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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Listing Whores--You Know Who They are

For the life of me I have never understood why someone would want to use the same Realtor as everyone else. There are about seven listings whores in Key West whose names are well known and who get the majority of the real estate listings. (I'll make nice and call them "stars" instead of whores, but you get the point.) Hence, they get a very good percentage of all the real estate sales in Key West. Success begets success.

But what goes into a seller's mental process that makes him think his star Realtor will be more likely to find a buyer for the old homestead than someone else?

Ask yourself how many listings a star Realtor can effectively service at any one time. After all it takes more than getting a listing agreement signed, placing a sign on the property, entering the listing information onto the mls website, taking photos of the property or arranging to have them taken, creating ad layouts for the newspaper and magazines, and showing the property to "service" a listing. You may agree with that premise, but you may still think that star Realtors have assistants to take care of all the "busy" work, so that all the star has to do is show your property to his buyers and the deal is done.

It doesn't happen like that. It did not happen that way when the market rocked, and it certainly does not work that way now that we are in decline. Realtors have to work at selling a listing. They contact prospects and market property to people who have expressed interest in a specific type of property. They conduct Open Houses. (Schedule it with the owner and maybe tenants; run an ad; place signs around the area; sit and show the home; discuss the results with the owner. That is probably 4-5 hours of time. A Realtor will also put the property on Realtor Caravan (showings just for other Realtors). That doesn't sound so onerous you say. Well, it isn't. But if you multiply all those individual tasks by lets say 20 or 30 or more, you can see how the time of a star Realtor and all of his assistants is spread a little thin. Maybe a lot thin.

I checked to see the number of residential listings a couple of the "star" Realtors had. One person had 77 and most were high-end listings. Other Realtors in the same office had 30 to 60 residential listings each. Again, most of those listings were high-end properties.

I can tell you by experience that if you go to a very good lawyer's office with a case that is dear to you and that may take his or her time to handle that the lawyer will either turn your case over to an associate or refer you to some other attorney. It is professionally irresponsible to take on a case when you do not have the time to devote to it or the expertise to handle it. Realtors like to say that they are "professionals". Shouldn't your Realtor be held to a similar standard and handle only the number of listings that he or she can effectively service at one time.

A lot of people may know a star Realtor by name. They think the star Realtor has a lot of "buyers" in his pocket. Heck, he has pocket listings so he must have pocket buyers as well. That is why he is such a success, a star. Some buyers think that their particular property is so special that only a star Realtor can list their special property. I wrote an item on Home Ego-Nomics CLICK HERE. Read it. It is fun and so true.

If a star Realtor has lots of buyers, why would he steer his buyers towards one particular property over another? Let's say that star Realtor has has 20 single family homes in Old Town in good locations that are priced between $1.5 to $2 million. If you are the Seller what makes you think a star Realtor is going to bring you a buyer over any other similarly priced and located listing?

I have mentioned that I am a licensed Colorado attorney but not licensed in Florida. I remember when I was practicing law and had a case against some young lawyer with one case. Lawyers with one client can make your life hell if you have two or more clients. Or 60. They have nothing better to do than be really good at that one case. Maybe even "win" it. I think that analogy can transfer over to listing and selling real estate. Of course, the Realtor with only a few listings has to really work the listings to be effective.

Here is another real life example: There is a large Old Town property in a good location that has been on the market for over 2.5 years. It was listed with 3 different Realtors until another agent in our office got the listing a couple of months back. He did the drill that I mentioned above. Then he went out and found a buyer for it. He had the property under contract to a local buyer within the first month. He listed the property at the same price they had it listed. He sold it. Within the first month.

If you are thinking of selling your home or business please consider using a Realtor that can devote the time and attention to selling your individual property.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.