hi Chris,

Chris, I do not make more than a fireman, but I don't think a fireman makes near enough for what he does each day he goes to work.  He literally lays his life on the line for stranges! 

Have you ever had an opportunity to go to a fire hall and spend time with these guys?  They are amazing pieces of God's handiwork.  I've seen them stop what they are doing to give a child undivided attention, turn and help a stranded motorist, cook a meal that rivals "grandma's", and drop everything when the horn sounds--race out the door and not know what awaits...  They deserve to make more than I do!!!  I feel the same about our military, our policemen, and our school teachers.  Honestly, I don't live for money, and I don't measure a man's worth by the size of his wallet.

As for the professional athlete, he pays more in taxes than I make--he spends more in tips than I make--I don't begrudge him one penny.  My point wasn't about what someone makes--it was about where people place their priorities.  A few years back, a tornado hit the east side of Nashville [not the high-rent district by any means], and Tennessee Titans, Eddie George, Steve McNair, et al were out helping people remove the debris... When Katrina hit New Orleans, Steve McNair ponied up a lot of money and influence to get help to those folks... I liked their priorities...our city loves those guys.  Having said that, I don't think a guy running up and down a field, throwing a ball, or knocking someone to the ground is worth millions to me.  Pay him if you want to.

Only in America, "land of the Free and the Brave" do people have more invested in a designer purse or a set of mag wheels than they have in their savings account.  Now tell me what designation covers that.  The one that comes to my mind is "Duh!"

I just hope when I'm in trouble that someone with "EMT", or "COP" is there doing what they do best.  To me, they earn my "MVP."

Have a great day, and thanks for the input.

 

Apr 09, 2010 07:12 PM #205
Rainmaker
323,215
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Hey Phil,

I appreciate your taking time to respond.  There is a lot of truth in what you say, and your response reflects the same amusement I have in people.  I'm sort of like the guy who smacks his hand to his head and says, "I could have had a V-8!"  Many times in my life, I've looked back at something I've said or done, and marveled at either (1) it's a wonder I'm still alive, or (2) "What was I thinking?", or (3) "I don't believe I just did that!"  That is all I was intending in my comments about people who hire the first realty agent they meet--it doesn't surprise me, but it doesn't serve them well.

Phil, as my children grew, I often told them of the familiar refrain: "Don't do as I do, do as I say."  I tried to point out to them that I had made some stupid decisions--generally from not taking time to weigh my options.  Now, as a Senior, I see so much more than once I did.  Like what you said about perceptions, I'm often reminded of the words of Robert Burns, when he said, "O the gift he gee, to see ourselves as others see us..." 

Do you remember the story of Jacob & Esau?  Esaus sold his birthright for a bowl of porrage.  That is my genuine fear for our generation, and those that come after: lack of discipline, lack of patience, lack of planning...see where my thoughts go?

I love people, I hurt for those that suffer from their own foolishness, and hiring the first agent is merely a symptom of this terminal illness.  I take pride and joy in the success of others--I find no pleasure in their failures, their struggles.  I think it is one of the strong pulls that Active Rain has--people HERE DO CARE, and try to HELP!  You didn't let my remarks go because you cared, and thought I harboured ill toward those of whom I spoke.  No, it is Alarm...

Respectfully,

 

Fred Cope

Apr 09, 2010 07:50 PM #206
Anonymous
Brian Silvernail

I believe that NAR, MAR and the local MLS systems create no value and frankly do nothing but restrict trade and make you pay fees to help support their running non-profit organizations that for years have done nothing more than waste millions on their "annointed" web sites, etc.  Remember how they made us all use IPIX at the very beginning?  

One of the main problems is that if a person is a people person, a good salesperson, they sell a lot of homes.  Legally we can lend legal advice, we can't give accounting advice, we can't give any advice that they can rely on, or we shouldn't anyway or often times we get sued because we try to help out and it backfires.

How do you teach selling and being a servant / people person?  I don't care how many letters you put behind someone's name, I don't have but just a couple minor designations, I'm in the commercial sales business and I've sold much more than most of the CCIM's and SIOR's despite their "education" and "fraternal" relationships.

