A recent article by Hank Bailey in Inman real estate news, “Do sellers need a local real estate agent? Dispelling a common myth,” has me thinking about what “local” really means to clients.
Mr. Bailey makes some good points and his article is worth reading. He argues — and I agree — that our digital lifestyle connects people and sometimes provides faster and more information than a buyer or seller might get from an agent in the local bricks-and-mortar office. When we share information by text, email, online, etc., it doesn’t really matter where we are.
His bottom line argument is also good: “What the message should be to home sellers is that no matter whether I lived in their neighborhood or not, the key to an agent successfully selling their home is follow-up. It is work ethic. It’s being full-time and fully committed to the business.”
But I think there’s more to consider when we talk about “local.”
For one thing, no matter how technologically savvy we are, real estate is, at heart, a “people” business. Yes, there are some clients who would prefer transactions entirely without human interaction, but, from my experience (30-plus years) most sellers and buyers value a skilled agent’s guidance, opinions and observations. The face-to-face contact between client and agent can inspire a more in-depth conversation about the property and, critically, about the client’s many options.
For another thing, there are subtleties to local. First-hand knowledge of the economic base, the school system and the individual neighborhoods of a community are vital to buyers. Connections with the area’s top agents can make all the difference in a seller’s ability to reach a target audience of buyers and realize top value for their property.
To be sure, local doesn’t necessarily equal good. Just because someone has a desk in the neighborhood office does not guarantee that they are smarter, more ethical or more committed to the client’s success.
Today’s real estate companies are far-reaching and the most successful agents are extensively networked, both regionally and nationally, with agents of compatible skill and philosophy. When The Sanborn Team represents a seller anywhere in California, our extensive experience handling the sale of real property through probate allows us to manage the sale centrally. But we depend on local agents — smart, skilled individuals who know the neighborhood and have the respect of their most successful colleagues — to handle local showings and to be the “face” in face-to-face contact with clients.
For The Sanborn Team — and for our clients — every transaction is local, wherever it may be. If you would like to learn more about selling or buying real property through probate, trust or conservatorship, please browse The Sanborn Team website, or contact us today at 310-777-2858 or [email protected].
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NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon