[photopress:odd_duck.jpg,thumb,alignright]I totally get, after 16 years, that I am an “Odd Duck” when it comes to this topic.  I truly have never gotten why agents seem to feel that Real Estate is an overly-competitive industry, relative to other fields of endeavor.

I rarely run into a competiton factor.  So I’d like to suggest to those who do, that maybe they are creating that scenario somehow, as in “What you resist, persists.”  Maybe you invite the issue of competition into your discussion with consumers, more than I do.  I’m not sure why I don’t run into competition as often as others seem to, but maybe by starting a “thread” on this topic, I can help some others deal with “fear of competition”.  In many ways, those who dislike/fear the new alternative business models, do that because they feel somehow it will impact them, when that is not at all the case, as I see it anyway.

Where do you all run into competition?  Seller calls me, for instance.  Wants to talk to me about selling their house.  I go to their house and talk about their house and how we (they and I) will sell their house.  That’s all.  Where does the topic go to some “competition” issue?  It doesn’t for me.  Are you, the agent, bringing the issue of “other agents” into the conversation you are having with the owner of the house?  And if so, why are you doing that?  If someone wants to talk to ten other agents before and after talking with me, that’s their business and not mine.  Usually they just hire me.  Once in a blue moon they don’t hire me and more often I say “Thanks but no thanks”, but mostly we, the seller and I, just get cracking at the work to be done to get the house ready for sale.  Where does this whole “competition” thing start and why?

Next example, buyer calls me and is considering hiring me as their Buyer’s Agent.  We meet and I decide if I want to work with them and they decide if they want to work with me.  That usually takes one meeting, sometimes two.  Once in a while I refuse to meet with them, but not very often.  One last week wanted a complete list of every transaction I did this year including all of my clients’ phone numbers!  That was a “thanks but no thanks” and I cancelled our first meeting.  But that is rare.  If my “competitors” are willing to hand over all of their clients’ phone numbers to a complete stranger at first contact…oh well!!  No skin off my nose, as they say.

Once a client is my client…that’s pretty much that.  Had a guy call me Saturday morning on his way out to ski, wanted to buy something he saw up in Whatcom County.  We talked for three minutes and I took care of it.  There we go.  Contract about signed around while he was off having fun.  Where’s my competitor there?  I have clients call me from all over the place like that.  We’re in Florida and saw a…  Hi, do you remember me, I want to sell now.  I get calls like this all the time.  How does a “competitor” make it into your conversation with people?

Again, I know I’m the odd duck on most issues regarding our industry…my thoughts on blogging included!!  I’m the  odd duck in that photo trying to figure out what everyone’s squabbling about up on that log 🙂  I’d love to hear from agents who think this is a competitive business.  Is this just perception and fear?  Or is it truly a reality in your every day life?  And if it is your reality and not mine, why is that? Even when I’m training and coaching agents…we don’t talk about “the competition”.  Rarely comes up.  Is it insecurity?  Is it just that I’m dense and SHOULD be talking about “the competition”.  I truly don’t get all of the chatter about all of the competition. Hundreds of people buy homes every month, probably thousands every month.  You only work with 2-5 in a month.  Sounds like damned good odds to me?  Where am I “off”on this? 

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

104 thoughts on “Competitors/Competitive/Competition??

  1. Hi Ardell,

    I’m pretty much of the same thought as you – competition doesn’t usually make its way into my meetings with potential clients. I’ve been in the business 25 years, and a good amount of my business comes from past clients & customers and word-of-mouth referrals. I do also do a good business from my websites, and from those who come to me from my sites, they feel like they already know me when we finally meet because of our staying in touch with them until that point.

    This is all not to say that I don’t periodically have appointments where sellers are, or have been, talking with other agents to see who they best fit with, but that just helps to make me better at what I do. Those types of situations probably comprise maybe 10-15% of my appointments, maybe.

