How do you choose the people you decide to work with? There are many answers to this question. Is it because of their marketing? Is it because of their reputation? Truth be told, consumers are often led to purchase without really knowing the company they are working with. It happens all the time. How many times have you purchased a new food item, vehicle or gone to a movie, just because of the maker or the advertising? We all have. So, the question is…does brand matter? This is not a cut and dry answer. Certain items don’t really rely on advertising as much as others. Take for example fruits and vegetables. Most are pretty much the same and where we get them from is usually convieniecne over advertising. But bigger things or unknowns like movies, cars and homes etc. We rely a bit more on what we hear and see. Of course this is a real estate blog, so let me reel this in and get on a more direct topic!
Real Estate brand DOES matter. I know this first hand, as I used to work at a local boutique agency. What I quickly found was that unless you already had a solid reputation, getting a listing or buyer in the office was very challenging. It didn’t matter how much I knew or how hard of a worker I was. It was simply about name recognition.
Flash forward 3 years , and I joined CENTURY 21. Instant credibility. Business started happening. You see, the consumer has trust in a brand. They believe that they have recourse should something go wrong, and they are right. A brand also gives them better reach and tools to help the process along. For example, as a listing agent in a boutique, how are people outside your area going to find you? Unless you spend a ton of money for online marketing, chances are no one will ever see your office unless they are specifically looking at one of your listings. You may get a few nibble here and there, but overall business will be less.
Now, switch to my brand, CENTURY 21. Global marketing. Translation of listings into 18+ languages, marketing tools, brand recognition, television, radio and print. Let’s be clear, as an agent we pay a portion of our commission to this company on each deal, but the return is amazing. From a consumer point of view, they feel safer and better represented. They also get better trained individuals. A properly run office will have on-site training and continuing education for their agents and also requirements to keep up this education. Individual offices tend to go with the flow and may get around to training as time allows. They may look busier, but truth be told, they have to do more for themselves as there is not the same support system of a company scenario. It does matter. When things go wrong, and they do, you are more likely to get a favorable response from a big company and resolution before it goes too far since the company has systems in place to deal with such matters and they do not want to hear from the higher ups.
When you deal directly with an independent broker, the buck stop with them, so unless they have broken the law, you are on your own. It’s the same reason many of us won’t buy a car from a buy here , pay here lot. We want the dealership with the brand in case there is an issue. So when you start shopping, take note of what you are getting. Does your agent have global resources? Can they access a network of professionals all over the world? Do they have a known brand with a proven track record? It’s a big transaction. You can’t afford to mess it up by going with the wrong company!