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Should New Agents Choose to List to Exist or be Busy With Buyers?

yardsignsSo, I know you’ve been watching the TV Guide channel trying to see when you can catch the next installment of “Are You Sure You Want to be a Realtor?” when you realized you got caught up in the re-runs above and missed the channel listing. Don’t worry, I’m not on TV and your next installment is right here.

Well, it’s crash course time and I’m about to get primed and ready for the license exam. Let’s hope it goes well. But, while I’ve got you here, there’s something I’ve read a little about, talked about, and now I’m asking for your opinion.

Do you List to Exist or Do Buyers Keep You Busy?

There’s a few different angles on this debate and to be honest, I see both sides. The good thing about being new in this wacky world of real estate is that by being new, I haven’t been conditioned to think a certain way. I’m open to different ideas and I love seeing you guys and gals explain yours. I’m leaning one way in this buyers vs sellers debate, but here’s what I think up to this point.

Old School Mentality

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First of all, I think the “list to exist” mentality is old school. Now that’s not to say “old school” is bad because it’s not. I simply mean it’s been around for a long time. So why has it lasted all this time? Well, the easy answer is that it works. Secondly, as people, we get stuck in traditions. It’s what we were taught, it’s what we’ve done, and it’s worked so we don’t change. Now, let’s look at why having listings were so important.

Although it may seem crazy to some of us, we haven’t always had cell phones, computers in our pocket, or tweets to stay in touch. Go even further back to before the brick-sized cell phones and beepers on your belt. How did real estate agents market themselves? After a talk with some bright people in the business, I think they marketed themselves by referrals and listings! Yes, having listings meant having your sign in yards which was indeed, a form of marketing. It still is today. The difference is that now we have other options and the weight of your marketing world doesn’t rely on your yard sign. It’s probably weighted significantly less now.

Another reason people seem to prefer listings is that they simply want to market their listings rather than drive around and spend lots of time with buyers who may be new to the area and require lots of attention. Perhaps it’s easier to let them come to you? Maybe listings are your forte and you’re simply good at getting them sold? You tell me, why are listings so important?

Buyers Be Where?

I think it’s no surprise that these days, buyers are on the internet. With 90% of homebuyers searching their home online, your web presence is easily your most important marketing tool. Granted, that goes for business in general. So, if buyers find me and keep me busy, do listings become a little less important?

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Here’s something I don’t quite understand. When it comes time for closing, the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent split the commission, correct? So, why does it matter which side I’m on? In business, being busy is a great thing and if the buyers are keeping me busy, isn’t that a good thing? The money is the same right?

The other side to this story is preference. It’s not all about the money, although it seems equal. I happen to love my city and really enjoy telling newcomers what there is to do, where to see a movie, where to take the family, and various other little keys to the city. Would it be against my better judgement if I would rather show buyers around than list multiple properties?

Give Your Take

I’ve presented you with a few of my ideas concerning working with buyer’s vs working with sellers. As long as we can handle the workload, we want to do both right? But, what is your forte? What are some points I’m missing on this matter? As I begin my career, which side of this fence do I need to focus my attention? Consider commenting to make your case.

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Written By

Michael is a copywriter turned social media maniac who digs marketing. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he has a degree in advertising with a minor in psychology. His theory: combining traditional advertising and old school values with the technology of today is a great way to go about your business. So what's he doing here? He's a real estate agent trying to find his way. He's taken his license and marketing ideas to @Homes Realty Group in Huntsville, Alabama. He's here to learn from you, the AG community, and hopefully share useful information with you in return. You can find Michael talking marketing at and his real estate blog is



  1. Ralph Bell

    March 5, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I never understood the reasoning for just being one or the other. To me it makes more since to do both. I would much rather be out showing buyers and have 5 listings on the market.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

      I agree Ralph. I think for any business busy is good. But I’ve seen the debate before so I’m curious as to which way people look at it now.

  2. BawldGuy

    March 5, 2010 at 10:26 am

    First off, good luck! You’re probably better equipped in so many ways to succeed than 98% of your competition. But that’s another post, right? Your choice depends upon you priority. What’s more important to you, the size of your bank account or the consistent generation of Kumbaya-brand endorphins? I’m employing a little tongue-in-cheek here, but not much. Buyer’s agents tend to opt for the latter, which is fine, cuz like you, I believe it’s not bad to be a buyer’s agent, just a choice I chose never to make.