    Great post – very thought-provoking, and it would be interesting to see other comments!

  2. I am not an agent but I have recently been through the process of selling and buying properties and as far as I was concerned I talked to more agents than what I ended up working with. To us customers, healthy competition in any market helps, since this is what drives cost down and quality of service up. So yes, I’d like to believe there is some competition here. To the agents credit, they all performed very professional, I am talking about the people I had interviewed and I did not select to represent us. For statistics, I had about ten referrals, I narrowed it down to three interviews, and finally decided to go with one agent. To the point of the post, the competition issue never came up in the process but it was my perception that there were more agents on the market than customers.

  3. You’re not off, Ardell. But I believe different markets provide different opportunities regarding competition.

    When properties AREN’T selling, you can bet that Sellers will be looking into a competitive advantage starting with marketing plans and brokerage fees.

    I don’t take it personal, really. I don’t introduce competition into the conversation – but unless it’s a referral… competition is very likely. And with that competition comes agents “buying” listings – telling the Sellers that their properties are worth more than they really are. Right now, it’s hard enough to sell a property for what it really is worth… without overpricing them.

    BTW, I just found a brokerage offering $199 listings in both of our listing services including electronic lockbox, sign, etc… and charging 1/2% commission at closing. This is what happens when you have twice as many agents (if not three times as many) as you need to service a community.

  4. Ardell, I agree with you. What is the big deal about competition? When it does exist, if we as agents take the time to analyze our success or failure, it (competition) only makes us a better agent. Most often I have found that when I clearly articulated my value proposition and established relationship with the client, I earned the business. Basically, the issue of competition comes down to how we position and view ourselves as agents.

  5. Where do you all run into competition?

    Usually when the client is interviewing multiple agents/brokers. At least that is what the clients tell me. I assume that how I run advertising is another way that clients will compare me to other agents. Call it implied competition. Overall though, I haven’t had all that much in the way of me vs. another identified agent. Usually what wins an opportunity for me is simply calling the would be client back or answering their inquiry. First agent in the door can usually walk out with the client.

    Are you, the agent, bringing the issue of “other agents

  6. Ardell,

    I have to on the whole disagree with you (something I hate to do, since 99% of the time you have the courage to speaketh the truth where many of us often fail). Real estate, at least in my market, is tremendously competitive. Now, don’t misunderstand. I rarely concern myself with the issue of who my competition is in a listing or selling appointment. The “who” is not important if I am able to present a strong enough case that I am best suited to represent the party.

    The fact is (and Doug hinted at this), there are far too many agents in our industry. True, there are far too few good ones, but the competition for the business is fierce. I often challenge people to find another industry where your peers for the most part would like to throw you under a bus at the first opportunity. Competition in any industry is good, because from choice springs opportunity for excellence, but not all real estate competition is created equal. If I am competing on merits alone, it is a great day, and I will rarely come up on the short end. However, as Doug also pointed out, too often the competition involves the how-low-can-you-go discussion on fees, or the how-high-can-you-list discussion on price, neither of which should be the primary issue. I like to tell sellers that they should pick the agent they feel will best represent them. Having made that decision, have the price negotiations.

    We, too, say no thank you to many, many opportunities. And we, too, have a healthy past-client business. But that is not really the point. A career can not be sustained on these things alone, so competition for business is a necessary evil. I think your point should be whether or not the competition that does exist is healthy or of the unsavory variety. There is one agent in our market in particular who kills far too many brain cells “running the numbers” on other agents’ production and worrying about how they are getting their business versus how he could be getting his own. Every office has their “board” of listings and sales. Steve and I make it a point to ignore it entirely, often forgetting to post our own sales. What the other agents are doing is of no concern to me; it is what I am doing that concerns me. Am I competitive? Sure, but not in the unhealthy way. I always endeavor to improve my skills and my tools, to build a better mousetrap. This benefits my clients and, to continually improve, it requires that I know my “competition”.

