Searching for a Realtor (Continued)

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Why Listing Agents Advertise -- Is it What You Think?
Listing agents place ads for several reasons. First, they need to show the seller that they are doing something to sell their home. Second, by showing how much they advertise, they can also attract other individuals who are thinking of selling their homes.
They point to their ads to show their clients that they are aggressively marketing the property. When other


Why Listing Agents Advertise -- Is it What You Think?

Listing agents place ads for several reasons. First, they need to show the seller that they are doing something to sell their home. Second, by showing how much they advertise, they can also attract other individuals who are thinking of selling their homes.

They point to their ads to show their clients that they are aggressively marketing the property. When other home sellers constantly see ads from a particular Realtor, they are inclined to want to list with that Realtor, too. So even though the ads look like they are directed toward home buyers, they often have another purpose. To attract home sellers.

What sellers don’t normally realize is that a listing agent’s true marketing emphasis is directed toward other Realtors, not the general public. Their main goal is to convince the selling agents (buyer's agents) to find buyers and make offers. This is a good thing because if you are selling a home, you want as many Realtors as possible bringing buyers around to take a look. Most of a listing agent's marketing efforts toward other Realtors are invisible to the general public, but it is where an effective listing agent does a home seller the most good.

Additionally, many listing agents now have "teams." One member of the team will probably be a licensed agent who acts in the way described just below:

Selling agents (buyer's agents) do advertise homes for sale in order to attract buyers. Although the ads do market a specific property, they are mostly intended to attract buyers in general -- not a buyer for that specific property. The agent would be happy if you did buy the property you called on, but it happens so rarely that they do not expect it.

What happens when you call on a real estate ad is that you often schedule an appointment to go look at the advertised home. While you are out looking at that home, you will probably want to look at others -- so the agent will show you a few other homes, too. Eventually, you and the Realtor will zero in on what you need and like in the proper price range and you will make an offer.

That is how most buyers find their Realtor -- by "accident."

Finding and Using Your Own Realtor

Actually, the best thing for you to do when you see an advertisement in the paper is to call your own Realtor and tell them about the ad. Since addresses usually do not appear in advertisements, your Realtor will call the listing agent and find out the MLS number for the property. If the listing is on the internet, it probably already provides the MLS number.

The MLS number allows the agent to access the listing directly on the Multiple Listing Service computer. That reveals a lot more information than what is available to you on the web.

The house may turn out to be a great home for you, but it may also be a property the Realtor has already disregarded because it backed up to a busy noisy street and you have told your Realtor you wanted a quiet neighborhood.

You Have to Find an Agent. How do you do that?

If you're reading this, you're probably on the Internet. One key to a successful relationship between a real estate agent and their client is that, in addition to representing your interests competently, they educate you about the process as it unfolds. So don't simply look for property on the web - look for an agent that informs you about the process.

Referrals are always a good way to go. Perhaps a friend, co-worker, or family member recently bought a house in the same community and had a good experience. However, if they bought a house twenty miles from where you want to move, it may not be a good idea to use the same Realtor.

You want an agent who knows the area in detail and has already previewed many of the homes available for sale in that community. Community knowledge should be important to you because you are not just buying a house. You are buying a home in a local neighborhood in a specific community.

Every Realtor can show you every property available for sale in the Multiple Listing Service. Since that is true, you can call any real estate office and find a Realtor willing to show you houses for sale. The problem is that you do not know if you are talking to an excellent Realtor or a lazy inactive one.

Shopping for an Agent

Your first step should be to shop for a Realtor, not to shop for property. Shop for a Realtor the way you would shop for a good attorney, accountant, mechanic, plumber, doctor, financial advisor, or other professional.

Now that we have the Internet, you have more information at your fingertips than buyers from the past. The web is a good place to start. There are lots of directories that list agents, plus search engines, too. Peruse the sites. If an agent has lots of information on their site and seems genuinely concerned about informing homebuyers, that's probably a better choice than someone whose web site only talks about how good they are.

The client should be the focus, not the agent. At the same time, agents have to market themselves aggressively -- or else you won't notice them.

If Automobiles Were Houses

Imagine that automobiles are sold like real estate, with no more car lots or dealerships. Both new and used cars are just parked on the street. So if you want a Ford, there are no more Ford dealerships. No more Lexus dealerships or any other kind of dealerships, either. If you want to look for a car on your own, you just drive around and see what you can find. Even then, you can only look at the outside, because you don't have the keys.

There are some people that have the keys. They also have a computer that tells them where all the cars are parked, what model and year they are, what size engine they have, and how many miles are on the odometer. They get paid a commission for selling the cars.

Some of these commissioned agents just sit around and look at the computer, waiting for the phone to ring. Some of them go out and locate the new cars, physically inspect the interior and exterior, and flip on the ignition to listen to the sound of the engine. They are interested in finding the best cars so their customers refer future clients to them.

Who would you rather call?

Next: How to Conduct the Search

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