Every day, every single day, we get calls that go like this:
Hi, I’m calling about your listing at 123 Main Street”
OK, that’s not our listing, but I’d be happy to give you some info on it”
It’s your listing, it’s on your web site. I’m looking at it right now.
Our site shows EVERY home listed for sale in the Phoenix area. Let me look it up for your real quick.
From here, the conversation can take several different directions.
Sometimes the caller argues with me, insisting that I am wrong, that we are the listing agents because they are looking at our site.
Trust me, I know what homes our brokerage has listed. There is a boatload of paperwork tied to each and every one of them that the State Department of Real Estate requires me to review and sign. Yet some callers will still all but call me clueless.
Here’s the first hint not every home shown for sale on our site is listed by our brokerage. Below is a screen shot of our Phoenix home search. See the “39,743 properties found” note? I can assure you that Thompson’s Realty does not have almost 40,000 homes listed for sale.
Here’s the deal:
Our site, like many other real estate agent / brokerage sites has what is called an IDX feed. IDX = Internet Data eXchange (why they didn’t call it IDE is beyond me. Trying too hard to be cool I guess). IDX pulls home listings from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and displays it on agent sites. Virtually every real estate brokerage sends and allows their listing data to be shared via IDX. Those that do not are, to be blunt, not very bright. You WANT your listings to be seen on web sites. As many web sites as possible. After all, the point in taking a listing is to sell it. Don’t believe me? Just ask your clients. I’ll bet you a ridiculous amount of money that any home seller asked will tell you that yes, they listed their home with you in the hopes of getting it sold, and they want the maximum exposure possible for said home. The internet is really good at getting exposure for your home.
The Angry Brokers
Calls I find the most interesting: Interesting in a “you’ve got to be freaking kidding me” kind of way, are the ones from angry real estate brokers:
Why is my listing showing up on your site!?!
Because you checked the box in the MLS to send it to the Internet.
I get that, but when I Google the address, your site comes up first. And I can’t even find my site at all!
Well, that’s your problem, not mine. It’s called Search Engine Optimization. Check it out some time.
This isn’t fair. My site should be number one for my listing. You must be cheating. I may file a complaint if you don’t take it down.
Knock yourself out.
Or even worse:
Why is my listing showing up on your site!?!
Because you checked the box in the MLS to send it to the internet.
The box where YOU authorize the listing to go out on IDX.
Seriously. If you’re a broker and you don’t understand what IDX is and does, well, you may want to revisit your choice of careers.
These are the calls that can be very frustrating, or very rewarding – personally and professionally. The “misguided” are those that insist that “as buyers” they will only work with the listing agent. Their general thinking is they can “get a better deal” working directly with the listing agent.
Not. So. Much.
Trying to convince people that they need their own representation is most often an exercise in futility. While it seems stunningly obvious that the last person you want to work with as a home buyer is the agent that represents the home seller, making this point to most callers usually leaves me banging my head against the desk in frustration. Listing agents represent the seller, and the seller’s interests – not you the buyers interest. The listing agents job is to get the seller the most money they can. A buyer’s agent is supposed to get you the buyer the home for as little as possible. Why oh why a buyer insists on working with the seller’s agent is beyond me, but insist they do. I could ramble on for 10,000 words about why using the seller’s agent is a bad idea. Yes, it’s true that SOME (but certainly not all) listing agents will cut their commission if they “represent” the buyer. But that’s going to be maybe 1%, (2% if you are exceedingly lucky) of the sales price. A good buyer’s agent can easily save you that much, and quite possibly significantly more.
I’ll spare you the 10,000 additional words on using the seller’s agent. If you’re interested, here are two previous articles I wrote on representation / dual agency. I just re-read them, and if I may be so self-serving and biased, they are pretty good (with great insight in the comments as well):
We show every (well almost every) home listed for sale in Phoenix on this web site. The only homes that aren’t shown are those where the broker, for whatever inexplicable reason, elects not to distribute their listings via IDX.
Our brokerage is not the listing broker for every home for sale in Phoenix. We’re planning Phoenix market domination, but we’re not quite there yet.
If you are a broker, learn what IDX is and does. (There’s a LOT of information available from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. Their site has good information about IDX in general.)
Any agent can show you any home, and represent YOUR interests and needs as a buyer. Choose your agent carefully, but chose YOUR agent, not the seller’s agent.
I added this last sentence because it gets this article to 1,000 words, exactly.