A contrarian post popped up on Notorious Rob’s blog tonight. An agent who wanted to remain anonymous asked Rob to post his/her thoughts on the MIBOR issue for her/him. In a way, I understand the reasoning behind anonymity – the posts on Agent Genius and Active Rain have gotten a little tense at times. It also makes sense that the overwhelming number of comments on the internet would be in favor of agents marketing properties on the INTERNET. However, the agent is basically ignoring the role of buyers agents and is falling into a gate keeper mentality.
The agent’s main argument seems to be that the listing agent is the best person to represent the property-that agents with an indexable IDX have an unfair marketing advantage over the agent representing the seller. I have an indexable IDX feed on my Davis real estate site- individual listings show up in search engine results based on the overall strength of my site and not because I do anything specifically to get any single listing to appear. An agent who is even slightly net savvy could easily get the top result over an IDX listing from my local site or any of the national sites – so to argue this puts the listing agent at a disadvantage is not sound.
Let’s take this argument off-line for a minute – the number one way people still find a real estate agent is through some sort of referral. Yes, a growing number of people are finding agents on the internet, but in reality it is still a fairly small percentage. Couldn’t all the same arguments be made? The agent receiving the referral might be from the area but not located in the exact town- may not have as much specific knowledge about the property or neighborhood as the listing agent but they typically have one major advantage: They represent the BUYER.
Yes the internet makes the swimming pool larger – but so does reciprocal data sharing and cooperative agreements between local Realtor associations. The time when agents ONLY worked a single exclusive territory is as antiquated an idea as being a gate keeper of information – whether or not the internet exists these things are going to happen.
One thing that I think agents who are not actively involved online need to realize is no matter how a client comes to you – real estate is still is a people business. Whether you get an email address and phone number when someone registers to look at IDX listings or if they call you from a blog post or a sign post – it all comes down to how the agent interacts with the client.
I know things are done in different ways in various parts of the country, but here it is typically encouraged that the seller and buyer have their own representation – to make restrictions just so that non internet savvy agents have a better shot of selling their own listings is short sighted. As has been mentioned in many other posts – Trulia and Zillow are not subject to the same sort of requirements so the notion that the same non-tech agent site would somehow miraculously appear above these national sites is also not sound.
As as also been mentioned in a number of posts, consumers are searching for specific property information-if local sites are not allowed to have this information searchable in google, consumers will rely even more on national sites.
Remember, there are typically two agents involved in every transaction. Listing agents should welcome any opportunity that brings more buyers to their properties.