Better to list with a large vs a small r.e. office?

Asked by Dave, 92691 Mon Oct 22, 2007

Would my house be more likely to sell if I listed with a big R.E. company versus with a friend in a one-man operation? I trust the friend, but I wonder if a big company would be more likely to find a buyer.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Tue Oct 23, 2007
I am an independent broker of a small company (less than 20 agents), and was formerly an associate with one of the largest companies in my region (70 in my office, thousands in the region.) I can provide substantially more for my clients today than I ever could have dreamed of before. That is not necessarily true of all small shops. Evaluate what criteria and processes effect a sale, and then determine who (company and person) is best capable of meeting the requirements.

WHAT BRINGS ABOUT THE SALE OF A PROPERTY: A property sells (or doesn’t) predicated upon the price and exposure of the property. Throughout Trulia, and “How to Sell a Property” guides, you will hear “Price, Promotion, and Condition.” Another version of the same is “Price, Presentation, and Condition.” You will also hear “Price, Product, and Promotion” taught in Marketing 101 courses across the country.

PRODUCT (THE PROPERTY): Your job, as seller, is to make the property (the product) as appealing to buyers as possible. In general, that means, sparkling clean, decluttered, and perhaps painting, staging. Your Realtor will provide specific advice and his/her judgement can be invaluable. This comes from experience and good eye and feel for the business. This is an individual trait and found in small or large shops. A large shop won’t make your property better or worse.

PRICE: Your Realtor will provide pricing opinions and advice. Ultimately, the seller sets the sale price. If a seller insists on too high of a price, a Realtor may decline the listing. An overpriced listing is easier to slide into a large shop, since it is much harder for the broker manager to monitor. A large shop, nor a small shop can sell an overpriced listing. Right pricing is a critical component to achieving a sale. The size of the brokerage firm can do nothing to compensate for an overpriced property. The market will reject it, regardless of who has the listing.

EXPOSURE: I use the term exposure over marketing, since selling a property encompasses responsibilities of both the broker/agent and the seller. The broker/agent must market to the public and to the other agents who can bring their buyers. The seller must make the home readily available, easy to show, and keep the home show ready.

WHO CAN EXPOSE (MARKET) THE PROPERTY BETTER AND WHY: Not all large shops do it better; not all small shops do it better. If exposure to the public at large was unimportant, we would not have seen the explosion of real estate data on the internet. If exposure to the 50 agents within the local office were key, the industry would not have taken the path it has over the last 5 years. As a seller, you need to be everywhere your potential buyer might be. Many buyers, whether they have an agent or not, are aggressively searching the internet. I place minimal value of how many agents are in the office of the lister. I place much more value on the listers ability to bring exposure of your property to all prospective buyers and all buyer agents out there, regardless of what company they work.

When choosing a representative to sell your property, probe extensively for their commitment and understanding of marketing your property on the internet since this is where your buyer is likely to be looking. Small shop/large shop aside.....Is your property going to be on the internet? Where? Who gets it there? How is it monitored for accuracy? (In our small shop, we maintain staff who upload listings to multiple real estate sites, monitor these daily and generate stat reports for agents to take to clients.) You also need to cross market to other brokers and agents in the community. You want the hands-on market buzz that comes from networking.

Who will do the marketing brochures, take photos, build virtual tours, and do floor plans? In our small shop, we have a trained draftsperson who draws our floor plans, a photographer who shoots our virtual tours, a marketing support staff person in our local office who creates professionally bound brochures within 1 day, and a IT/Web designer who can create a single property site within a day. (I am not in your area, and this is not a solicitation, but gives you an idea of things you can inquire about . The who, why and how of supporting your listing.)

Some large companies provide very little in terms of support for their agents. Agents sometimes do little more than rent a desk at large company and provide all of their own services to clients. There is nothing wrong with this; some agents do quite well at providing all of these services. You job in hiring is to know all will get done, and done well. My point is that a large name with a number of agents does not dictate who and where your services will originate. Choose the best for the job; large or small shop....there are great pros at both.
4 votes
Todd Sparks, Agent, 81201, CO
Thu Nov 8, 2007
Great Topic!
Ask yourself this question. Do you get better service at Wal-Mart or do you get better service at a boutique?
Sure Wal-Mart is cheap and you can even check yourself out and never talk to an employee (except the retired greeter guy) but when you decide to sell one of your biggest investments I think you owe it to yourself to get good service. Chances are that a smaller company will get the job done with great service and when you call the office your agent will be close by.
3 votes
#1, , San Francisco Bay Area
Mon Oct 22, 2007
List with the person you "feel" will represent your best interest.

