Even though I do not have my photo on my business cards or signs at present, my clients have on occasion asked me this question when we enter a house where the agent’s picture is on the sign.
Even when the agent’s photo is not on the sign, some ask me why the agent’s picture is often on the business cards and other materials such as the home flyer.
This morning over at The Onion there is a funny post titled “I Wasn’t Going to Buy This House UNTIL I Saw The Realtor’s Headshot On the Sign”by Sam Cone.
The answer is fairly simple. There has been for some time now, a continuous struggle between Brokerages and Real Estate Agents as to whether you are going to call “The Office” or “The Agent”. For many years there was a rule called The Rule of Prominence, which is still a rule in some places in the Country. That rule required “…the broker’s name to be equal in size and more prominent than the agent’s name”. (but not necessarily the agents face or photo). As soon as it was determined that the agent’s photo was not part of the prominence rule, agent’s used the photo to help insure that the prospective client or home buyer would call them vs. the Brokerage, or at least ask for them by name if they did call the Brokerage.
Take a look at the sign I used in the thumbnail photo that says, “Buy Your Next Home With Us!” …and then ask yourself who “us” is? US is obviously Century Properties, and not Cindy, given the company has the header and footer control, and Cindy only gets to customize the insert on the white background. Also the slogan would say “call ME” vs. call “US” if that were Cindy’s slogan vs. the Brokerages slogan.
Cindy wants you to call her, and the company wants you to call them. This is more of an issue in some places than others. Historically Brokerages did not have to pay for a receptionist. Agents used to “sit floor duty” on the hope of getting a new client via a “sign call”. More and more, agents began trying to be “more prominent” on the sign than the broker, to insure that they personally got the call vs the Brokerage, or that you would at minimum be enticed to ask for the Cindies of the world by name when calling the Brokerage.
From the home seller’s standpoint, would the owner rather you talk to Cindy? Probably, because Cindy knows their home better than any old body who answers the phone at the real estate company.
So it would seem that whether you are the agent or the owner of the property, those two entities are best served if you take the extra time to reach “Cindy”, than whomever happened into the office to get a cup of coffee today.
Now let’s talk about the buyer. The buyer is often NOT best served by speaking with the agent for the seller from an Agency standpoint. They may be best served by talking to the agent for the seller when they want to know things about the property, or they want to possibly try to save some money on the real estate commission by not having a separate agent. Any way you slice it, the buyer being able to tell who is, and who is not, “the agent for the seller” is of value.
The big fat face on the sign is a HUGE reminder that the person in that picture represents the SELLER, and NOT you the BUYER.
Forewarned is forearmed…and the next time you see an agent photo on a sign you might ask yourself if you want that person who represents that seller…knowing a whole lot about you, the buyer. Do you want that person to know how much you LOVE the house!? Do you want that person to know that you are worried about whether or not you can get financing? Do you want that person to know that you are not sure if you want the house, you just want to tie it up for a few days while you think about it?
If nothing else, value the big fat photographic reminder, that the smiling face on that sign…does not represent you, if you are a potential buyer of that house.