Have you ever been shopping for a new car and then suddenly find yourself checking out everyone else’s as you drive around? I was recently in the market for a new family SUV and I can’t tell you how many times I thought to myself “Damn…there are a lot of Ford Edges on the road!”.
The same goes for when you’re buying or selling a home. All of a sudden you’re picking out For Sale signs with your eyes closed like you’re George Constanza spotting raccoons on the side of the road in the Hamptons.
As a Realtor, the biggest thing I notice on a daily basis is the barrage of advertising that exists. Bus ads, public benches and billboards are abound with the face of the next great Realtor. I swear we own a 95% market share of bus and bench ads. The other 5% is for personal injury lawyers.
The Sorry State of Realtor Advertising
The majority of these ads are pretty uninspiring. Most of them just say “Buy or Sell With Me!”. I mean, if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on advertising you should at least put a little bit of thought into how exactly you’re going to communicate your value. For anyone that can’t do that, well, it says everything you really need to know about them.
While the majority are too lazy to come up with creative copy, some resort to misleading marketing gimmicks to get their foot in the door. The famous “Sell Your Home in 30 days or I’ll Buy It***!” is probably the most misleading in the industry. If you read the fine print pretty closely at the bottom of the ad it will say that the deal is only good under certain conditions and to refer to the agent’s website for more details or they will explain it in person.
The secret? The listing price will be set at whatever the agent believes will absolutely sell the home even if it’s not for the most value. And that point will generally come after several price reductions. But, in today’s market, if it’s taking 30 days to sell a freehold home in Mississauga something has gone terribly wrong barring a significant stigma that’s attached to the property.
Finally, you’ll see things like “free home evaluation” stated as if any realtor in the history of real estate has ever charged for a home evaluation.
The #1 Realtor in Mississauga
When you search this term you don’t really come up with many results (besides hopefully this blogpost of course!). The same goes for when you search for the BEST realtor in Mississauga. What you will find is the websites of some of the top producers in Mississauga and I implore you to check them out and see just how little value they offer.
There is no real information about neighbourhoods. There is no information about schools. There’s nothing outside of listings and general/cliche information that’s been created by a real estate website company. It’s the lazy bus ad style of marketing that screams “Buy or Sell With Me!”.
In today’s Internet age it’s shocking that many of the top producers wouldn’t invest in the content of their websites to bring you real information about the city. Instead, what they’ve done is spend the money on SEO to have their websites show up first but unfortunately they offer consumers no real value.
The #1 Claim to Fame
That’s the last type of marketing that I’d like to touch on. The very top producers in the industry will pepper their advertising with claims that they were the top 1% in X brokerage, top 1% in the region or even the top 1% in Canada. I’ve seen that stretched to say they were the top 3% in their brokerage! I mean, where do we stop?
Some mention that they sell X amount of homes every X days or talk about the volume of dollars of real estate that they’ve sold. But, again for some of them, if you look at the asterisk beside the claim it may not even be current. You were the top realtor in your brokerage from 2010-2012? That’s great…as a consumer all I can think is “What happened since then?”.
My personal favourite comes from Dave Foreman out in Cambridge. Now, Dave is totally poking fun at the whole “top agent” advertising that people can get obsessed with and his marketing really brings up a good point.
Who cares who is #1?
If you want the best burger do you go to McDonalds? If you want the best clothes do you go to WalMart? If you want to watch the best hockey do you watch the Leafs? (sorry fellow Leafs fans…I am shameless self-deprecating fan!)
I think you get the point. Just because something sells the most volume doesn’t make it the best quality or the best for you.
Many of the people that are top producers are fantastic agents that have gotten to a point where they’ve grown their business. However, if you opt for the services of that team are you going to get the big dog or the guy that just got his license and joined the team? Or perhaps you’ll get the agent who just wasn’t good enough to cut it on their own so they joined the team to receive the leads all those marketing dollars created.
Or perhaps you do get the big dog but you’re client #7 that she’s currently handling. Are you guaranteed to get the attention that you need?
What Kind of Realtor is the Best For You
The point of this post isn’t to rag on the 1%. They’ve achieved incredible success over a number of years in the business and are using their significant spending power to keep themselves there and any good businessperson would do the same.
My point is to challenge consumers to do the work that us realtors are often so lazy to do in our advertising claims. And that’s to do the research to find someone who is best for you. Look past the advertising claims. Look past the fancy marketing materials. Look past the dollar volume they claim to have sold because in my honest opinion the best realtors that I’ve worked with are ones that let their skills do the talking.
These realtors have been in the business for a good amount of time, are organized, friendly and communicate well with others. They know their market and understand what it takes to buy/sell a home. They’re not necessarily in the top 1% but they’ve carved out a great business for themselves and devote their attention and energy to their clients.
How do you find that realtor? Interview them. Read their content that they should be producing in the digital age. Ask friends or families about their experiences with their realtor and ask them to be brutally honest. And remember that #1 doesn’t always mean that they will be the best fit for you.