Real estate is local… and it isn't.

When it is time to list your home for sale, do you list with the agent who personally knows every expansion joint in your neighborhood sidewalks? They are the neighborhood expert, after all. Or, do you list with the agent you personally know, but one who needs a compass and a thirty-minute head start to find your home?

We have been on both sides of this decision lately, and I will tell you that the answer is unequivocally this: The best agent to list your home is the best agent.

The Out of Area Agent

Your first cousin’s friend from the office knows a guy in the church group. He comes highly recommended. Through either a sense of kinship or obligation, you give him the business. What’s the big deal? If he is the best agent in town, you have made the right decision. But, what if he isn’t the swiftest ship in the fleet?

Yesterday, an agent from our team was holding a home open for us in our neighborhood. During the traditional 4:00 sign removal ritual, he ran into an out of area “friend” who was holding her own open house one block away. “Do you know this neighborhood?” she asked? It seems that during the previous three hours, she had been bombarded with questions about mysterious listings on streets with mysterious names, with inquiries about schools she knew nothing about and local fees, a topic on which she was a little fuzzy. Meanwhile, a brochure box at yet another home was trumpeting the name of the subdivision, only it wasn’t quite the right name nor was it spelled properly.

In these cases, the sellers have made a sacrifice in the name of friendship. True, the buyers do not care if the listing agent flew in from Detroit this morning; they simply want information. But, if your agent is ill-prepared to discuss in depth and at length the topic du jour, your home, then your checkbook toting opportunity for a sale may be moving on.

The Neighborhood Specialist

Your personal trainer’s brother is licensed, and he even sold a home last year. He happens to live in the neighborhood, so you give him the business. Or maybe you hire that woman whose sign you have seen so many times. Each of these agents knows your community. Going with one of them is a no-brainer, no? Unless their level of care and expertise is superior, and unless their marketing plan and willingness to commit resources to your success are superior, then no.

Many, many elements are involved in selling a home, and the first of these involves exposing the home in the broadest and most compelling way to the potential buyer. Marketing is no longer local. It is global, and the fact that we share a trash day is not enough. Have you considered your agent’s marketing strategy, the quality of their ads, and the quality and extent of their web presence? Have you considered their knowledge of market trends and dynamics or their grasp of buyer attitudes and expectations? A good agent can become an expert on neighborhood sales and schools and fees and other particulars in one solid morning of diligent research. A great agent will have spent years developing skills and systems and marketing plans to help you succeed. These things are both essential and transferable.

So, which is it? Should you select the Neighborhood Specialist or the more familiar agent from across town? It’s simple, really. The best agent for the job is always the best agent.

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