Does the Real Estate Brokerage Matter to the Home Buyer / Seller?
Sum folks think Brokerage doesn’t matter 2 the public. I disagree. If it didn’t this letter would NOT have been written
That Tweet links to this great letter from a real estate client to a broker at Avery-Hess Realtors in Maryland, Virginia, Metro DC and West Virginia ”“ What Really Matters in Real Estate.
And Avery-Hess is absolutely right ”“ this letter from a very satisfied client exemplifies what really matters in real estate.
I don’t know anyone at Avery-Hess, but I would love to meet them as they appear to share a philosophy with Thompson’s Realty ”“ that being hire the right agents who live and breathe the right values and will provide superior customer service to their clients. This probably sounds stunningly obvious to the real estate buyer or seller out there. After all, real estate sales is a service-based business so isn’t customer service of paramount importance?
Of course it is. Yet the traditional real estate brokerage has a propensity to hire anyone that walks in the door. I call it the “hire anyone with a license and a pulse” brokerage model.
And it’s a ridiculous practice that is killing the real estate sales industry.
We’ve turned down “top producing” real estate agents that have inquired about working at our brokerage. One even argued extensively with me that, “I had to hire him”.
Uhm, no. I don’t. I hire people that share my passion for customer service and real estate. Period, end of story. Treat clients like a number, focus on nothing but “closing the deal” and you can go work somewhere else, no matter how much revenue you generate.
The above mini-rant about brokerage models has a purpose
Someone has read this far and said, “For the love of Pete man, answer the freaking question already!” Does the real estate brokerage matter to the real estate “consumer” ”“ the home buyer and/or seller?
My short answer is no, the brokerage doesn’t matter to the vast majority of home buyers and sellers.
Don’t get me wrong, the brokerage matters. It’s the brokerage that does (or more often does not) the upfront leg work in hiring the right kind of agents. It’s the brokerage that makes sure their agents have what they need to ensure a great client experience. Or at least that’s what the brokerage should be doing. Avery-Hess is doing it. We are doing it. We are not alone, though sadly it seems like we are in the minority.
But the consumer (generally) doesn’t care what brokerage their agent works for. Heck, often they don’t even know what the brokerage is, or understand the broker’s and brokerages role in the process. It is my contention that the vast majority of real estate buyers and sellers chose the agent, not the agent’s brokerage, to represent them. That belief is substantiated in many ways”¦
Cases in point:
- Countless times in my past as an agent in a Century 21 franchise office, I would meet a client (note, a client, not a prospect) for the first time face-to-face and I’d hand them a business card only to be met with, “Oh, you’re with Century 21?”What does that tell you? It tells me the client didn’t care who I worked for.
- In just over two years as an independent brokerage we’ve had a grand total of 2 clients ask if they would be at a disadvantage because we are a small independent as opposed to a large national franchise brokerage. Once we explained our value proposition, both were more than satisfied. (Of note, there is no way to know how many, if any, have never called on us because we are small and independent.)
- The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Michael McClure wrote a great piece on this which included a graphic from the NAR report that showed only 3% of home buyers and sellers chose an agent based on the brokerage they were associated with.
- Keller Williams, themselves one of the largest national real estate brands published an (undated) white paper that stated:
Nevertheless, the largest real estate firms continue to hold to their position that brand will influence the customer “at the kitchen table.” That is, when presented with the choice between one agent or another, the customer will choose the agent representing the better-known company. NAR’s research directly contradicts this claim (my emphasis).
Let’s look closer at the very letter to the broker that Marc Davison and Avery-Hess themselves claim demonstrates it is the brokerage that matters:
Sheila, upon first meeting, was professional and approachable. She understood our situation and did an exceptional job of nurturing a well balanced relationship with us throughout the term of our lease.
Sheila’s professionalism continued through out the house search”¦
Sheila gets all of the credit for us finding a solid move-in-ready home”¦
I didn’t even think about writing to you, Mr. Hess, until at closing one of the seller’s agents said in jest that I should write you”¦
Shelia was professional and approachable, not Avery-Hess Realtors. She, not her broker, understood the client’s situation. Shelia, not the brokerage, gets all the credit. The client “didn’t even think about writing” to the broker.
Don’t get me wrong here. Shelia sounds like a wonderful agent. If she ever relocates to Phoenix, she’s got a job here. Avery-Hess sounds like a great brokerage. They vet their agents and obviously don’t subscribe to the hire anyone with a license and pulse brokerage model. Kudo’s to them for having the vision, sticking to it, and hiring the kind of agent that helps spread that vision. They helped deliver the agent to the client, but they had little to do with the client selecting that agent.
You see, this client, like the vast majority of real estate buyers and sellers out there, didn’t pick Avery-Hess the brokerage to represent them. They didn’t pick David Hess, the Vice-president to represent them. They picked Shelia Carney. And they loved her. I’ll bet you any amount of money you’d like that should Shelia Carney change brokerages, the client that wrote that letter will call Shelia, not the brokerage, to represent her again. I bet you she will tell her family and friends that ask for an agent reference, “Use Shelia Carney, she’s amazing!” not, “Call Avery-Hess” ”“ no matter how amazing they are.
That client could give a flip who Shelia works for. They chose an amazing agent, not an amazing brokerage, to represent them.