With all the technology available today agents work from their cars and home offices much of the time. A real estate office with 100 agents can be housed in a small space.
Which real estate company should you choose? Real estate companies do not buy or sell real estate. Most do not employ REALTORS either. We are independent contractors. We interview real estate companies and decide which one we want to work with. Choose the agent not the company.
There are excellent agents and poor agents in every company. The agent is the person that has the buyer or seller enter into a contract and the persons that sells homes. It is the agent that finds clients, but sometimes they find us first.
Most of the local real estate companies are franchises, if you read the fine print it says "independently owned and operated". After working with two real estate companies through four different offices, I have found that offices within the same company can be very different. Some are well run and others are not.
When people talk about real estate I hear statements like "did you notice XYZ company sold that house?" or "why did they choose that company?", or recently a buyer told me that he wanted to change real estate companies because he did not like the agent. Why?
The real estate companies that have the highest number of sales, also have the most agents. If the company sells more homes is it a better company? As a buyer or seller you will have little contact with the company, it is the agent that will take care of your purchase or sale. Picking a big brand company does not guarantee a great agent. Real estate companies spend a lot of resources recruiting. The success rate among new agents is low, with an average of 80% not making it through their first year.
It is the agent that pays for the signs, lock boxes, and the contracts. We pay for the newspaper ads, virtual tours and property fliers. If we make a mistake we pay for that too. Real estate companies make money by keeping a percentage of the commission that real estate agents charge. They also make money by selling various items to agents.
Some companies offer their agents better training. Training is voluntary, some agents take advantage of it others don’t. Training for agents is available through several sources, and on the internet. I teach an internet marketing/blog class through Keller Williams. My classes are open to agents from all companies, and they show up because it is the only class of it’s kind here in Minnesota. Small business owners who do not work in the real estate industry show up too.
For buyers, it does not matter which company has a home on the market, any agent can show the home and we all have the same information about it through the MLS.
My advice? Find a good agent. Ask friends, neighbors, relatives or co-workers who they worked with and if the agent did a good job, then interview a couple of the agents.