  7. Anne-I appreciate your thoughts, but where’s your blog link?


    Doug, there’s always someone more “stacked”..I learned that in Daytona beach when I was 22 🙂

    Rebecca…get a link, honey! Did you sell that sweet listing?

    Geno…perception, dollface…pure, perception 😉

    Todd-mostly blog clients this year-total strangers-think about it.

    Kris-CA-Agree-why I’m no longer there LOL

  8. As a first time buyer, I had a couple people recommend agents they had used or friends who were agents. Have to admit, I never actually called any of them. I stumbled upon this blog one day (from an agent friend in SF, actually) and started reading Ardell (and the rest). Finally, someone talking my language! I suppose I didn’t follow proper procedure in not interviewing other agents, so there really was no other competition. We met and seemed to get on, and have moved foward (or sideways, since we’re 0-3 so far, but that’s not her fault – crazy buyers – talk about competition!) It seems to me that agents can promote their skills and fees all they want, but for me, it comes down to chemistry.

  9. Note to others-Adrianna was in that crazy 20 offers bidding war yesterday. She totally stepped up to the plate, but five stepped way over the plate! I do however keep trying to “get” Adrianna to go for the ones others are passing by, with a lowball while no one is looking… By the time they reduce the price…guess what? More multiple offers! Aaarghh! Same old everyone wants the same house and no one wants the rest…Happens every time. Someone clue in the Bubble People on THAT one. Some BRAVE soul…that is…not me. I tried my best on that one.

    OK Adrianna…let’s hear about that market being S L O W…who says?!?! Not you, for sure 🙂 Not after yesterday.

  10. Ardell – thanks for mentioning using my blog link instead of my website. I did that with this comment, but don’t know how to edit it in my initial comment. Thanks for that suggestion!

  11. I could edit the previous for you, but keep them both up.

    I have the whole Active Rain “string” link in my sidebar on my blog, but that is a bit confusing…you guys are starting to get like the Archdiocese…uh…hard to explain that one. Your are like one big thingie instead of a bunch of bloggers. I don’t get that. Hard for me to choose out my favorites. It’s like a ticker tape and I’m only seeing IBM and Xerox. Is Xerox still around? Shows you how longs its been since I stared at ticker-tapes all day. Thank God we don’t have to do THAT anymore. That’s what Active Rain feels like to me…bunches of stuff going by that you can’t really catch.

    Hate to say this…as some say it to me. You look about 15 in your photo…how can you be in the business 25 years? My photo 3 years old BTW. Took it at 49…I’m 52. But seriously, you don’t look even 30 in that…did you start at 5?

    I met Kevin Boer in person and he said the same thing to me in person…so..WooHOO on THAT! LOL

  12. Ardell, I believe truly that the agent who proceeds with the most dignity has the advantage. To begin with, image is important whether we think so or not. Although I rarely, if ever, wear a necktie on an appointment, there is little doubt as to the level of my real estate success when I meet a potential client for the first time. Exhaustive knowledge of the MLS, mirroring a person’s emotions, using silence a lot and never speaking poorly of a competitor are key…no vital tenats. I’m lucky that I write and have written enough business consistently that I have my own list of “Raving Fans.” (by the way, that book is required reading). Become ‘consciously competent’
    at what you do and the rest will follow. There is a saying that it is “attraction, not promotion.” That’s how I handle the competition.

  13. Geno,

    Well, you’d have to define “dignity” LOL If it translates to snooty, count me totally OUT on that one. I hate snooty, and I don’t hate much. But snooty just rubs me the wrong way, whether it’s agents or clients.

    Book…what book? I’m thinking of reading everything Seth Godin…should I? Who wrote “Raving Fans”?

    I am the opposite of using a lot of silence…especially at listing appointments LOL. Silence during negotiations, yes…sometimes I even shut my phone down, so they can’t reach me to get a higher price verbally before offer expires…unless there are other offers.

