The first question that needs to be answered is, “What is an area specialist?” There is a big misconception regarding what makes a REALTOR® an area specialist. For instance, just because a REALTOR® advertises on a bus stop bench in your area and you drive by it every day, or they send out postcards or memo pads, or just because a person sells a couple of houses in your area in a year, that doesn’t make them an area specialist.
The area specialist concentrates or geo farms a specific area by putting their flyers there and self-promotion advertising. They may have a bus stop bench or two. They will do different things to give themselves name-branding within the area. They decide to call themselves the area Specialist, but at the end of the day, that does not make them a specialist. Knowledge of the local market isn't only obtained by living in the immediate area.
The Impact Using an Area Specialist Has on Bringing You a Buyer for Your Home
Using an area specialist doesn't reflect the traffic you’ll get to your home. The MLS® is actually what’s going to bring the traffic into your home. That is the most powerful tool you can have in selling a home because it exposes your home to over 5,000 REALTORS®and their clients. All agents have accessibility to the same information via the MLS®.
Before hiring a so-called area specialist, it’s important to find out how successful they are in the entire marketplace. How many of their listings sold in the area, and how many had to be reduced before they were sold. You’ll also want to know how long the houses were on the market, how smoothly the process was handled, and how accessible the agent is to answer questions and concerns. Are they willing to provide current references?
One of the biggest things to consider is whether or not the community REALTOR® fits your personality, what is their experience and negotiating skills and if it’s someone you can work with. That’s not a given and needs to be tested out.
Additionally, it’s important to know the extent of the person’s marketing. Are they just in your little corner of the world, and that’s it? Or will they go out there and advertise your property to everyone, everywhere? Just because that person is known to the people within the community, that doesn’t make them known to everybody else in the world.
The idea that an area specialist is the most knowledgeable and the best person to deal with is a total misconception. For example, it’s possible that someone just joined the Real Estate Board and got their license and then put an advertisement on a bus stop bench, and threw flyers out there for a period of a few months, but have not even had a single sale. They may just be spending more money on advertising in your area than they are on promoting your property.
Laws of Agency
It’s also important to understand, as discussed in a previous blog post, that according to the Laws of Agency, if a buyer comes in and hires an area specialist (or any REALTOR®) who represents the seller, they fall under the Laws of agency and are not allowed to discuss price and motivation with the buyer or seller. They act only as a facilitator in the transaction, each side is left on their own to make their own decisions with no advice from the REALTOR®. So you may think you are saving on commissions, but you are losing your REALTOR® most valuable assets which is their advice and negotiating skills working in your best interest.