Are agent/broker previews effective?

Asked by Lisa, Folsom, CA Tue Aug 5, 2008

I know that agents provide a valuable service, and I don't discount their worth. However, we've decided to list our home using a flat mls fee agent, for several reasons. We've held open houses each of the 3 weekends since we listed, and have had a decent amount of foot traffic with very positive feedback. I'm now at the point where I want to market more to the agents in our area. My question: what is the best way to get the word out to local agents? Should I offer an agent preview day? If I have that added to the MLS, is that sufficient? Or should I also send mail/email to the agents in town? Any advice on marketing would be greatly appreciated.

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Todd Davis, , Tulsa, OK
Sun Oct 12, 2008
You truly get "what you pay for..." and a flat fee brokerage, is no exception.

However, you asked about having an agent/broker preview or "Broker Open"....Waste of time! Many, many agents use this in their marketing strategies, and say that it will "totally" attract the agents that have buyers. "BUNK!"

Having been a full time agent/broker for 23 years, it seems to me, the only agents that have time attend a broker's open.....have no business....and therefor have time to tour homes, without a qualified buyer in the car.

Real Estate companies might offer an "office tour", or come for a broker's lunch...all a waste of time and money. I know I'm from "back water" Oklahoma (Tulsa)...however, I cut my teeth in the Washington D.C. Area.

In 2 seconds, agents from around the country will defend broker opens... they'll say they''ve sold "all of their listings" by having broker's opens! (Out of what?...Maybe One Listing..?) I have never sold a home or had a broker open attendee bring a buyer to my listing that bought it.

I find that using the Internet to notify my fellow top producing agents about my best listings, that are in the best condition, at the best prices, and offer the highest brokerage fees...WORKS SO MUCH better. As a result: for 2 years running, my little company has averaged listings sold in 44 days - from sign up to sold!

Wish you the best of success!
1 vote
Carol Pease,…, Agent, Austin, TX
Tue Aug 5, 2008

I'm not trying to burst your bubble. I'm not in your market area but have worked in other states. I am not soliciting nor do I want your listing. Interview 4 agents from the top real estate companies in your market area. Flat fee brokers have their place in every market. There are enough posts here on both sides of that question. From what I hear the California market has tanked. I had a house to sell when Orange County went bankrupt several years ago. It was a down market but less distressed than it is now. I listed with a full service broker after checking out who was selling in that market. Yeah, I have an opinion, I would never use a flat-fee realtor. Regardless of whether you offer a generous buyer's agent commission, many agents will not show your home. We each have the right to make our own decisions regarding that issue. Hire a full-service broker and let them put the property on the agent tour. A good listing agent is going to market to the top 10% of agents in his or her market area. Those are the agents who will probably bring you a buyer. Let them do the marketing!!!

Carol Ann Pease, ABR, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI
1 vote
Lisa, Home Seller, Folsom, CA
Sun Oct 12, 2008
Thank you everyone, for your answers. I thought I'd go ahead and add my results in case anyone else was interested. We chose to keep our flat-rate broker, and we had an accepted offer in 36 days. A friend of ours, who is an agent and mortgage broker, told us it's statistically almost impossible to sell by owner, and I think that's what Keith, below, was trying to say. However, we've successfully sold our last TWO homes ourselves. How is it possible? Well, we work hard. After numerous remodel projects to create a desirable home, we de-clutter and stage it, as well as any professional would. Then we make sure we take GOOD photos (unlike the majority of the ones I see on MLS), and put as many of them online as possible. We make sure we get it as widely covered as possible by also adding ads on craigslist and other sites. We hold far more open houses than a realtor would do on our behalf (they have other clients to think of, too). Apparently, all of this has worked. Since this time we sold our home in a very tough market (Sacramento area).