    But listing appointments? Hard for anyone to get a word in edgewise as there’s always so much to say about the house itself, and getting it ready.

  14. Hi Ardell!

    Thanks…okay, to continue what I emailed you earlier this afternoon:

    I think that high self confidence (and you have it in spades!) is a key ingredient to “knowing” that there is “no competition”. The self-confidence is the “knowing” which in turn gives the consumer confidence in the service providers abilities, which makes them less likely to investigate or interview futher. The competition exists, but the confident service provider has no or little fear because (hopefully like yourself) they are knowledgable, experienced and that benefits the consumer.

    Competition then “generally” benetfits the consumer and provides them with the best service provider. But there are service providers that look great (talk the talk) but have no real substance or ethics behind them to provide REAL SERVICE, just a lot of flash and fast talking…lots of self-confidence with no substance who can sometimes outshine their competition. In the short run they are sucessful, but eventually their lack of foundation crumbles, while others with less flash take longer to become established. Of course there are always exceptions!

    So the consumer to get the best benefit from competition (that does exist whether acknowledged or recognized as such) needs to investigate further and make choices that best fit their personalilty, finances etc. to match up with the service provider who BEST MEETS THEIR NEEDS. Please avoid the flashy ones with confidence but NO SUBSTANCE who are really looking out for their own interests and not acting in their clients best interests.

    Very interesting topic Ardell, thanks!

    Deborah Burns

  15. Ardell – that picture is only about 4 years old, believe it or not! I do know I need to, and want to, get a new pic taken, but I hate having my pics taken.

    I did come into real estate basically right out of college, so I was ALMOST 5!! 😉

    There are alot of us on AR, but we each have our own link, and that’s what I used here, after my first comment to you.

  16. Ardell – Coming from an entirely different market than you, I would have to say that yes, there is alot of competition going on here in NY. Its quite sad to tell you the truth. There is no – OK not much policing going on here. Alot of agents will post a listing onto MLS and then try to keep you out of showing. If the house was able to be shown and you get an offer – some of the agents here (and I can name a bunch) will hold the offer or not even present it. It is alot of bs here. Now as for listing appointments, the only thing that I can say will happen is most homeowners will throw into the converstation that XYZ real estate will do it for X%. Once this happens I thank them for their time and leave. I am not going to go into “name that commission” game. Most of the time I get called back immediatly or called back after they homeowner gave it to the other real estate and could not sell it, 3-6 monthes later.
    So, In general my short answer would be as a selling agent there is more competition for me than as a listing agent. I dont like playing games and overall I worry about what I do and how I do it.

  17. Ardell, ‘Dignity’ in the respect of not trashing another agent or company… ie the competition, during a listing appointment–and somtimes it takes a lot of self control not to. Not quite sure how you got ‘snooty ‘out of that.

    “Raving Fans” is by Dr Kenneth Blanchard and has been out a few years.

    And if it has anything at all to do with real estate, then negotiation is involved. I know what I’m thinking about their house. I want to know what they’re thinking. And pricewise, they’re usually thinking higher. That alone calls for more silence than talk from my experience…but hey, some people just talk more than others.

  18. IMHO salespeople that I’ve met in real estate, mortgage lending, and even title salespeople get freaked about competition because they are focusing externally, on the “other” instead of focusing on improving their own skill set. Girls like guys with skills.

    Competitors have always been there and always will be there.

    With that said, what Christine is describing in NY sounds beyond the norm. I hope whatever holiday make-believe icon you believe in brings you some regulatory and/or ethical enforcement for your chosen holiday celebratory gift exchange at the local NY MLS.

    I have seen new agents run circles around 25 year veterans in gaining new clients because of the skill set they bring to real estate that they honed in other industries. Since new agents often lean toward working with buyers, maybe this is where it’s coming from.

    But whatever it is, it’s probably multifactorial and not just one thing.