The reason 62% of people choose the first person they meet is because that first person is a GOOD SALESPERSON.  What is wrong with that?  Of course you'll always have a poor choice that way once in a while, but by in large, good salespeople sell themselves.  

Do we now want to try to get the MLS systems, REALTORS and our entire group of associations to start talking bad about people that they meet for the first time and try to get them to not hire that people person but hire someone with "designations" behind their name?  Most people with designations spend more time trying to tell customers what they know instead of who they know and how they can communication and work with a team to accomplish their goals.

A big differnce between us and CPA's and Attorneys etc. is that we really don't need to know much to SELL.  We need to know lots of people, meet many more, and have a team of professionals, starting with a good title officer, attorney, accountant, inspectors, environmental people etc. that we can bring in and answer the tough questions, review what we are doing and stop trying to learn everything and spend more time working on meeting people and putting more deals together.  

Once we have a good team in place that is willing to help and guide you and you treat them well by paying them a part of your commission instead of going to a month long class to learn what that CPA or attorney or whatever else we need advice for!  NETWORK! MEET PEOPLE. DON'T CLAIM TO KNOW ANYTHING BUT HOW TO MEET AND GET ALONG WITH PEOPLE and tell them you have great team of professionals that help you with the difficult or hidden things and go meet more people!

Yes its sad when realtors do something wrong or get somebody in trouble or do a bad job.  This mainly happens to people that don't have a team to handle that for them so they have time to sell.  I literally tell people sometimes that I don't know anything as a joke, which they don't believe, because my actions and experience and the number of deals I've put together and the things I've seen in real estate have made me know a lot.  Even though I do, I still say I don't.

It reminds me of long ago when I sold new cars at a large Chevy dealership.  The first few months I made a killing.  Top salesman of the dealership first month out of the blocks.  They I thought I needed to understand the business more, how I was doing it, why my manager told me the deal to present to the prospect, what the bottom line invoice was and what I would make at certain numbers, etc.  Within 6 months I was at the bottom because I was so smart.  The problem?  I tried to know to much and forgot about depending upon my team....manager, F&I person, receptionist, everyone involved in the sales experience to do their part.

So, the moral of the story is don't try to learn too much in this business and often times the best salespeople either have that personality and connections to put a good team around them, and some just don't and never will no matter how many designations they have.

The last thing we should start to do is make the attempt at monopolizing this business and testricting trade therein by trying to say people need to deal with those with more designations.  Just be yourself, depend upon a great team, including your broker, and go get em!

Apr 10, 2010 11:52 AM #207
Ambassador
574,414
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California) - Campbell, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Great stuff!  The info you generated seems to be what is coming!

Apr 12, 2010 12:07 PM #208
Rainer
4,425
Rose Vasilakis
Future Home Realty - Hudson, FL

I would think the 62% was including friends, family and referrals.

Apr 13, 2010 09:01 AM #209
Rainmaker
193,731
Lyn Sims and the Blog Dog
Streamwood, Elgin IL Real Estate - RE/MAX Suburban - Bartlett, IL

Interesting.  I always thought the same of all our designations that we spew. It is good for further education, etc. and serving our clients better but drop all the initials. Evidently John Q Public doesn't care. The 'crap shoot' on floor duty sounds scary but it happens everyday doesn't it?  Where's the blogging statistics?

Apr 18, 2010 08:56 AM #210
Rainmaker
121,535
Bob Krus
Keller Williams Foothills Realty - Evergreen, CO
What About Bob? For All Your Real Estate Needs!

The only reason to advertise the initials is to get other realtors to consider you for a referral. General public doesn't know or care about it.

Apr 19, 2010 06:57 AM #211
Rainer
391,827
Gary Swanson
Century 21 Harris & Taylor - Grants Pass, OR

Great post.  I'm rather new to the real estate business and have been trying to decide which designations would be best for me. 

Apr 19, 2010 05:10 PM #212
Rainmaker
393,606
BILL CHERRY
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

Gary --

Welcome! 

I suspect that most agents with or without their own designations would say that the GRI would be the first one to pick.  Unless my memory is going south, it's the granddaddy of Realtor designations; therefore the one most widely recognized as well as the one that gives Realtors the broadest education.

Good luck!

