Home Selling in 07866>Question Details

Charles Henry, Other/Just Looking in Morris County, NJ

Is there really a difference between real estate firms?

Asked by Charles Henry, Morris County, NJ Fri Oct 1, 2010

I am thinking of selling my home and would like to know what the difference is between real estate companies. I see a lot of Weicert signs and Caldwell Banker looks good too. My friends said I should call Exit, but don't know who they are. Very confussed, is a real estate company really that important? How about Century 21 they have been around the longest I think? Help

Help the community by answering this question:


Ok Charles you have had some 20 plus comments on your question. In summary, company is important but not as important as agent. Agent is important but an experienced agent is more important. The bottom line is do your research before you hire someone. Ask friends, ask neighbors, interview different agents from different companies and choose the agent who has experience, a supportive management team behind them and a company that will supplement the agent in their marketing and market presence. Good luck.

I bet you are surprised at how little local comments were offered. As in any business only a few are true professionals and I have found that most of the Trulia participants really "know their stuff". Choose any of these people and I am sure you will be in good hands.. Good Luck wishing you success!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 2, 2010
Hi Charles, there certainly is - but in the end it has much more to do with the agent you hire rather than the firm she is associates herself with. This assumes that the firm is supporting the agent in maximizing the exposure of your listing, most especially online where the today's buyers are shopping. You'll get this with most firms today - but do incorporate questions related to exposure in your interview with finalists.

But remember this, the firm is not going to sell you home, the agent is ~ it is all about the agent you hire. A great agent that is supported and inspired by her broker is an amazing thing. A mediocre agent that hangs her license with a powerhouse firm is - well - just a mediocre agent.

This is a great place to begin your search for agents - visit the Find a Pro section to start - identify those that impress you - read their profiles, read their client testimonials, invite them in and interview them. Ask for references and talk to them. My suggestion is to use the interview as an opportunity to get a sense of their market, inventory and pricing knowledge, analytic skills, strength of marketing plan, with a particular emphasis on online reach. Commitment to service, responsivenss, communication, be specific and look for specific plans, commitments, deliverables and measureables...in short effort and accountability. Look for results not just listing volume. When I sit down with sellers I volunteer that while there are plenty of agents that have a larger listing portfolio, but there are few that outsell me. Your goal is not to "list" it is to "sell", so see past the heavy listers and find the agent that will get the job done for you.

All of this, all of it, is at the agent level.

Please, Do NOT just walk into or call an office and give your business to whomever is sitting at the desk/answers the phone. Also, although it may seem obvious, be sure to ask the agent if she is full time or part time - this is no market, nor is the sale of your largest asset an assignment for a part-timer.

"The Agent you choose really does make a difference!" ... make no mistake about it!

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Hi Charles,

Good question and a lot of very quick responses.

The so called “big companies,” corporate owned companies make no difference. The fact that they advertise the brand name is good, but on a local level it is not going to hold as much weight.

You should direct your due diligence to agents in your area that advertise and sell homes. Find an agent that has success that he/she can show you in front of you, including recent advertising, internet and personal marketing. Ask for a copy of each ad and internet connection that your home will be a part of, where and when.

Your focus should be on a full time agent that brings in results, the honest answer is the key… not the answer that will get your listing. Price your home correctly and work with the agent that can show you the results. If the agent shows up with a book of sales from 1987 through 2009.. Smile, get through it and move on.

Good Luck
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
A real estate company isn't anywhere near as important as the Realtor you hire.

Interview a few Realtors before you decide.
Web Reference: http://www.golftobeach.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
The company name is not nearly as important as the individual agent. Interview several, ask friends for referrals and then decide which one has the best marketing plan. What really matters is who is going to get your home sold and help you to achieve your goals. Having said that, there is a big difference between the way companies allow their agents to market your home. Be sure they are more interested in marketing your home than they are in marketing their company and brand.

Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 2, 2010
See if you can find out who has historically sold the most in your town. While a company relationship is important, nothing is more important than the agent/client relationship.
Interview several agents to see what the marketing plan is, how long they have been in business, that they work full time, what is their average list to sold price, etc. Make sure you like the person because you'll be working with them very closely.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
I know there are many answers to this question, but I can tell you from dealing with many realtors, that those attached to BIG companies give you more bang for the buck. Their companies (not the specific realtory) do TONS of advertising, have a web site presence on countless web sites and, frequently, even "insider" information regarding when a big company is moving employees in or out of the area.