  19. Two thoughts. First, here in Marin County, it is extremely competitive, because there is, last I checked, one agent for about every 50 married couples. Referral and repeat business absolutely gives you a leg up, and we truly believe in developing clients for life. But often, even on a referral, you’re in competition with at least two other agents for a listing. We try to change the battlefield to what our strengths our – marketing and service, and stay away from price.

    Second, I am amazed at the fear of competition. I came out of the advertising business three years ago. It was cutthroat, and the stakes were high, so I’m used to it. Despite the overabundance of agents (because of people like my wife and I who got tired of what we were doing and wanted a change), I still don’t find it as destructively competitive as advertising was. In fact, the competition I’ve seen has been generally good for the industry and good for the consumer.

  20. Why more competition on the buyer agent side than the seller agent side?

    Two words would describe this – Commission and Control.

    In NY, we work on the Listing agents agreement. So, if a listing agent wants to play games with the showings and submitting offers then the selling agent is almost at their mercy. The Board here – police’s nothing and all complaints are voiced to a deaf ear. (been there done that).

  21. Mehhhh… “I’m Ardell, and I don’t have any competition, sellers call me and I just turn them down.”

    That does it! I’m packing up shop and moving on up to the East Side of Seattle. Talk about creating competition 😉

    In Boston, I have a street where there are over 10 agencies within two blocks, and that’s not even Newbury St. If that’s not competition, I don’t know what is.

    Of those specific 10 agencies, they’re all rental companies (that also do sales). That’s the funny thing about Boston, that most agents in other areas don’t really see. The rental market is huge!

    And let me ask you, when there’s tons of students looking for summer jobs, and you can make $10-$60 grand in a summer, you can get your license in a weekend, and it only costs about $200 bucks to do it… Does this sound like the makings of an uncompetative market?

    Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like sales is non existent, it’s also HUGE. However, the appeal of easy money, to young, soon to be professionals, through Real Estate Jr (rentals), leaves a lot of people with their licenses looking for more. And that’s in addition to all of the “Oh, I hear there’s a lot of money in Real Estate, I can show houses to people too, I’m going to get my license” that I’m sure every area gets.

    And keep in mind, this doesn’t effect me once I meet people, I mean, I’m so damned charming, charismatic, good looking, hygenic, smart, and clearly humble…..where was I? oh yeah… the competition doesn’t stop me once I meet people, competition stops me from even getting to that point.

    The one thing I hear the most is how many freaking agents people already know. “oh my sister in law has her license, my college buddy has his license, I have my license”

    My girlfriends brother, for instance, is in the market to buy a place right now, his best friend from home is licensed, his other friend from home owns his own company (3 offices actually), he’s got another buddy that manages a rental company, and a college buddy that’s also in the business.

    Competition? No such thing. Great topic A(rrrrrgggghhh!!!)dell.
    I guess you struck a nerve. I still love ya though 🙂

  22. Ardell,

    Great post. I do enjoy reading your stuff.

    I can so relate to what you’re saying, but I’m not sure that your personal experience in the business should lead you to conclude that real estate is not competitive. It is, however an indication that your marketing and work plan is well executed and delivering what you expect it to deliver.

    I, like you, find myself content if my business brings me 35 to 45 deals a year. I can earn an income which is well above the average, keep my expenses under control and enjoy some other things in my life like my family, my home and the odd vacation. I value all of these and I enjoy life very much. I work hard but like you, real estate, at least at this level comes fairly easily for me. I have systems in place which generate enough leads to achieve my objectives. You obviously do to, and consequently, it seems pretty easy to get what you want and what you need.

    I think it’s fair to say that if you changed your goals substantially from those 2-5 deals a month, to 5-10 deals a month you would very suddenly be more aware of just how competitive the business is. I have little doubt that you would find your way there, but you would need to think, plan and execute a little differently and find ways to create more opportunities. At least for a time, the business would likely become more competitive and more of a challenge.