    I’m not only OldSchool, when I started it was just called School. 🙂

    I wish I had time to really get into it this morning, but my schedule doesn’t allow for that. I’d love to talk with you though. You can get my cell from Lani.

    Again, great luck in whatever you choose to do.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 5, 2010 at 10:57 am

      Thanks for stopping in! I wish you could get more into it as well but I’ll take your word that you are busy this morning which is very important. Considering you seem to be a wise man I’ll put one on the board for listings.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

      I almost forgot, you mentioned the size of your bank account vs kumbaya and I’m taking that as listings put money in the bank and buyers are feel good work… But don’t both produce the same amount of commission?

      • Toby Boyce

        March 6, 2010 at 9:33 am

        I think bawlguy’s comment was more geared to that listings cost money to market and maintain their presence in the market. While generating buyers isn’t the same type of expensive. Theoretically they pay the similarly but the cost comes out of pocket before you get paid.

    • Janie Coffey

      March 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm

      I’d love to be in on that conversation and listen to your points Jeff 😉

  3. Mark Jacobs

    March 5, 2010 at 10:45 am

    List to last, buyers will come to you

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 5, 2010 at 11:00 am

      “Buyers will come to you” seems to be a legit point. But, aim for listings and let the buyers come to you sounds like just do both right?

  4. BawldGuy

    March 5, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Absolutely, but the real issue isn’t each deal’s commission. It’s how many deals do you want in a given period? Gotta go.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 6, 2010 at 1:29 am

      Volume. Got it.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 6, 2010 at 1:38 am

      If you read the rest of the comments, you’ll see where John made the same point – it’s not about the commission, but how many times you get that commission. It’s volume and that’s why listing agents produce so well.

      I admit when I’ve been schooled and credit is rightfully yours. Thanks for your insight.

  5. Brandon Thornton

    March 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Do both but work for buyers first and the listings will come to you. I worked with buyers the first couple of years and now I am doing both with great success even in this market. It is also about your moral value to the clients. It is so much more than just being an agent. After that how is your marketing and can you actually sell the home so you have to advertise and cross market etc etc. If you want to work with buyers do it. If you want to list do it but whatever you decide to do even if its both remember to do it WELL if you want to stick around and make it a career. Just my 2 cents. Hope everyone makes it for a great 2010.

    Call Brandon Thornton 573-552-5970 or 888-LAKEOZARK

  6. Dan Connolly

    March 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’m old school too. Personally i know the arguments on both sides of the issue. In a normal market you can make a strong case for listing focus. Today it’s different. We are in a full blown buyers market so if I had to pick one, the direction I would go is buyers agency. The fact is though, you don’t have to pick one. If you have the opportunity to list a property at the right price, its always a good thing. But the key is listing at the right price. When it came to deciding where to prospect, I would spend more time prospecting for buyers than sellers. Just an opinion.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      So in your case, the market dictates where you focus your attention to some degree. That makes total sense to me and is something that I admit I haven’t really considered. Thanks Dan. It’s indeed just your opinion, but it’s certainly valued here. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Jeremy Isaac

    March 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Having been licensed a mere 18 months myself (and being successful enough to still call this my full time vocation) I would tell you to just get out there and take whatever you can get. Frankly, getting listings right out of the gate is tough; picking up buyers tends to be MUCH easier, particularly if you harness the internet. The exception to this is short sales. My advice (and the strategy that has got me through the last 18 months) is to focus on buyers and short sale listings. Even if you decide to put more focus on listings down the road, the experience of working with a lot of buyers will only give you better perspective when you do list more… and don’t forget that those buyers you help now, WILL need an agent again in a few short years to LIST and BUY!

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 5, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      Buyers provide perspective down the road when you do get listings – that’s a great point Jeremy. And the fact that those buyers will need an agent when they sell is another one. You’re wise beyond your years of service to the industry man. Thanks for the insight!