I would go with the one of the BIG companies in your area, then ask around for the best individual reps in your regions.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
There is a huge difference. Mainly because of how offices and companies are managed. Regardless of company, how an office is run and the agents working there reflect the true difference between offices. Within the same company you could have offices that are better than others. It is no different then any other company/restaurant where some offices and/or locations are better than others. As always, you should evaluate the advice of people you trust and compare the companies(more importantly, agents) to see who will suit you best. As an EXIT broker with my own office, it is nice to see that people are saying good things about us. If there is anything I could do to help you further, please let me know. Always happy to help anyway I can no matter whose services you choose. Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
There is very much a difference between various real estate firms. Here in NYC, companies are known withing the business for having varying reputations, good and bad, and for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, it is the individual agent's efforts that truly matter, but you do want a company with significant marketing ability (think big company) and a great reputation. Definitely interview 2-3 and see who you click with. Also do not look to save a little on commission. That usually means they cut corners on marketing or just don't have the ability to give you the most exposure through the best marketing. A cheaper commission could cost you much more in lower sale price due to insufficient exposure.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010

This is a difference between real estate brokers AND real estate agents. Just because one broker's sign may all around doesn't always make them the best and same goes for an agent. You should interview several agents from several different brokers and then decide who provides the best service broker/agent and narrow it down from there. My best service I don't mean the highest listing price because you don't want to overprice your house nor do you want to list with the lowest commission unless of course all other services are comparable. You need to do your due diligence in choosing an agent. Your trusting someone with your biggest asset, do you really want to use just anyone?

Big brokers aren't always better nor are mom and pop offices. Its about service. Decide what's best for you and your home. Compare different agents based on marketing, price, personality, availability, and other factors.

Its a big decision, do your homework and research. I'd be happy to discuss our marketing program with you.

Good luck.

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Lattimer Realty
973-715-1158 cell
973-575-6353 ext 17
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Thats a great question! The real estate brokerage provides the marketing tools, which are all pretty much the same, mainly internet marketing. The real estate agent is the one that will be providing the service to you. Choosing a realtor that has the local market knowledge, has worked as a full time realtor in the area is someone that you are comfortable working with. Real estate commission are likely important to you also, I am my own Broker and can provide you with great service as well as competitive rates.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 26, 2012
Charles Henry,

There is certainly a difference between real estate firms. It sounds like to me that you are looking to find the best way to sell your home. For that, you could look at this at two levels.

Real Estate Firm. Most firms are independent franchises. The owning broker has a strong influence on how his agents operate. For instance, my owner broker is a by the book guy so his agents dot the i's and cross the t's. We don't cut corners.

Real Estate Agent. Many others here have answered that the real estate agent matters a lot. They are right. You need to find an agent who you think will give you the service you want. You also want to consider hiring a Realtor®, which is an agent that a member of the National Association of Realtors and took an oath to uphold a Code of Ethics.

Interview a couple of real estate agents and I think you'll quickly learn what you like in your agent.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Looks to be a consensus - it is the agent that makes the difference. Watch for differences in presentation when you interview agents from differents firms - some will stress company, company, company and very little about agent effort/impact and your property/home search. Others will be the opposite and the focus will be on you and the skills/experience of the agent. Since most companies will provide a similar level of company-specific support, my advice is to focus on the agents that put you and your property/your home search first.

Good luck to you!
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
A Boutique Agency could be described as a firm that has between 5 and 30 agents. Recently a number of small firms have gone out of business, and some large firms have changed their names and downsized. But there are some smaller firms that are still surviving, and even thriving, in the current market. The reason is their reputation, history, and established client base. That combined with advances in technology, low overhead, and a personalized managerial style allow this small firm an advantage over the larger franchises. In uncertain markets clients and customers lean toward well-established firms that have survived tough times. Most sellers are looking for a firm that demonstrates stability and a hands on broker. Sales agents are jumping ship at many big companies where there is a lot of dead weight, anonymity, and your on your own attitude. They find solace at boutique companies due to more training, guidance, and broker access. Buyers and sellers also realize boutique agencies allow the same access to peruse everything that's on the market.
Web Reference: http://www.clovelake.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
In truth all the major real estate firms are good and provide the services you need (they are all successful at selling their clients’ houses). The difference between firms has less to do with you the consumer and more to do with how their agents are paid, who pays for what (company or agent) and management issues. Your decision should not be based on which company to use, but on which agent to use (irrespective of the company). The agent is the one most responsible for the quality of the marketing effort, price negotiations, and doing everything necessary to insure a deal closes. Good agents can be found in every company and a good agent makes the difference. I am the owner of EXIT Realty Gold Service in Mountain Lakes, NJ (Morris County) and we have many good agents myself included. I have previously worked for Weichert, Coldwell Banker and ReMax throught my career. Of course being loyal to my company I would like you to use us, but it is in your best interest to interview a number of agents and select one based on who you believe will do the best job, will do the most to market your home, has a good track record for marketing homes in your area (selling quickly and at good prices) and is someone you can trust. Especially check out their current listings for the number and quality of their photos, and use of virtual tours. Photos are the number #1 type of information buyers look for on the Internet in New Jersey to decide what homes they want to see and virtual tours are #2.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
There is not a lot of difference between real estate firms, but there is a lot of difference between the agents at these firms.

