In the process of doing my real estate job I find that very often people are confused by what we, as Realtors, do. This may be buyers, this may be sellers, and truly, I understand. There are times when I'm not completely sure that all of this is so very clear to me.
Imagine, you have a job where you assist sellers to sell their houses (we'll do buyers another day soon). You go out and look for listings or people come to you for whatever reason and you end up with listings. Part of your job is to help your sellers look realistically at the market while discussing the listing in a preliminary way, but you know what? That can backfire. If you tell a seller what their property is worth based on the last six month's of market activity, you may no longer be the Realtor they want to work with. Now that isn't true of everyone, but the numbers of sellers who would rather you tell them the same price they've pretty much put on the table....well they are the majority. It can be painful....agree to an unrealistic price in the hopes that you can continue with the seller until it is priced to meet market expectations or lose the listing. In this market it has been more and more important to price property well, otherwise everyone may be uncomfortable for a long time.
I try to provide realistic information. I try to be as fair as possible. I really wish that everyone could sell their property for exactly what they want for it and be fully compensated for every improvement....I do wish that were so. It doesn't happen like that. Just like I can't get back the couple of hundred shares of Apple I bought at 12 and sold for 16.....oh, but I wish. Also, and you read this in some of the big city newspaper real estate columns...somewhere in the equation of selling a house there should be the enjoyment and use you got out of the house factored in.....it isn't supposed to be all a big gain.....this isn't the stock market where it is just a "piece of paper" out there in the netherworld that goes up in price or goes down....there's utility in the house.....you've lived there. Okay, maybe you aren't buying it, but some sellers do and I think they are right to see that there was a timeframe that the house took care of their needs and may very well be key to some of their best experiences and memories.
Sellers are looking for an edge. They want to get ahead of the pack. They want to sell quickly. They want their very best price. All of this is reasonable, but then the market steps in and what the seller wants may not be possible. Sometimes the seller focuses on firms because they have a extra name recognition. Well imagine in the hypothetical that X agent with a sizable firm has 50 plus listings.....do you think each seller is getting a lot of attention? And realize that the same agent is also out with buyers, as well as needing to keep track of their sellers. We small guys don't have those kinds of listing numbers to deal with....with a handful of houses at most and perhaps some land (which really is a very difficult sell....and is really a waiting game, if that)....we do our best and we know all our clients names.....immediately.
Sometimes sellers would like their property in the Northern Virginia MLS (the MRIS system).....I always wonder about this. I tried putting my listings in there for a time period and spent quite a bit of extra money on the service and never got a single phone call based on having a listing in MRIS. What I explain to sellers is this....you have a listing agreement with our firm (or another local firm). We take the listing and put it in our Northern Neck MLS. It immediately is available to our local Realtors who are part of the Northern Neck Association of Realtors' MLS. These almost 200 individuals have web sites and the listing goes onto each of those web sites. Those same Realtors are the agents who have been contacted by people from all over the U.S. and sometimes the world in search of the perfect Northern Neck property. We have lists. We have prospective clients. We check the new listings daily.
Just in that first step (listing going into local MLS) you have touched upon the most likely way that you will sell your property. From that entry into MLS the listing also goes to dozens of syndicated real estate web sites. These include Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com.....and I could check the syndication page and add a whole bunch more but I won't. What this means is the listing is OUT THERE.....OUT THERE to the world. Putting it into MRIS is totally redundant. As a person in Northern Virginia who is a buyer, where would you go to look for Northern Neck listings? Would you look for web sites in the Northern Neck? Would you be interested in talking to someone who lives in the area and knows the area and can assist you with local perspective? I would expect so. Would you look in the Northern Virginia MLS for Northern Neck listings? Would you be asking a Northern Virginia Realtor about property they have never seen in an area they probably have never traveled to? Does this make better sense now?
I recently had a friend of mine tell me that she was going to use an Northern Virginia Realtor to sell her Northern Neck property. She explained to me that this Realtor had all these friends and all this access to Northern Virginia Realtors. Well there comes a point when you've told people again and again how the system works and you just say....oaky....if that's what you want to do....and let it go. What I really have found is that as a Realtor I am very important to whomever I'm working with until they get tired of what I say and decide that they know better. Everyone has the potential to be an armchair Realtor and so much as we have lots of experience and this job isn't easy....I do find that people who don't hear what they want to hear or don't get the results they want in a given time consider us either to be incapable or not really necessary. This is not an easy job. You create your day one by one and do the best that you can with the cards you are played. Recently I had a very good year selling real estate. Recently I had a very bad year selling real estate. And what was the difference? I didn't work any less hard in the year that I didn't sell that well. I worked just as hard if not harder. The chips just didn't fall right. Maybe the right properties didn't show up for my buyer clients. Maybe the person who needed to get financing to buy that property wasn't able to do so and so after spending countless hours finding the right property....the financing contingency couldn't be met. Really, imagine having a job where there are so very many many facets you can't control......I hadn't intended for this to go down this road, but I think it tells you something. Those smiling faces on those crisp printed cards are people who pay their dues...and often work really hard and can just easily not get paid as get paid. Appreciate a Realtor.....they really are working for you.