Finding the right real estate agent can be intimidating and unfamiliar territory for most home buyers and sellers. Do you go with the agent that just sold your neighbors home? Do you choose the one whose face is plastered on every bench within a 5 mile radius of your home? Or, do you lean towards the recommendation from your sister-in-law’s mom who sold her home 7 years ago? It’s normal to not want to offend anyone, but ultimately you just need to find a Realtor® who makes you feel comfortable, knows the area and will also get you the best price possible in a reasonable amount of time. Simple, right?
As you begin comparing top real estate agents, you’ll notice a theme. Gone are the days of every agent operating independently, groups of very talented agents have coalesced into powerhouse real estate teams. The National Association of Realtors® reports that 26% of Realtors® are a part of a real estate team, and many would consider becoming a part of one. We’ll analyze this trend and consider the pros and cons or working with teams and individuals.
BENEFITS OF USING A TEAM OF REALTORS®
As consumers these days – we have become accustomed to “having it all” and businesses of all types are accountable to their clients in ways that we could have never dreamed of 20 years ago. With online reviews, social media sites and message boards dictating the success of businesses across the US – every customer has a voice and we are all better for this level of accountability. A Realtor® must wear many hats, they need to be tech savvy, great with a camera, have advanced web marketing skills, they should be a capable copywriter, negotiator, organized and diligent – considerate and creative. Agents are called on to manage complex transactions and it’s rare when one individual is capable of checking every box. Teams have flourished because different members are given the ability to focus on a particular part of the job, hone their skills, and execute at a higher level. Further, the phone still gets answered by a capable member of a well-run team when the lead agent is out of town. In many ways, powerhouse teams have evolved to meet the needs of the modern home seller, who’s expectations are high and the results are expected to be top-notch.
THE DOWNSIDE TO USING A TEAM OF AGENTS
When you choose a team, you have to accept the fact that you won’t always be interfacing with the head honcho. If a team leader does not hold his partners accountable and measure their performance on a regular basis, quality can suffer and opportunities may be missed. It’s easy to hold one person accountable, but teams are different. Some teams just aren’t organized, they lack cohesive communications and aren’t as “cooperative” as they should be. In fact, sometimes members of a team may actually function independently – this conflict can cause serious problems. Teams that exist solely to prop up the perceived market share of an individual agent should be avoided completely. If the team doesn’t function as a cohesive group of specialized individuals and you are only dealing with one person – you aren’t getting the benefits of a real team. What’s more – teams are frequently formed for the sole purpose of inflating sales numbers…so make sure your “team” is truly that.
Most of the time you are not your agent’s only client. Generally, top realtors have other homes to show, market and sell as well as other buyers to assist. A team can benefit you because, when one member is unable to take your call, there is another agent available to assist you. Around the clock support is more common with a well run real estate team.
BENEFITS OF USING AN INDEPENDENT REALTOR®
When you choose to work with a solo agent – what you see is what you get. The buck stops with them…ultimately they are responsible for creating a fantastic customer experience. The agent will be 100% accountable to you during the process. Often times single agents are better equipped to handle complex transactions where they have a good working knowledge of all of the intricacies of a deal. What’s more – you can trust that their sales numbers aren’t just a bunch of puffery.
THE DOWNSIDE TO USING A SOLO AGENT
While most individual agents are ready to assist the needs of their clients at all times – we all need a break. If your agent has a vacation planned or is too busy to manage your sale, you could really suffer. Every missed phone call is a missed opportunity in real estate. Many agents may have a difficult time creating a great experience for their clients simply because of the workload they are managing. With that said, most talented agents have supportive administrative professionals to back them up. Want to test this out? Call the number on one of their listings and see if they pick up the phone or call back quickly.