Some firms have extra fees that are titled many different things, but your overall exposure is going to depend more on your individual listing agent. An experienced agent willing to spend time and money is going to be a better agent (in most cases) than someone not putting in the time or money at a bigger more well known company. It all depends on the individual. When buyers are looking in the MLS, they often don't even look at who listed the property, because they don't care. If the home is priced right and appealing to them, they will take notice regardless of what company listed it.

Seeing a lot of signs is an indication of listing properties, but not necessarily getting them sold. It only costs you time to interview a few agents from different companies, and that is the route I would go in figuring out which direction to take.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Hey Charles, In my opinion, I think people hire people and not companies. You want to make absolutely sure that the agent whom you are dealing with is a good match for you. After all, they will be handling one of the largest transactions that you will deal with in your lifetime. The last thing that you want is to have a clash of personalities and it can and does happen. Knowledge of real estate, knowledge of the area, years in the business, personal referrals are important as well. Designations such as ABR - Acredited Buyers Agent, CRS - Certified Residential Specialist, GRI - Graduate of the Realtors Institute, CSA - Certified Site Agent. Addditionally a Broker has to attend more classes and take a different exam than Realtors do.

That being said, the agent's company is important to help the agent be successful. A successful company will have a huge internet presence so that they can capture the market for both sellers and buyers. There is a website that you can use to check the company that you are thinking about using to see how their website measures up to the competition. I have left a link for you.

Once you have chosen a couple of agents, check the website of their companies. In a world which is dominated by the internet, it is important that the agent you choose is affiliated with a company which is on the front lines.

Brenda Feria
Real Living Eudailey Real Estate VA
Real Living at the Beach SC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Hi Charles,

In reality, there is not much difference between the major agencies. They all offer the same basic level of service. The difference lies in the individual agent. A real estate agent is basically a "business within a business". Meaning that the agent affiliates with the brokerage, but basically runs their business on an individual basis. Including things like deciding on advertising, Internet exposure, open house schedules, targeted promotions, etc.

Some agents will spend a lot of their own time and money in getting your home sold. Other agents will give you whatever the brokerage gives them, and will not spend their own money to get the job done.

That is why it is important to interview each agent individually. Even if it comes down to 2 agents in the same firm, it is 2 separate interviews and 2 separate "businesses" that you are considering for the job.

Experience is also key, as is "full time" status. There are many new agents, and many agents who work "part time". Under no circumstances should you hire an agent who is part time, and you really do not want to use a rookie either.

So, I would pretty much ignore the agency and target my effort on finding the best individual agent. The agent spends the money and makes the decisions. And a good agent who runs their business well and will do a good job for you may be associated with any agency big or small.

Good luck!


Marc Paolella
Relocation Director/Appraiser
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
Coolest map-based home search: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Yes, Each office offers a different specialized service.
Dan Spitale
McColly Real Estate
Schererville Indiana
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
There is Absolutely a difference in companies. Some Brokers run a wonderful firm and others only care about the Bottom line. More important... is the Agent whom you hire to sell (probrably your Biggest investment) Your home... That being said,, I would not just look for a Good Agent,,But Both a good agent who is working at a good office, because a good agent is only as good as the firm behind him or her.
Also I wouldnt look for the cheapest agent in town because they are usually cutting out some of the services which you will most likely need to get the Best Price and Terms you deserve...You also must be realistic with your Realtor as far as Pricing your home properly to sell fast and for Top Dollar...Force him or her to go too high and you could be on the market for a Long time and have several price reductions leading to a far lesser bottom line than what you should have or could have gotten.You should Not only interview several Realtors, but when you have your short list ready, you should interview All of their Brokers and of course check their references. I would start with friends and family members to see if they were happy with their Realtor.....If you are ever in my area please look me up or google me and call if you wish, I would be happy to speak with you............... Sam Hrono
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Hi Charles, I just edited my answer because I had a typo I wanted to correct, so apoligies for popping off and on - but I do hope my response is helpful to you. This is such an important decision, you are wise to take the time to evaluate agents and select the one that suits you best.

