One of the reasons I have remained in real estate through thick and thin the past several years is the notion of autonomy – the ability to run my business as a business and, so long as I remain within the guidelines of state statute, the NAR Code of Ethics, and Arizona commissioner’s standards, to run in it any manner that I see fit.
What I do in terms of marketing, in terms of advertising, in terms of attracting buyers and sellers and in terms of working to get my listings sold is completely within my control – while my sellers do have some input, at the end of the day I’m the one who does this for a living. If they require a service that I don’t happen to believe in, that’s fine. There are other agents in the Valley. Or, as Seth Davis says in Boiler Room, “I’m not Charles Schwab. I don’t need your business.” (I really thought this line was funny when I was, in fact, working at Charles Schwab.)
Unfortunately, this past week it was made clear that I did not enjoy full autonomy when it comes to marketing homes for sale. My broker’s decision to accept a position with Zillow had been a non-issue from a business standpoint for months; this week, we were told the brokerage had a new mandatory form that would explain to sellers how strongly Thompson’s Realty supports the cause of listing syndication.
If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I don’t share that sense. Smart syndication – syndication where it actually is theoretically beneficial to the seller – sure. But blindly syndicating listings to Zillow only to have them marketed as being overpriced, not so much. And make no mistake about it – when buyers see the list price is higher than the Zestimate, they’re not researching the issue further. They’re jumping to the conclusion that the property is overpriced.
Syndication supporters have yet to address the issue aside from the misguided notion that I as an listing agent can somehow tell buyers who never pick up the phone or e-mail me the realities of the property’s value. All that matters to the supporters, and to the syndicators themselves, is how many eyeballs look at their websites. Yet sheer website volume does not a sale cause – there is zero evidence to the contrary.
Needless to say, I can’t in good conscience hand my sellers a form singing the praises of syndication when what they need to know are both the pros and the cons of sending your listing data to the wider world. To present only one side would be a great disservice to my clients. And they are really what this business is about, at the risk of going “it’s all about the fans” on you.
And so, by mutual agreement, I’m moving on. Again. And hopefully for the last time. While in some corners of the world working for a new broker every couple of years is viewed as a good thing, I never have seen it that way, maybe because most agents I know who jump often are doing so because they’re not having any success in a given place and, like a blackjack player on the skids, thinks another table might do better by them – even when it’s other factors causing the lack of success.
Considering I’ve accounted for about 10 percent of Thompson’s Realty’s total sides this year, that clearly is not the case in this instance.
Come Monday or Tuesday all of the logos will be different but the heart and soul of this website and my business will be the same – providing excellent customer service without having corporate conflicts of interest getting in the way. This business should be that simplistic, and it will be again.
Thank you for your continued patronage, patience and readership and we’ll catch you on the flip side.