Thursday 10 July 2014

Does it matter if you use a local REALTOR® to sell?

Does it matter if you use a local REALTOR®, as opposed to an agent or company from out-of-town? I would answer this question in two parts.

First, there is the general “buy local” argument – local real estate agents are essentially local small businesses. Because they are far more likely to spend their money locally than an out-of-towner, when you support them you support your local economy.

But beyond the intangible “buy local” philosophy, there is one very good reason why you need to be careful about listing with a company based outside of your area, regardless of whether it is a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) company or a full service agent. 

You need to ask if your listing will be put into the local MLS® system or somewhere else.

Some agents and companies – especially the FSBO companies, but not only them – have access to only one local real estate board and put all of their listings there. They may not care which board’s system it goes in, because they think the primary benefit of an MLS® listing is buyer exposure through the public website… but as I've explained before, that is not the real power of the MLS® system.

On the contrary, the real power behind the success of the MLS® system is that you get hundreds of local agents seeing your listing and potentially selling it to buyers they come across in their day-to-day business. But if your Hamilton property is listed in the Toronto board’s MLS® system, then it won’t even show up in a Hamilton agent’s automated searches – we don’t know right away that it’s for sale!

If you are going to list with someone based out-of-town, whether it’s because of family loyalty or a FSBO package or for whatever reason, make sure they get it into the Hamilton system. Even if they are not a member of the Hamilton-Burlington association, they can still pay a small fee to have it entered locally as an “inter-board listing”. 

In my opinion, anything else is irresponsible and far less effective than you deserve.

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