You might be thinking that a larger, more well known real estate firm is the better choice.
After all, they must have more buyers and resources to market your home, right? The brokerage firm itself may be more visible but what really matters is the agent you choose. It is true, larger brokerage firms have more resources for more print advertising. They can advertise your home in newspapers and magazines where your home will be a small, single photo ad in a sea of other homes. The odds are slim that the buyer of your home will come from a print ad these days. Over 90% of home buyers start their search on the Internet and many of them search for homes on the MLS web site or one of the many real estate web sites where every listing is featured equally, regardless of firm size or name. Over 85% of the homes sold in NH in the past two years were sold by an agent other than the listing agent. In fact, the 15% of homes that were sold by the listing agent, took an extra 37 days to sell and sold for 2.6% less. So what does that say about individual agent’s print marketing?
So if a large firm doesn’t have an advantage with print advertising, then surely they must have an edge when it comes to Internet marketing. Not really. Because of listing syndication provided by our local MLS, EVERY property listing can be syndicated to multiple real estate web sites like REALTOR.com, Trulia, Zillow and Yahoo! Real Estate. And since 90% of home buyers start their search on the Internet, no one has a secret stash of home buyers who they can control what listings they see.
What is more important than the size, location or name of a brokerage firm is the individual agent themselves. Each agent had a unique background, skill set, and business model. Their approach to property marketing is different as well. Most agents have come from previous industries where they were sales people or held other, similar positions. Many were not marketers and very few came from the Internet industry. Why is this? Well for one, the Internet is still a relatively young industry. The average age of today’s REALTOR is 53 years old. They have been working far more years without the Internet vs. with it. Second, because the Internet industry is still young and rapidly evolving, people who are experts in things like online marketing, search engine optimization, and social media are not getting laid off and looking for a new career in say, real estate.
Most agents will only market your home using resources that are either paid for by their brokerage firm or are little or no cost to them. Why is this? Don’t they want to sell your home so they can get paid? The typical agent wants to see if the low cost methods will ‘work’ first. This way if a buyer comes along before they have to spend their money on advertising, then they don’t have to pay that expense.