    It’s probably also fair to say that more clients are conducting those interviews online. Often, we don’t ever realize that we’re in, or that we were in competition. The prospective client comes and eyes us up, and if that “chemistry” that Adrianna spoke of is there, they contact us. If not, they quietly go away, without leaving any trace that they were ever there. I agree that if we are invited to a meeting with the prospect we are most likely getting the business provided we don’t come across as a different person when we arrive.

  23. Norm,

    Good point about the competition not being “in view”. For instance in comment #2…I had no idea he had spoken to ANY other agents…let alone 10 or more.

    My point isn’t that there isn’t anyone out there…I know the stats of how many agents there are. My point is that the consumer you are talking with today isn’t talking to ALL of them…maybe 3, maybe 10, but that’s not an inordinate number or as much of an obstacle as some make it out to be, in this business. And if the discussion often is about “How are you going to compete with them”, chances are the agent is leading the discussion in that direction.

    If someone is 9 out of 10 times being beat out by the competition, as Jillayne puts as “freaked about the competition”, it’s more about acquiring more knowledge and skill, and not so much about the amount of competition out there.

    If the competition simply makes you have to be better…isn’t that a GOOD thing?

  24. Christine,

    Seems like you need to get active in your Board, and get the deaf ears out. Spearhead a campaign to get people to run who are like minded, in an effort to clean up “the act” out there.

  25. Bob,

    Great blog you have there. It’s a “boy blog” as I call them, like Swann’s and Kevin’s, but great none-the-less.

    Since you don’t fear the competition, and are newer in the industry, what do you see as you biggest challenges in getting from A to Z…Z being close of escrow and payday?

  26. Norm,

    Two more things 🙂

    1) I don’t get your blog? Do you write those entries? Looks like an RSS feed from somewhere else? Just curious.

    2) I see your average price range is lower than ours, which raises a point. Yes, guys I know who work rowhomes in Philly need to really rack up the numbers and do a whole lot more sales. But if you are making say $10,000 on a sale, that consumer is entitled to 2-4 weeks of work, in my opinion. 52 weeks divided by 2 should be the time spent per client, so 26-36 sales a year is not just MY goal, but the amount of time each client deserves…does that make any sense?

    To increase my business plan to the point where I can’t adequately focus on each client…well that shouldn’t really be anyone’s goal, and my experience says that is 36 people a year.

  27. Hi Ardell,

    I’m not sure what you mean about my blog, but yes, I do all the writing there and the RSS feed is

    1) I just tried it in my reader and it seems to be working fine but if I have a problem please feel free to let me know. I’m a complete noob to the whole blogging scene.

    2) I have no issues with your math and I hope you didn’t take my comments to mean that I was implying you should be trying to do more. You are obviously concerned about providing fair value to your clients and nobody can take issue with that. Besides, if you’re making $10,000 a deal you’re going to need some time to spend some of that cash. 🙂

    Commissions are much lower in Canada. I charge 6% to $100,000, 4% from $100,000 – $200,000, 2% on balances over $200,000 with 50% being offered to the selling agent. My average sale is about $200,000.

  28. “Besides, if you’re making $10,000 a deal you’re going to need some time to spend some of that cash.”

    Norm, my children still manage to do that for me 🙂

    Your “average sale price” matches mine from 16 years ago, so I can relate. Some of mine are low…like the one I have an offer in on now that is $45,000. Those I negotiate at the mls offered fee.

    I will be posting my “fees” as of January 1. I’ve tried all kinds of methods this year and will be formulating my 2007 fee schedule, based on 2006 reality. 1/1/2007 is my “annivesary of blogging” and I will be posting A LOT of “The Year That Was…Blogging and How It Affected My Business” in the first days of 2007.

  29. Yes, kids will do that.

    Thanks for heads up on the RSS thing. I see where I’ve messed up. I left the address for my website and not the actual directory where the blog resides. Yes, I’m still using one of those silly 1.0 website things.

