Is it better to find an agent in a big corporate company, or an independent firm?

Asked by Julian, Seattle, WA Thu Jul 19, 2007

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Jennifer Mon…, Agent, Charlotte, NC
Thu Jul 19, 2007
BEST ANSWER
Hi Julian,

I'm certain you can find an excellent broker in any environment. I work with an independent firm and we are proud of our independence and feel it benefits everyone if we don't have a national headquarters dictating our priorities. We also keep the dollars in the local economy.

But again, you should find the broker that you feel good about working alongside. You'll be spending a lot of time together!
2 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Thu Jul 19, 2007
Are you buying or selling? The following discusses points related to selling.

When you interview prospective agents, discuss and gain an understanding of who will play what role in marketing and promotion of your property.

In some real estate business models, the agent is paid the lion’s share, or even all of the commission on their side of a transaction. The agent may pay a desk rental, small transaction or franchise fee to the broker. In this business model, even if it is a big name brokerage, the agent will be the person who is responsible for signs, lockboxes, advertising, brochures, mailings, etc. In this case, even if it is a big brokerage, you have a higher reliance upon the agent for delivery of services as compared to other business models. Some agents in this type of brokerage arrangement maintain assistants, work in teams, and others are function as a well run one person army personally and individually handling all details. You can gain terrific results from working with an experienced and dedicated agent who works for a brokerage operating this type of business model.

In contrast, other agents work in business arrangements where their split of commission is divided with the brokerage firm. In exchange for a slice of that commission, the company takes on a more hands-on role in the support role of what happens in the marketing and promotion of the property. The company may order all printing, mailing, advertising, provide signage, promotional tools, etc. You will find both big name brokerage firms, as well as independents who function under this business model. You can gain terrific results from working with an experienced and dedicated agent who works in this type of business model.

When interviewing prospective agents, gain an understanding of who will play what role and who will carry which responsibilities in the representation of your property. Evaluate your confidence in the ability for each to deliver.

You can achieve your best results from a hard working, knowledgeable, committed agent. Such agents will align themselves in the business model that personally provides the best platform for them to service their clients. Different eagles soar in different skies.

Deborah Madey - Broker
Peninsula Realty Group, Inc.
New Jersey
(732) 530-7755
Deborah@PeninsulaFirst.com
Web Reference:  http://PeninsulaFirst.com
2 votes
Jon Sterling, , Aspen, CO
Fri Jul 20, 2007
I have found that consumers rarely know the company affiliation of the agents. I would ask people you know and trust to recommend a good real estate agent. You will get names of people, not companies. Those people are the ones you should contact. Happy hunting!
1 vote
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2007
Agents are virtually self employed, as a client you contract with them to perform a specific set of services to obtain a particular result that you describe to them (i.e. your list price) Your contract is technically with the broker who supervises the agent. That supervision mainly consists of checking to see if all standard documents have been initialed and signed, and to promote compliance with real estate laws. Logos, national and local brand awareness, printed materials, advertising, even corporatewebsites, are just window dressing.nice to have but not necessary for the job.
Web Reference:  http://www.metrolistmls.com
1 vote
Michael Chri…, , Las Vegas, NV
Thu Jul 19, 2007
Hello Julian,
I have worked for the largest real estate company in Las Vegas, and now I work for one of the smallest. With every company I have worked for I paid for the MLS, flyers, newspaper ad, postcards, and web sites for every listing. You really have to interview the agent and see what they will do for you. The most inportant thing is to make sure you like the agent and feel good about how they will assist you. Sometimes a big name can help, sometimes it can hurt.
Good luck in your search.
1 vote
Linette Carr…, Agent, Wilmington, DE
Thu Jul 19, 2007
When looking for an agent, you will find that a really good company can still have a bad agent and a really good agent can work for a company that doesn't have a good reputation. That is why it is important to interview the agent and ask for references. If an agent has served his or her clients well the former clients will be more than happy to discuss their experience with you.
1 vote
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2007
Big or Small - Who you feel comfortable with and trust is the key in this equation. I have had both - and worked out quite well for me: each from a large city and a rural township.

It's the same as any other transaction - you have to know the facts as much as you can and believe the person presenting their side. Hope you find the one that works well with you and when you do - during the process when things get hectic:

Try to remember why you hired the person in the first place. It will get you through the tough times.
1 vote
Robert Kroon, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Thu Jul 19, 2007
Hello Jujlian -

I'll give you the same answer I gave someone else yesterday on a slightly different version of the question.

You didn't say whether you are buying or selling but in my mind the following will work well fo either.

Interview several realtors, 3 at least, possibly 4....some from larger organizations....some from smaller. If they don't want to sit down discuss your needs and objectves with you....cross them off the list and proceed.

Develop a list of questions. What is your marketing plan to sell a home ? How would you go about finding a home for me ? How will you communicate with me and how often ? Are they new in the business or what is their experience and training. Would be just a few questions. You will know after talking with some agents, who you can feel comfortable with and will be able to work with.

Good luck !
1 vote
Steve McGuire, , New Hampshire
Thu Jul 19, 2007
Hi Julian,
The difference between some of the larger firms and smaller independent firms may be in the tools that the agents have access to. These come in to play more when trying to market a home, but that doesn't mean that a smaller firm wouldn't be a good fit for you.

I agree that you should interview agents from at least a couple of firms before actually hiring an agent. You should look for someone who has experience in the area, knows the market, the towns, etc. If selling you should review how your property will be marketed and where (the internet is now a major resource to buyers). If buying, how can you reach the agent, when can they show you properties, will they send you email updates of new listings? Will they explain the process and prepare you for those unexpected surprises?
Above all, you want to work with someone that you are comfortable with and feel you can trust to work on your behalf.
0 votes
Dave Ruwe, Agent, Grand Haven, MI
Thu Jul 19, 2007
I believe the individual agent has a greater impact for your transaction. It is nice to have some of the tools that larger companies have to offer. You have to be comfortable with the agent you deal with and you have to have mutual trust.
Web Reference:  http://www.daveruwehomes.com
0 votes
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