      So far it looks like it’s take what you can get with an edge to the buyers side. We’ll see where else this goes.

  8. John Kalinowski

    March 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I learned from the master, Russell Shaw, and you should listen to him too. When you’re brand new, it’s much easier to pick up buyers because buyers don’t care about finding an agent. They just want to buy a house. Sellers are different in that they are looking for an agent. As a brand new agent, if you’re going to spend most of your time going after sellers, you’ll be competing against the big hitters like Russell, which is difficult, and very frustrating. Not saying you can’t do it, but it’s much easier to find buyers who are willing to work with you.

    As you gain experience, you’ll see that you can only actively work with (and close) so many buyers at a time. Probably 3 or 4 max. On the other hand, you can manage 20 or more listings just as easily, and you’ll have the whole agent community working for you seven days a week. That’s why the most consistent, long-term producers are listing focused. You’ll find it very difficult to find an example of a serious mega-producing agent who focuses only on buyer representation.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 6, 2010 at 1:11 am

      John, the biggest thing I get from your comment and the listing mentality is that it’s not really about commission. The point I made was that the commission is the same on either side, which is true. But, you made a great point – it’s about volume. You may only have time for 3 buyers, but you can manage 20 or more listings easily. Great point and well taken.

  9. Vicki

    March 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I work with both buyers and sellers, and find either can be wonderful, fun, exasperating, difficult, easy, demanding or any other word that can be used in relationships!

    The thrill of the hunt, for the best house that fits a buyer’s needs and budget can be very challenging, but rewarding when you complete the job. Helping sellers understand the details of getting their home ready to market, pricing it correctly, making it easy to show, then negotiating through the closing process is equally rewarding to me.

    For a new agent, the quickest paycheck is usually by working with buyers that you meet at open houses, attract through your website, or are referred to you by agents who don’t like working with buyers. Working with buyers is great experience that will make you much more knowledgeable when you start getting listings and need to figure out how to price a home. By working with a lot of buyers, you can really get to know the inventory in a fairly wide area and price range, and you learn how to deal with concerns that buyers bring up about details like floor plans, neighborhoods, privacy, schools, etc.

    After 16 years in the business, I still like to work with both, and feel that the experience I get on one side makes me a better agent when working on the other side.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 6, 2010 at 1:28 am

      I agree with you. It seems like work on either side can give you valuable experience for the other side. Plus, working with buyers helps you learn the market, the inventory, the area, etc.

      A wise man in advertising once told me, any work is good work. I’m pretty sure he was referring to work as experience and the same seems to hold true for real estate.

      Thanks for your thoughts Vicki!

  10. Joe Loomer

    March 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm


    a) Read The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and Shift – both by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan, Dave Jenks. MREA lays out models and systems – tells you how many people you have to meet in order to satisfy your goals.

    b) Listings do something for you Buyers can’t – and that’s give you Buyers. Sounds trite, but put it this way – in the age of syndication, a listing is everywhere. Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feeds level the playing field mildly, but the dilligent buyer will find the listing agent. Voila! A buyer has contacted you on your listing. They don’t end up buying your listing, but you convert them in to a client anyway – because of studying your scripts and market, they divine that Michael is going to be their agent – regardless of which home they buy. So now you sell two houses – the one you listed, and the one your buyer bought because they contacted you ABOUT the one you listed. FYI – will have YOUR contact information – not Joe Schmucatelli Agent’s IDX information with a “Broker Reciprocity” disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of the page.

    c) Gas where I’m at is $2.58 a gallon. One listing appointment costs me about eight bucks to get to and from – one buyer costs me ten times that. Lead with revenue. Go after expireds and For Sale By Owners – use your scripts, practice them with experienced agents until it’s smooth. Expired are easier – they’ve already failed to sell at a given price/condition.

    d) Vicki, John, and Bawldguy all have relevant points – this is just my two cents – piece together what you want to do and don’t reinvent the wheel. Do what you see other established agents doing to be successful. We (agents) are the kings and queens of blowing moolah on the “next best thing.” Hard work and perseverance trumps all.

