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 doesnâ€™t) predicated upon the price and exposure of the property. Throughout Trulia, and â€œHow to Sell a Propertyâ€ guides, you will hear â€œPrice, Promotion, and Condition.â€ Another version of the same is â€œPrice, Presentation, and Condition.â€ You will also hear â€œPrice, Product, and Promotionâ€ 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 wonâ€™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.