Should the Real Estate Agent’s Face Be on the For Sale Sign?

Not all, but many real estate agents put their smiling face on the For Sale sign they put up in the yard when they represent a home owner in the sale of their home. I see this most often with the national brokerages, such as ReMax and Keller Williams, and less so with small, independent brokerages. And the question I want an answer to is why?

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Normally, when you want to sell a product, you try to entice prospective buyers with a beautiful photograph of the product itself. You know, to whet their appetite. Today, most home buyers start their home search on the internet where they can easily get an idea of a home’s interior with the posted photographs. But, there are still plenty of home shoppers who drive around searching for homes the old fashioned way: by looking for For Sale signs. Why else would you put up a For Sale sign?

It seems to me that if a real estate agent really wanted to take advantage of every marketing opportunity they had when selling someone’s home, rather than put their picture on the For Sale sign, they would put a gorgeous interior picture of the home instead. You know, to whet their appetite. But I guess that is the point.

When an agent puts their image on the For Sale sign they are communicating loud and clear what they are really selling with that For Sale sign: themselves. Because of the crazy way the real estate industry is structured, where almost no real estate agents are actual employees, and are therefore perpetually unemployed, they always have to be on the lookout for their next customer. And what better way to do that than with a nice portrait of themselves on a For Sale sign. I cannot think of another profession that so blatantly self-promotes with their own mugshots. Have you ever seen plumber’s face advertised anywhere?

If you want to know why real estate agents often rank low in consumer surveys, this is why. It is not that they make their self-promotion a top priority. Is it that they say that they don’t. If you tell me that I am your top priority, then put a damn picture of my home on the For Sale sign and not a picture of you. Or, just be honest about it. Tell me that because of the crazy nature of the real estate industry, you always have to be promoting yourself, and while you promise to give me 100% effort when helping me sell my home, you will also use that opportunity to advertise yourself. I can handle that.

I still wait for the day in the real estate industry when honesty and transparency rule the day. Where consumers are not treated like acquiescing buffoons, but rather as equal partners in the home selling process. But until that day arrives, check out ReaListing for tips on saving money when you sell your home.

To learn how to keep more or your hard-earned equity when you sell your home, check out The Intelligent Home Seller eBook and The Intelligent Home Seller eCourse.

A Little Secret About Selecting a Real Estate Agent Most Home Sellers Don’t Know

When it comes to choosing a real estate agent to sell your home, you basically have two choices. You can choose an agent who works for one of the well-known national brokerages like Century 21 and ReMax, or you can choose one who works for a local, independent brokerage. Some of these local brokerages are just a one person shop.

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Now, if you are like most home sellers, you will opt for an agent who works for one of the big, national chains. You probably like the vague feeling of comfort you get seeing a recognizable corporate logo on the agent’s business card. And you probably assume there is some marketing advantage to using one of these big companies. But you would be making a terrible mistake that could cost you thousands of dollars.

Let me tell you how the real estate industry works. When a person first decides to become a real estate agent, they know nothing about selling real estate, they know nothing about marketing themselves and they generally have very little money. That is where the big, national brokerages come in. They cater to neophyte agents. They provide them with a desk, a telephone, business cards and sales training. In exchanges for all these goodies, the brokerage takes 50% (or more) of any commission the new agent makes from the sale of a home. (This money grab creates a perverse twist of logic in which the broker would rather you list your home with one of their less experienced agents because the broker makes more money.)

Over time some of these neophyte agents become excellent, experienced agents. They are good at selling homes, they are good at marketing themselves and they no longer need the brand recognition or all of the goodies provided by the national chains. And they sure as heck do not need their broker taking a big chunk of their commission. So, what do some of these excellent agents do? They strike out on their own—either by themselves or with a small, independent company. Being an independent allows them to keep more (or all) of their commission.

The little secret home sellers should know is that when you choose an agent at an independent brokerage, you are almost guaranteed to be getting an excellent, experienced agent. While working with one at the national brokerages you are far more likely to get an inexperienced agent. But there is an even better reason to work with an independent agent.

You are far more likely to negotiate a lower commission with an independent agent for two reasons. First, no matter how low a commission you offer to an independent agent, they have the option to accept it. Second, because their broker is not taking a big chunk of their commission, they can afford to reduce their rate and still do very well.

In general, agents at the national brokerages do not have the luxury of accepting a negotiated commission. Even though a new agent could really benefit from taking a listing, any listing, at any commission, even a negotiated commission, their broker will not allow them to accept it. The national brokers are more concerned about protecting their commission structure than they are about the financial and professional well being of one of their agents. They are counting on sellers who are willing to pay more for an inferior product because of their name. But you do not have to play that game.

The bottom line: you can get a better, more experience agent at a lower commission by going with a local, independent brokerage. You just may have to deal with an unrecognizable logo.

To see how ReaListing helps you find local, independent agents, click here.

To learn how to keep more or your hard-earned equity when you sell your home, check out The Intelligent Home Seller eBook and The Intelligent Home Seller eCourse.