Big companies are no more likely to find a buyer than a small company.

The home will sell by exposure. Exposure through the MLS and exposure through the internet.

Print ads are 99% dead. Don't coun't on this type of exposure.

Price it right and list with someone who will have your best interest at heart and be prepared to hang in there for the long run.

It's the market we are in. Big or small company doesn't matter.
3 votes
Bill Snyder, , Yuma County, CO
Wed Nov 14, 2007
2 votes
Brian Burke, Agent, Highlands Ranch, CO
Sun Nov 11, 2007
I do not think a office makes the difference. it all comes down to the Realtor and thier marketing
Web Reference:
2 votes
Ginger R., Home Seller, Massachusetts
Thu Nov 8, 2007
I don't invest my money with someone just because I know them. Your friend may be a great guy, a great friend and a lousy realtor. Friends are friends, but business is business. This is probably your largest investment. This is business.
You still should get more than one realtor to give you a proposal on listing your home. You should evaluate the proposal. Evaluate the agents' website and marketing materials. Go to some open houses and see how these realtors run them. (You are there to evaluate the realtor. If the home is comparable to yours, you might learn something there, too.)
I personally have no bias twds a large or small firm. I believe that the individual realtor is overwhelmingly the "make it or break it" point.
Recently when I evaluated realtors, I noticed that some firms did a better job with their web sites than others. That was impt to me. However, some of the larger ones, while very nicely done, had standard templates that kinda seemed all the same to me. I didn't think that would help my house stand out.. That is just one example of how I did my analysis.
You need to review this as if your friend was not your friend. If it's close, then give it to your friend becuse you are comfortable with them. But if another realtor gives you a much more professional, believable proposal, then I would give it to them. Personally, I don't care if the firm is big or small.
2 votes
Joseph Salam…, , Gnd. Jct. ,CO.
Mon Oct 22, 2007
The small real estate company---fewer than 10 salespeople---will always have a viable niche in the marketplace. The successful small company has well-trained salespeople, clients, and customers who provide repeat sales and referrals. In small shops, everybody knows the company's listed properties; in large shops, it's difficult for even the most professional person to know the details of several hundred listings. Small companies offer a level of personal service and professionalism that's unsurpassable, and I believe they'll survive and prosper in this age of consolidation. No matter how good you are, unless you have the training, tools, network, and support, you can't adequately service the sophisticated needs of today's real estate market. Just what are the advantages of the one-person shop? "personalized service" and “customer satisfaction” However, I know that brokers who are really good on their own are even better with the resources of the larger shop with 40 or less agents. A one person shop concentrates on quality and not quantity, to get the job done. In a one person shop you may possibly have limited resources and leverage depending on your involvement with peers and the community and how long you’ve been in business in your market. A larger company with a high percentage of market share may not necessarily be a ticket to a quick sale of your property. Many new agents have a tendency to be attracted to the larger entity and you may need to be aware of that. The larger company statistics are used to entice sellers to list because there are one hundred eighty agents working for you etc… This is where the 80/20 rule can be used, 20% of those agents actually have buyers/sellers and are doing the business. At any rate weighing the advantages and disadvantages are essential. I could talk about using previous friends as your broker but that wasn’t really your question. That’s another situation altogether.
2 votes
Bob Mitchell, Agent, Warren, MI
Wed Nov 14, 2007
As an agent I have problems setting up showing appointments with the smaller companies (no full time front desk person, limited hours etc...). Each agent is different so you will want to evaluate their marketing exposure.
1 vote
Brad Lowell, Agent, Fort Collins, CO
Fri Nov 9, 2007
I am a licensed real estate broker in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Big or small, if your property is on MLS (Multiple Listing Service) your home will get lots of exposure. We are a small company but offer everything the big companies offer. A good question: does your real estate agent return calls? Before you hire someone to list your home, make sure they are prompt.
1 vote
Kurt Thomas, , 81501
Tue Oct 23, 2007
Simple answer, It isnt the logo or the firms name that sells your house, it is the person that you sign the listing agreement with. That person is who you rely on for negotiating, marketing and keeping your best interests in mind.
Most brand name brokerages will hire anybody with a license. It doesnt cost them money and only increases the likleyhood that they will take a cut of another agents money.
There are great agents in large and small firms, but I am only suggesting you base your decisions on the person you are doing business with, not the logo next to the name.
1 vote
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Mon Oct 22, 2007
Reviewing your profile it appears that your home is already listed.
Let me ask you: Who manages your investments? A large stock brokerage or a small one?
Who helps you with your taxes? Sole proprietor or big company CPA firm?