Apr 20, 2010 12:41 AM #213
Rainer
146,975
Gary Pike
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Powder Springs, GA

Having spent a lot of time and money going after designations I would say they don't mean much in sum but used as individual marketing pieces they are beneficial.  However, I have been to some of these designation classes that it is obvious they mean nothing because they teach nothing.

Should the NAR promote our designations to the public.  Sure why not.  Ask a CPA a tax question and most, if being honest, don't have a clue about it because they don't specialize in tax, however, the public perception is the desigantion gives them the knowledge.

Apr 21, 2010 12:29 AM #214
Rainmaker
393,606
BILL CHERRY
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

Eric, good thoughts.  However, with so many new people in the business -- those who haven't been around more than 5 years, I wonder how there is enough business for them to get by?  After all, repeat business should be almost nonexistent for them.

Apr 23, 2010 02:13 PM #215
Rainmaker
393,606
BILL CHERRY
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

Thanks to all of you who contrubuted your thoughts.

What is interesting to me is how the public has been bamboozled into thinking that our profession requires so little expertise that a sales person's license and a famous franchise that lets you rent a resk pretty much levels the playing field with those of us who have successfully been in this business for years.

Apr 24, 2010 09:30 AM #216
Rainmaker
273,670
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Most of the public could care less about our designations. They also seem to think that the company makes a difference.They really just fall for the best sales pitch.

May 19, 2010 05:04 PM #217
Rainmaker
393,606
BILL CHERRY
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

Tigard, I pretty much see it as you do. 

Dallas real estate legend, Ebby Halliday, is nearing 100-years old.  She still goes to work every day, and is a great contributor to the success of her business, even though she's approaching a zillion.  We've been friends for nearly 50 years, and I am a GREAT admirer of hers.

However, isn't it rather paradoxical that a prospective buyer or seller will pick an agent, regardless of their personal knowledge and expertise, because his/her license is sponsored by the Ebby broker (who, by the way, isn't Ebby Halliday at all, but someone who works for her)?

In real life, people should totally ignore the Name on the Door, and pick their agent based on his/her experience, expertise and the measures of his/her past successes.

In my example, Ebby Halliday is never going to make any contribution whatsoever to assuring that your agent is adequately qualified to represent you.  Even further down this chain are Re/Max, Keller-Williams and the like, who, in the main, primarily rent office space to agents.

May 22, 2010 01:23 AM #218
Rainer
135,682
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL
www.professionalinvestorsguild.com

Wow, don't tell my local association that designations don't matter!  They would curl into a fetal position and cry themselves to sleep.  I don't have any designations, and have done very well for myself in Real Estate.  However, my local board makes out like you'll never sell a house if you don't have 15 letters listed after your name on your business card.  Hogwash!

Sep 20, 2010 07:08 AM #219
Rainmaker
393,606
BILL CHERRY
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

Matt --  I'm in that group of people who think education is way up there on the Top List.

That being said, it is totally suspect to me that the NAR doesn't require any additional education or training past state licensing and a course and update in Realtor Ethics.

So in my view, if they thought it were important 1) it would be a requirement and 2) part of the members' dues.

That brings me to believe that the courses for designations, etc. are nothing more than profit centers for those that teach and award them.

If you're doing well in your business, it would be difficult to offer valid rational as to why you need one or more designations.

Sep 20, 2010 07:43 AM #220
Rainmaker
108,925
Linda DeRusha
Coldwell Banker Advantage - Garner, NC
Broker/Realtor, ABR,ASP,CDPE

Thank you for the post---some pretty intersting statistics. The one that caught my attention was how few people walk in or call an office to list their home. Makes me wonder why am I taking floor duty?

Sep 21, 2010 03:14 PM #221
Rainmaker
393,606
BILL CHERRY
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

Linda, floor duty lost almost 100% of its value when agents began putting riders on the signs that gave their direct phone number.  It used to be OK to put a rider listing the agent's name, but the office phone number was the only one that could be shown.

Consequently, when people responded to the sign, and the listing agent wasn't available, the floor duty agent would take and develop the call.

I have always thought this change to be very short sighted on the part of management.  Successful floor duty is important to the development of new agents.

Sep 21, 2010 06:10 PM #222
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