    Congrats on the upcoming milestone. I’ve been at it just over a month so i’m still feeling abit like a fish out of water so I look forward to reading your thoughts on blogging. Starting to see some benefits in the search engines already though.

  30. Norm, I could find your blog easy enough and I LOVED the blog connection photos on your main site. That was SUPER!! Best I’ve SEEN!

    The blog itself confused me. I couldn’t find “Norm” there. I couldn’t find how Norm thinks about things…looked like a Reuters tick tape of articles with no Norm commentary. Could just have been the format was “flat”.

    I will also be blogging on blogging the first week of January and adding a category for that. I stopped doing that, as I was getting a lot of bad feedback from those who questioned my “authority” on the subject, other agents of course 🙂

  31. Damnnnnn!!!! Making me defend my honor here 🙂

    “back home” is technically Vermont, but every single one of the above listed “competition” are all licensed in Massachusetts (doing business in Greater Boston).

  32. Well Jon, if you can’t sell them that a person who works IN the market is BETTER than a person who works OUTSIDE of the market, in a completely different STATE…you know I love ya, kid…but really! that shouldn’t be “competition”. Are you offering the back home agent a referral fee…maybe a 50/50 for help “on the ground”? Something is wrong with your not doing the on-site part of all that…wrong for the consumer!

  33. I definately think the NYC market has competition amongst brokerages and their agents when it comes to new exclusives; not so much for buyers.

    But hey, thats what free markets are all about right. If the marketplace offers competition, its the consumers or clients that will benefit. No different here in NYC markets.

    My competition on sell side is discount brokerage firms; not so much for sale by owners which means Im competiting with client directly, rather than the industry. But we are not a discount firm and while we might consider a negotiable commission structure, if its under $1M, its a 6%/5% commission deal. That is 6% co-broke, 5% direct. Over a mil, you can negotiate a bit.

    In a down market, competition heats up as sellers know their home isnt worth as much as it used to.That makes it worse as they look to save on commissions, and full service firms and those agents that work for them find tougher work.

    In the end, its all about your own business you built for yourself, your reputation in the industry, your marketing skills, and your refferal base. You do this properly, and ethically, and you shouldnt fear your competition, they should fear you and the best brokerages should be clammoring for you to work with them.

    Good post Ardell

  34. Noah,

    1) Thanks for coming.

    2) Interesting that you and Christine have opposite “competition” insights…she thinks it’s on the buyer side and NOT the seller side and you are the reverse…and you work in the same City…very interesting.

    3) “In the end, its all about your own business”… Can we try to make “in the end it’s all about the consumer negotiating with the company representative (their agent) and the result of that negotiation?” Why do prices have to be fixed at anything…without the consumer’s input in the fee negotiation process? Whether it is 1% or 8%…why isn’t your client’s opinion part of that process?

  35. Actually Ardell, Noah and I are so close in area but worlds apart. He is in the City and I am right outside the City. Manhattan does not have an actual MLS board. So the agents rely on one another more to sell. They have to have almost a daily contact with each other to know who has what. Where as I just plug into my MLS service and can pull out one or ten listings and contact the appropriate agent. Noah has some benefits of not having a MLS board – the agents are always or almost always inviting each other to view their listings – where as here, Our agents in my immediate area are more or less defensive about showing – even though the listing is on MLS. The agents wants to sell it him/herself. Strange. But true.

  36. Ardell, I think I finally got my thick skull around what your were trying to tell me. That page appeared by default when my webhost set up the blog. It’s a “recent posts” page which shows the post title and the first sentence of the post. The titles are linked to click through to the actual blog. Based on your feedback, I removed it so that it’s now set up to go directly to the blog. I don’t need anything there that causes confusion so thank again for the heads up and the kind feedback on the photos.