You probably know the answer but just want confirmation, right?
You don't hire an "office". You hire a person, hopefully a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors for starters.

Second you hire someone who has a marketing plan, and shows you how they are not only going to implement it, but how they are going to keep you in the loop.

Third, you hired someone that has proven negotiation skills.
According to the 2007 CAR Buyer survey, over 85% of buyers first saw the home they purchased with a how well your Realtor markets to other Realtors is key.

In a nutshell, you hire a person, not a company...regardless of what you see on TV. Just to make my point (and toot my own horn),. Keller Williams spends ZERO dollars and nationa advertising, yet was ranked FIFTH in consumer awareness. Is it a coincidence that we are also FIFTH in size...and the fastest growing RE company?

No, it's not.

Consumers (CAR stats prove this), don't care about your Realtor's affiliation. Because they are hiring a person, not a company. So any size company is fine....
Visit,. go to press releases......
Good Luck!
Web Reference:
1 vote
Pam Winterba…, Agent, Danville, VA
Mon Oct 22, 2007
I would like with the professional that would be albe to best market and sell my home. A small company sometimes does not have the resources and financial backing. A large company if you do not have an experienced agent, your property can just sit.

My suggestion would be to interview three Realtors (your friend being one of them) to determine what they will do to get your property sold, their track record of sales and who you feel comfortable with. Do not select a Realtor based on their price or commission. Good luck.
1 vote
Cyrus Green, Agent, Fort Collins, CO
Thu Feb 21, 2008
I'd trust the friend, regardless of what company he's with.

Also, a bigger brokerage does not mean a better one.
0 votes
Chris Gempel…, , Breckenridge, CO
Wed Feb 20, 2008
The Big office does not equal Better. Often times the smaller office will work just as hard if not harder top get your property sold. Good Luck!
0 votes
Edite Lawren…, Agent, Longmont, CO
Wed Feb 13, 2008
Larger office will give you a larger current buyer database. Make sure to ask for a detailed marketing plan, compare your options and choose the agent and company who can get you the most exposure.
0 votes
Brian Burke, Agent, Highlands Ranch, CO
Wed Dec 26, 2007
Are you still looking for a realtor? Use your friend if they are good! the office does not make a difference.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Richard M. J…, , Sherman Oaks, CA
Tue Oct 23, 2007
Hi Dave, ask yourself this question... If something goes wrong in the transaction, is it worth me losing my friend over it? If yes, then hire the Big company. If no, hire your friend and discout the commission.
0 votes
Perry Hender…, Agent, Austin, TX
Mon Oct 22, 2007
Try looking at the company that has the most investors. Then make themcall right now and get them to drop offers at the "discount rate". When you get those back, treat them as a plan b and then list with the realtor who brought you the plan b.

Try to get the best price first and then if your needs change, then go to plan b.
0 votes
Dena Parker…, , Tennessee
Mon Oct 22, 2007
It really depends. Your friend might work insanely hard to survive and provide a niche as a little fish in the big pond, but then again, as a one man show, does he have enough focused time for you? I don't know. A bigger company, by default, does usually have access to more buyers, but really, if you're priced right and the condition of your home is superb, then you should be pulled in the search that any agent from any company runs. My own personal questions and caution with a smaller company would be: Do they have the resources to make your listing a priority? Are they equipped to give your home the maximum exposure? How? (Some buyers will contact an agent on a home because of their sign - they see them everywhere and recognize they are market leaders... )What kind of marketing plan do they have to create exposure to your home and what is their level of professionalism with print, signage, etc? How good is their research of the comparative market in helping you determine the right price? Have them bring a CMA and look at the numbers and research behind their recommendation. Does your friend get potential buyer traffic to their website? How often do they put themselves in a learning environment? It sounds like a crazy question, but larger companies are constantly pouring over agents with new training information about the market and trends, more and more training - no matter what your level, etc. They have the constant opportunity to grow and become a better agent. If your friend started in the business 30 years ago and still does everything the exact same way...I'd want someone a little more in tune with the market changes. If you're comfortable with his answers with all those questions then he's probably a good fit for you. I would interview both and ask the same questions to both because even at large companies there are both agents who are strategic and run a business and those who don't. So after interviewing both, pick the one you feel most comfortable.
Web Reference:
0 votes
ian cockburn, Agent, New Orleans, LA
Mon Oct 22, 2007
Get your friend's marketing plan...if he/she is hungry they may be more aggressive at selling than a large company
Web Reference:
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more