"I'm #1!"-- Being the #1 agent means what exactly?

Real Estate Agent with Kaminsky Real Estate Group/Shorewood Realtors

Have you ever seen this line in a newspaper or website? “I’m the #1 agent!” or “Hire me, I am # 1!” Did you also happen to notice that line on almost every page of the Real Estate section?  Heck, I myself am guilty of using the term myself and I am not alone.  Unfortunately, it is probably one of the most over used description an agent can use in trying to promote their skill.

Naturally, the assumption is that sellers desire to hire the best in the business. So naturally, if an agent has ever achieved #1 at anything they should let you know about it. The fun part is reading the fine print, if they are brave enough to publish it. If they were, it would read something like this: “#1 agent …in my office for the month of April 2011.” What is missing from the fine print may be that there are 10 agents total in their office, and no one else was lucky enough to sell a home in April 2011. Let me be clear that I’m not saying that it’s wrong to publish one’s achievements, but as a seller it is important to find out more about the agent’s long term track record in the market, and not judge too quickly based on one line in a newspaper.  I'm #1

So when does an agent’s ranking have any personal effect on you as a seller or buyer? Let’s say that you are a buyer: what is important to you? Most buyers want to find a great home at huge value and they want to be the first to know about it. They also want to be guided professionally, receive regular communication from their agent and get educated answers to all of their questions. They want to be represented by a great negotiator. They want help with the mountain of paperwork, inspections and closing procedures. Buyers shouldn’t have to spend their time comparing the awards and accolades of many agents; they should really only have to worry about having confidence  and peace of mind that they are working with someone who can handle all of the above efficiently and without costly mistakes.

Likewise, sellers feel much of the same. They want their home sold in an expedient manner. They want it sold for as much money possible with as few obstacles and hassles as possible. They need a strong negotiator. They want to know that their home is being promoted properly and to all of the best buyers possible. They want guidance and they want the truth.  

When choosing a Real Estate agent, selecting one with considerable experience can certainly curtail the many challenges that buyers and sellers are bound to face. Experience is the best training tool in any business. If you haven’t gone through a negative experience in the past, it is difficult to recognize avoid it when it is headed your way.

As mentioned earlier, I myself have laid claim to the popular “#1” line. Let me share my fine print . . . Last year I was ranked #1 at Shorewood Realtors. I received this award in recognition of the number of homes I had sold in 2010. Shorewood Realtors is a company that typically has between 400 and 450 licensed agents. What’s interesting is that I have been ranked #2 nearly every year since I joined the company back in the early 1990’s. Being a competitive person, it was a fun experience to finally pass up the #1 salesperson, however the #2 salesperson for 2010 had sold a higher total dollar volume, so effectively, they can claim that they were #1.  Do you see how variable these “#1” terms can be?

The bottom line is that what matters most as an agent is how well you take care of your client, not where you rank. That reason alone is why, almost 24 years ago, I elected to take the team approach to servicing my clients.  With a strong team of professionals in place I am able to meet or even beat the expectations of our clients no matter if we are representing some of the most elite clients, such as athletes and executives, or negotiating for builders and investors, or helping a new buyer with their first condo purchase.

Read what my clients say about how my team and I successfully help them achieve their real estate goals by visiting EdsHappyClients.com.



Comments (29)

J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

As a guy who trades on his production I see the term used all too often. There are so many variables- most transactions, highest dollar volume, measuring against agents in your town, your office, your county, it is enough to make consumers dizzy. 

Sep 20, 2011 10:00 AM
Nick Smith
Jpar Live Local - Boise, ID
Boise Idaho Real Estate, We Love Boise

Well my Mom says that i am the #1 agent. lol. Thanks for your blog post.

Sep 20, 2011 10:34 AM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired
Hi Ed There is a new wind blowing in sales The customer doesn't care if you are number one Probably they never did Phil
Sep 20, 2011 11:23 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Focusing on where we rank misses the point...it's not about us, it's about them, our customers.  A better indicator of the true value of a real estate professional in the transaction would be from reviewing consumer answers to questions about:  how accurately and professionally we represent their interests and respond in a timely fashion to their concerns. 

Sep 20, 2011 11:29 AM
Ed Kaminsky
Kaminsky Real Estate Group/Shorewood Realtors - Manhattan Beach, CA
Ed Kaminsky

If your Mom says you are #1 then i say its ok to print, who knows better than mom?

Sep 20, 2011 11:29 AM
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

All the client cares about is "can you sell my home". That's number "1" in their minds.

Sep 20, 2011 01:01 PM
Robert Hammerstein -
Christie's International Real Estate - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate


We did a post like this years ago because it's so true in our area as well that there are so many number one agents that it's pretty laughable.  Guess it's good for the many number ones that they believe they are number one but I have to agree with Lola's comment that we need to put the focus on the consumer.

Sep 20, 2011 01:05 PM
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

A misleading real estate statistic. What is this world coming to ;-)

Sep 20, 2011 02:28 PM
Maria Morton
Platinum Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Ed, I looked up the number 1 agent in Kansas City on MLS. She may take a lot of listings but about 50% expire unsold. I looked up a few more top agents and their stats were basically the same.

Sep 20, 2011 02:44 PM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Ed -- I always have to laugh at a brokerage in the area who advertises itself at #1.  Well they have about 1,000+ agents in our small state of CT.  So I guess they're #1 in number of agents.  I never pay any attention to it unless it is can be somehow totally qualified and with all the different quantifiers, that is pretty difficult.

Sep 20, 2011 02:48 PM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Some Realtors are #1 in claiming they are #1.

How about a Realtor who had 1 listing in 2009 but 5 listings in 2010? Is that a 500% growth rate? Wow, he must be #1 in growth rate.

Sep 20, 2011 02:53 PM
Ed Kaminsky
Kaminsky Real Estate Group/Shorewood Realtors - Manhattan Beach, CA
Ed Kaminsky

Maria, expired listings are very costly. By the way Matt Cassel is a client of mine I really hope the Chiefs can turn things around over there.

Sep 20, 2011 02:54 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

You raise a lot of good points here.  The concern of the potential seller is that you make THEM #1

Sep 20, 2011 03:14 PM
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


The #1 position is just as crazy in Canada. The local newspaper has  numerous agents asserting that claim.


Sep 20, 2011 03:39 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Ed - How you treat your clients is certainly more important than your rank though that could reflect experience.

Sep 20, 2011 03:47 PM
Charlie Dresen
The Group, Inc - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

Well, I work darn hard and I've got a great business . . . and I'm #1 in my kids eyes. 

Sep 20, 2011 05:01 PM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Ed, I like the way you think and and agree with you totally. But do the prospects that read these boasts get it? Or do they think that the #1 will sell their house?

Sep 21, 2011 04:49 AM
Ed Kaminsky
Kaminsky Real Estate Group/Shorewood Realtors - Manhattan Beach, CA
Ed Kaminsky

Sally, thats a good question and part of the reason for this post to let the world to start to understand the difference.

Sep 21, 2011 05:04 AM
Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan - Morristown, NJ
Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ

My kids think I am the no. agent in the world.  That will have to be good enough until I really get to be no. 1 in some kind of actual real estate category.

Sep 21, 2011 05:39 AM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Think the advertising yourself as #1 is bound to lead to trouble and if you don't include the small print you could find yourself in a lot of hot water with advertising rules from the Code of Ethics.

Sep 21, 2011 06:47 AM