I recently went on a listing appointment where I was up against the real estate agent that lived in the community. In my conversation with the sellers, they told me they wanted to list with him because he knows the complex best because he lives there, too.
A homeowner is free to choose any listing agent they want, for any reason they want. The working relationship between seller and agent can be a long one, depending on the circumstances. Finding the right fit is important.
But choosing an agent based on where they live isn’t always the way to go. It might not serve your purposes the way you think it will.
Understanding the Listing Process
Owners sometimes choose a Realtor® because this person lives in the community where their home is located. Therefore he or she should know it better than anyone. Right? Not always, and even when they do, it’s not always as important as other facts.
Most of the time, buyers are brought to a property by the buyer’s agent, not the listing agent. The reason those buyers are viewing a property in the first place is because their agent did the work of “selling” them on the community and the neighborhood, showing them why they should consider it. The selling agent who lives in the community won’t need to convince the buyer how great the area is.
A listing agent’s job is to work on your behalf to negotiate the deal and answer questions that may come up in the process. Very rarely are they needed to sell the community or discuss the amenities. Yes, they use that information to market your property but it’s not hard for a good agent to get that information from multiple sources -- including you, the seller.
From the buyer’s perspective, it’s rare they ever meet the listing agent. Most listing agents don’t attend showings with the buyer. That’s not their job. When we do hear from an agent who lives in the community, it’s gossip. Who lives above, who likes to hang out at the pool, and who is in the community full time who is a snowbird. It might be interesting information but it’s not special community knowledge. And in some cases, buyers might leave with the wrong impression based on what they heard.
What You Need a Listing Agent To Do
What you really need from a listing agent are strong marketing skills. Their job is to make your house look good to any potential buyer. They need to be able to show off your beautiful home in much better light than anyone else. A good listing agent will see your home with fresh eyes and know best how to make it stand out from all other listings. The agent that lives in the community usually takes all the special and amazing things for granted. After all, they’ve already seen the pool or community center hundreds of times, and your home might look just like their home. It’s nothing special to them.
The listing agent’s main job, after marketing, is to help you with pricing. Many times agents that live in the community overprice their listing to show off in front of other neighbors. Or they want to impress you with the amount they’re willing to list it at, even though it’s not a realistic price. That puts you at a disadvantage. When a home is overpriced, it’ll sit on the market much longer and eventually sell for lower than it should.
Listing agents should also be skilled negotiators. In order to accomplish that they need training. They need to know the competition, not just in your community, but in others as well and use that knowledge to your advantage as a seller. A listing agent that says, “This is how we’ve always done it here” or “But that’s what it was like years ago” isn’t serving your best interests.
Most important of all, a good listing agent helps you accomplish your goals. Because at the end of the day, your move has very little to do with the property itself but rather with the changes in your current lifestyle. Selling your property is only a piece of that puzzle. And you deserve a listing agent who will get the job done well and at the best price. When you make your decision, where you agent lives isn’t as important as what they can do for you.
Are you ready to sell? Let’s talk!