Do that and I have every confidence that you will succeed - best of luck to you!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavring Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Hi Charles
The best way to select a real estate company is to interview a few different companies & ask to see their office sales production in your area. Just because they have a lot of for sale signs up doesn't mean they are getting homes sold. Ask to see thier marketing plan for your home, expected time to sell ,& choose the agent you feel most comfortable with that you feel will get the job done.Good luck with your move!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
The most important thing is a real good agent who has a proven track record in your area. If you have this, everything else falls in to place. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Agree with everyone. You want to go with a company that has a presence in the area you are looking to buy or sell. You also want to ask about the internet exposure, experience of agent, marketing programs etc. Also agent training is so important. Years ago agents answered phones, opened doors and the deal was done. Now knowledge of the local market, number of homes on the market, under contract and sold. I work for Weichert and hands down we have the best training programs for new and experienced agents. You want to have someone who has the knowledge and experience to get the job done. Also regardless of who you go with, if you do not price your home correctly it will not matter which agent you have. Good Luck!!

Denise Gueterman Weichert Realtors 142 Main Street Chester, NJ 07930
908-303-2472 Cell 908-879-7010 Office denisegueterman@hotmail.com EMAIL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Hi Charles,
Great Question! One that we agents face all the time
There is a big difference in Agents, and in Companies!
As my colleagues say, interview a few agents and let us explain why we are different and of course why we each think we are the best.
I'm with Weichert and would like to show you why we sell more in Morris Co. than any other Company.
Best of luck to you,
Murph Plishtin
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
There is a huge difference between firms for both buying and selling a property. Excellent & qualified agents work for all of them but each also has it's "not so good" agents, some agents specialize in short sales, other condo units, and still others in the senior market. You need to know what best fits you for your needs. JustJerseyRealEstate.com is a concierge service who match buyers and sellers with real estate professionals all of the state of New Jersey. We have prescreened and qualified every one of our Realtor partners from many different brands. If you'd like us to refer some agents to you (from different brands) I'd be happy to speak with you. You can read more about us at http://www.justjerseyrealestate.com. There is absolutely no cost or contract to use our service and our Realtor partners pay no fee to be a part of our network. They are chosen strictly on merit and excellent customer satisfaction surveys. We have many in Morris County too. Please let me know if I can help you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
There is a big difference between real estate companies! In today's market, there is an abundance of supply of homes, and a maybe less of an abundance of buyers. Once, we would say, "There is a buyer for every house." That's not so true today. So, if you are interested in selling your home, you should interview firms with an eye toward market share. A company with a dominant share of market for buyer-controlled sales will have the best ability to market your home, because they control the most buyers. Then interview individual agents to determine the level of service they provide to you. You can always ask for references, too. I wish you well!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
There is ABSOLUTELY a difference in firms. Most important is to find out how the company attracts buyers - signs and market share in your community are important, but how does the company find and respond to buyers from out of the area? What is their internet presence? etc. Interview agents from the top firms, find one you like as you will be very close to that person for a long time. Don't just choose the agent who tells you the highest number for the list price of the house - the market will determine the sale price - you need someone who will respond to the market and advise you best on pricing and negotiating. There are so many things to consider.... do your research! Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
You bet......there's a difference!

It can be decieving when going by the company's name....because a company is a national franchise doesn't necessarily mean they are the best at what they do....our recommendation is to invest some time in a little research to identify the annual sales volume for the major companies in your location. Be sure to include those that are not national names because quite often the answer to your question can be found in one of these companies.

It would be good to base your decision on solid facts and not the biggest or most recoginzed company. Your best choice may be one that is directly related to a company's share of the local RE market.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Most Definately! Unfortunately, most sellers don't find out until after their listing expires... Century21 gets my vote!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Big differences, take you time and do your research
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer