Remember George Orwell's Animal Farm?
A book you probably read at school. The one about pigs that take over the farm and run it for themselves. You know, the one that snipes at Russia and Communism.
Pigs, communism and real estate - so what's the connection? Oh, don't tempt me, I could go wild!
Orwells' pigs promulgate the Seven Commandments of Animalism, the rules of life. The most important is the seventh, “All animals are equal”. Of course, qualified over time to be, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.
Ok, I hear you think, get to the point. Communism, pigs, an animal farm - real estate?
One of the comments I hear from people about the benefits of using a traditional real estate sales person to sell their home is that they get to take advantage of the agency's entire team. “I have a whole team of people focused on selling my home. Why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of that?”
Sorry to burst your bubble folks, but that is not the real world! Like the Soviet Union the real estate sales organization looks to create the perception of ubiquity and joint success, papering over the fact that it's actually “all for ourselves”. Traditional real estate is probably the most individualised, self-focused, internally competitive place to work out there.
Real estate sales people are independent contractors – that is, they work for themselves, they are in business for themselves – just like a plumber or electrician. So when you call that big brand sales person in to help – remember they are a company of one, working for themselves, contracted to a local company, which licenses the use of a national or international brand.
Selling real estate is intensely competitive – but there is as much, maybe more, competition within the office as there is between offices of different brands. Some sales people will not even leave work on their desks, they certainly won’t leave contacts or leads anywhere visible – or even in an unlocked desk. I’ve even heard the stories of people shredding everything before it goes into their rubbish bin, in case someone else goes through it looking for leads. There is no trust!
Like Napoleon, the real estate sales person is all for the team, as long as it gives them personal advantage. So when interviewing your agent ask them the question about how they work with the team. How many of their listings have been sold by others in the office? How many listings signed by other people has the agent sold?
Is the team real or are some more equal than others?