As for the agent previews that I asked about, I found out that only an agent can have a home added to the tour, and they have to be at the pre-tour meeting to pitch it or it gets pulled from the list. I considered sending info the area's agents directly for my own little preview, but our house sold before I could even pursue it. How did she hear about it? Her friend came to our open house and told her she had to come see it. Though it was listed higher than she was hoping for, she came and fell in love with it.

As for the sales price vs. listing price, since neither us or our buyer had agents to pay, we deducted that 3% from the listing price and negotiated a fair price that ended up at 92.5% of the full listing price (including the 3% we figured for an agent). In this tough market, we were very pleased to come seal a good deal with a cash buyer :)

Will this be everyone's experience? Of course not. But I wanted to share ours. Thanks again for everyone's feedback.
0 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Sat Oct 11, 2008
Don't know where you are in CA< but in Marin County, we have Broker Opens that's what we do for Agent Preview.

On top of that, my company has a monthly Buy and Sell event to pitch our properties to our agents (we are the #1 company in Marin County, and we represent tons of buyers and sellers). A new service is a plug for soon to be on market property to Marin Realtors.

These are the most effective way to present to agents and brokerages. But you will have to be part of the local assocation before your property can be listed.

Certain towns in Marin uses MLS entries and others, we have to submit to the specific agent in charge of the broker open for the month; so depends on where you are.

Your flat fee agent, even though don't hold open houses, etc, really should, at a minimum, be able to give you advise on what is the best thing to do in your area!

Sylvia Barry
Marin Realtor
0 votes
Tracy Lu Gui…, Agent, Camarillo, CA
Sat Oct 11, 2008
Carol Ann down below nailed the answer. There are those agents who will go out of there way not to show a discount broker's listing. Especially now, when there is so much inventory, the buyer's agents will write on other listings in your neighborhood. Flat fee agencies historically take a bigger hit in down markets. I sold my triplex in a different county, had it listed with an area specialist and insisted on a 7% commission...My agent was extremely motivated.
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Hugo Torres, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Sat Oct 11, 2008
Sometimes, someone writes something so poignant and dead on that even I can trump it (lol). Keith, I think you hit it right on the button. Kuddos. Very proud to have you as a fellow REALTOR.
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0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Fri Oct 10, 2008
My father used to say that "confidence is the feeling you have right before you truly understand the situation".

Let me ask you: Would you hire me with your track record in real estate?

I answer this question a lot, if you want a lot of detail, you can read some of my other posts about it. I cannot tell you how many posts we get from people who opted not to "waste their money on paying a listing agent commission" and list with a MLS Entry Only Broker.

I survey the results of MLS Entry Only Broker in my MLS quarterly. The results that they achieve you should be aware:
1. Most listings are sold my Full Service brokers. In the last quarter, 1031 to 15.
Listings that ARE listed by MLS Entry only brokers fail to sell more than TWICE as often.
In the last quarter 871 listings expired, but 1031 sold. For MLS Entry Only it was 45 expired...15 sold.

2. Listings that ARE sold by MLS Entry Only Brokers sell (these are MLS Stats) 76.6% of asking price.
Full service Brokers sold at 96.6% of asking.

3. Listings with MLS Brokers take longer to sell.

So it really does not matter to me personally how or if you sell. But is should matter to you. How would you like to have your home on the market and as the market drops in value (about .7% per month in my area), your home fails to sell?

Interview three Full Service, Full Time Realtors. Compare their proposals. Then you make the call. If you are serious about selling, there is no substitute for market knowledge. We must get four questions a week about sellers wanting to know "why is my home not selling" . THAT is why you need a Realtor that knows the market. Selling a home is far more like chess than poker. Knowing your competition, what they are doing, how to respond, is only possible with market expertise. So what's funny is that they MLS Entry Only brokers don't have, is the one thing, IMHO, that you need.

Of course, they get paid whether or not your home sells. We only are paid when escrow closes. Who is motivated to get your home sold for top dollar?

If you'd like a referral of a top Realtor in your area I would be honored to give you one Realtor to obligation.
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