What do green beans have to do with real estate? Just like green beans, there are many brands of real estate agents. When is a can of green beans not ordinary?
Everyone has seen the declarations on various real estate websites: premier agent (courtesy of Zillow), preferred agent and #1 agent for so-in-so.
Let’s tackle the easy one first; #1 agent for so-in-so.
There are a lot of #1 agents in the valley. I could say I am the #1 agent for individuals who own parrots. A far-flung statement, I know, but I would bet most readers don’t get past #1 agent. I would be playing the odds and “betting with the house.”
During the 2006-2012 timeframe, lots of claims came forth. Many agents would call themselves #1, however, all they listed were foreclosers, and there were thousands of those. These agents didn’t speak with customers, only financial institutions and buyer’s agents; very cut-and-dry with little interaction.
Then there is the agent claiming to get a seller the best price. The issue that I see is that agents and even the MLS, show sales price compared to the latest listing price instead of the original listing price. (One has to perform some research to find the latter.) Price reductions get removed from the equation. Initiate enough price reductions, and any agent can boast 100% or better results. So an agent will “buy a listing” by quoting an inflated asking price knowing they will request a price reduction from the seller later in the sales cycle without penalty from reporting systems.
Premier agent and preferred agent
These two agents are spent from the same clothe. The difference is the process and monies involved.
Preferred agents pay a nominal fee ( perhaps a few hundred dollars) to join the “club.” As an example, agents can pay USAA a fee to become a preferred agent for an area. The requirement is that you have a real estate license in good standing. So, the USAA representative will tell their customer how great a particular agent may be, all the while not knowing the agent from Adam. Great for the agent, but dubious for the customer.
And of course, the big daddy is Zillow’s premier agent. Agents become a premier agent by paying Zillow the right to be displayed on property searches for a specific zip code. Depending on the zip code, the yearly cost can be tens of thousands of dollars. Some agents find this marketing very successful, while others not so much. 70% of Zillow’s revenue comes from premier agents ads. See the report here.
Let’s face it, defining a quality agent is subjective, like selecting your favorite can of green beans. (See, we did get to the title.) All the different brands are green beans, but there is something that makes a person purchase one above all others. Generally, it is either perceived quality or cost. This same reasoning also applies when selecting an agent.
I know agents that close few deals a year in comparison to others. These same agent’s service is as good or better, providing quality care for their clients. And some choose to work with few clients due to a lifestyle choice.
I have a difficult time marketing myself, however, marketing another’s house is easy in comparison. I am always disappointed by any photo taken of me: either look too old, not thin enough or my face too washed out (have to limit sun exposure due to skin cancer.) But finding attributes of one’s home and presenting to the public, not difficult at all.
Money becomes an issue as to whether an agent can market themselves as a premier or preferred agent. It cost to be on those playgrounds. The opportunity to spend on marketing oneself is boundless.
The bottom line, don’t believe all the adjectives. Trust your gut as to whether an agent can get the job done. They don’t need to be your best friend, just competent.