Last month, the Houston Association of Realtors was forced to ditch a map-based tool called “Realtor Match” that let consumers see which agents had sold what by ZIP code or neighborhood. Apparently, the realtors cried foul & torpedoed the tool. Why agents get so touchy about having their sales data public is beyond me.
I do have a theory though. Agents are posers. Well, not all of us, but one must admit there is disproportionate level of puffery in our business. Grab any business card and you will most likely see the agents name followed by some important sounding, albeit indefinable, title. And maybe the card will be peppered with equally vague acronyms of accreditations that frankly most people have never even heard of. Granted some realtors have indeed cultivated a niche market and have earned the right to brand themselves accordingly. However, there is just something disingenuous about inserting some abbreviations behind your name on a business card and all of a sudden you are a specialist. Wow, you pay for a weekend course about Luxury Homes, and voila, you’re luxury specialist! (Nevermind the fact that you never sold a house close to a million dollars…I mean, no one is going to ask. It‘s on your business card, so it has to be true, right?)
The same hype goes for agents’ websites & their social media. It’s almost absurd the lengths agents will go to in order to establish their cred. They drop buzz words like top producer, neighborhood expert, green specialist, local native. They post shaky flip-cam videos of their neighborhood attractions (what are we? Tour guides now?!). They regurgitate blog about some real estate article in their local paper. But what kills me is they do all this, without ever mentioning what homes they have sold.
Um, reality check: Realtors sell property. That is our job. Our sales history is probably our best asset to promote ourselves. Numbers don’t lie. One’s track record should speak for itself. If you have nothing to hide, you ought to be proud of your sales. Of the hundreds of websites I’ve perused, I can count on one hand the number of realtors who disclose their hard sales data. (and I am not talking about those agents who post “recent transactions” on their site with homes they sold half a decade ago!)
What happened to a culture of transparency? If you really are a top producer, prove it. If you really are the neighborhood specialist, show us your stats. It ain’t bragging if you can back it up. If you can‘t, then don’t brand yourself as such! Branding means squat (to clients or fellow agents) if you can’t justify it. Otherwise, it just comes off like a bunch of hot air. It’s like boasting on and on to a client about all the fabulous features of a house, but never ever mentioning the price. Your ill-fated attempt at marketing will just look like smoke and mirrors. As they say, too much window dressing is often just an attempt to hide a lackluster product.
But that’s the rub. My aforementioned theory is that most agents can’t back it up. Or rather, the public persona they are trying so hard to project really isn’t in line with who they really are or what they have really sold. I suspect agents who weave an overly glossy version of themselves and their careers are the ones who decried Realtor Match. (Can we say insecure?). I also suspect agents who are confident with themselves & their careers have no problem with having their sales data aired publicly.
How do you feel about having your sales data posted (like it or not, it will eventually happen)? What are your theories why Realtor Match was buried shortly after its debut? Are we just posers?