    As far as those questioning your “authority” on blogging are concerned I would say, “and they hardly knew her.” Once I click submit, you’ll have 41 comments on this post. As far as I can tell, at least two of your clients showed up for the discussion as well as a whole bunch of colleagues who seem to respect you and value your thoughts. Seems like you have some credibility to me. I know I’ll be back. Take care.

  37. Hey Norm,

    1) Disclosure – on this article, and this article only, never did before and may not again for awhile, I emailed many of the people who commented and asked them to comment. All but two were invited to comment…each for a different reason. I’m always “experimenting” 🙂

    2) Your blog…MUCH BETTER!! but I have the same comments for you, as I did for Ann Cummings. I’ll send them privately as I did to her.

  38. Good luck with your new blog, Suzette. I couldn’t get any of the links to open and your sidebar is lost at the bottom. If you need any help, though I’m not as familiar with that platform, send me an email and I’ll try to assist.

    I have trouble with colored lettering on black. Geno’s and Eric’s seem to work…but most black background blogs hurt my eyes after awhile.

    What do others think of “on black blogs”?

  39. Ardell (and Geno!),

    I’m late to this thread… too busy beating up the competition 🙂
    I think a lot of people above missed the point. Your point was… do your thing, stick to it, have a plan or system, “do the right thing” and the business will stick…. and soon come out of everywhere (the woods, the fields, the sky, under rocks!).

    By learning sales skills from my mentors and showing up at open houses every weekend (with a good/professional attitude about what I’m doing there), I’ve made a career already. By creatively keeping up with leads (Internet, open house, craigslist, referal, sign calls etc) the business keeps coming… and you have those “poof! A client fell out of the sky!” moments.

    People… by monitoring your own business for preformance, finding some “magic”, making adjustments and “keep on, keepin’ on”,… there ain’t no competition from the time the consumer meets me to the time they are my client in the car.

  40. Ardell,

    I see you’ve gotten lots of good feedback on your blog from many parts of the country. It would seem that the So Cal market and the Seattle market are very different, as you are aware. My impression is that the So Cal market is very competitive — there seems to be a plethora of agents out there trying to get some business — just short of going out and knocking on doors and trying to persuade people that they want to sell their houses. And, you made me aware that there are unscrupulous agents out there who bend the rules to get listings and keep them exclusively for themselves.

    Since the market still seems to be reasonably hot, I would imagine the competition factor/question isn’t such an issue at present. Lots of buyers and sellers to spread around among X number of agents. But what happens when the market cools and there are only a handful of buyers and sellers for the same X number of agents? That’s when the true professionals with a good business plan rise to the surface. The mediocre agents, who were riding the wave, have to get smart or starve.

    As a consumer, I would have to agree with someone in your blog who said that a lot of of the decision making in choosing an agent has to do with chemistry. Obviously, the presenting agent has to have his/her ducks in a row –present an excellent knowledge of the industry and the market, a positive plan on how to market my house (or a realistic game plan and an interest in my wants and needs if I’m a buyer), and confidence in the end result. All that professionalism is essential, but there also has to be that chemistry. If either of those factors is missing or weak, I think the customer will move on.

    So….someone who naturally has both of those factors going for her is likely to feel that there isn’t much competition out there……

  41. Thank you, Jim. Thank you very, very much. Unbelievably “spot on” and articulate for “a consumer” in a totally unrelated field.

    Disclosure – I’ve been engaged to two men in my life. One I married…the other is Jim.

  42. I think it comes down to the clients needs being met. Some can meet those needs others can’t. If your truely knowledgible then a client will be yours. If you are nothing more then an order taker then your already on your way out of business. Lucky for you Ardell I think your a true professional that works hard!

  43. Selling and buying real estate is a competitive process and clients pick the person they feel has the skill to get them what they want. They have no trouble paying for that. But if you are perceived to be like every other agent, you’ll do fine if you price below the competition.
    Be “Up and to the right” as Guy would say.

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