    I am delighted your here – proof positive that Lani and Ben have a keen eye on what content works on this site – you are going to go viral.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 6, 2010 at 1:08 am

      Thank Joe. If you keep dropping wisdom like that you’re going to set a high standard for yourself! I must simply say, I get it. You’ve not only given me your take, but provided examples to bring them to life.

      I get the scenario stated in point B as well. However, it looks like both ways, buyers and sellers, can translate to the other. For example, your scenario says that a buyer contacts me about my listing, then wants me to help them buy the house they end up purchasing. I can also see how helping buyers would lead to listings when said buyer is ready to sell. Although that’s more of a down the road approach, it seems like a lot of real estate is setting things up for future business. But, your point is well taken as usual.

      And, the gas money it takes to pursue each side – that’s just down right practical isn’t it? Good point.

      Sometimes it takes me a minute to process the different comments and put it all together, but from Bawldguy, John, Vicki, and you, I will admit that I’m seeing how listing is a valuable approach.

      I made the argument that commission is the same whether you’re the buyer’s or seller’s agent. John made me realize it’s more about volume and you’ve shown me practical reasons why listings are so important.

      I also made the comment that in the old days, a yard sign was your marketing in a sense, and you’ve shown that now, listings not only give you a yard sign, but are syndicated everywhere, including the internet. I said your web presence is your most important marketing tool and you kind of used my own point against me there didn’t ya? Nice play.

  11. Jim Gatos

    March 5, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I am in the process now of seeking out a Showing Assistant; they can show, then I take over, write the offer, etc…

    When it’s justified, the showing assistant will get promoted and do my job, they hire a showing agent, etc,,

  12. Lisa Heindel

    March 5, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I don’t think it’s a “should” on either side of the fence. It’s what you like to do, what makes you happy, what makes you get up in the morning ready to tackle another day. When I was a new agent, my focus was on buyers simply because they were easier to find than a seller willing to take a chance on a rookie agent. Now, after 8 years, I am strictly a listing agent, but only because I have a wonderful partner who is a buyer agent. We formed our team to allow each of us to do the part of the job that we enjoy the most and have more skill at. Would I only be a listing agent without her? Probably not, but I don’t think I’d be as happy an agent either.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 6, 2010 at 1:18 am

      I’ve always thought there was something to be said for loving what you do and not dreading going to work. Getting up in the morning ready to tackle the day is definitely a great feeling. If you simply enjoy one side more than the other, then perhaps it’s wise to pursue only that side when you have the liberty to do so. However, I can see how just starting out you take what you can get. I’ll probably do the same.

      Sounds like after eight years, you found your niche and a great business partner.

      I guess it’s not a matter of “should” but a matter of trying both to figure out which one is your thing. Thanks for stopping by Lisa!

  13. Aaron Charlton

    March 5, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    To me it seems like listing is always the way to go, in any market. Buyers are a LOT of work. I would avoid listings that won’t easily sell, though. It seems like for every house that gets snapped up within 2 days, there are 10 that sit on the market for months. The ones that sit are mainly short sales and overpriced resales. Bank-owned homes are going really fast unless they are trashed.

  14. BawldGuy

    March 6, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Michael — Toby is right about costs of listings, but that wasn’t really my point. If the property is prepared for market properly, it sells almost immediately if not sooner. An example would be this time last year in San Diego. An investment client had a SFR rental in average-minus shape. We got tenants out, redesigned some things, and generally turned it into the block’s prom queen. It sold in two days for more than anything else had in the previous six months. Our marketing costs? The MLS. 🙂 No sign. No website. No flyers. Just value, and showin’ a little leg.

    Total time spent on the project? Including travel, about 10 hours.

    Also, let’s talk about the elephant in the room here. In my experience, the reason 90% of buyer’s agents choose that route is to avoid rejection and competition. I realize that sounds harsh, but I’ve seen it play out now for over forty years. Major listing agents are AlphaDogs. They hire buyer’s agents for chump change, who’re happy to be handed leads, flip on their taxi in service sign, and head out. 🙂

    Again, I mean no offense, but you’ll see what I’m talkin’ about as you gain more experience. A killer listing agent will pay more income tax than most buyer’s agents make.

    • Michael Bertoldi

      March 6, 2010 at 11:24 am

      No offense taken and I’m following you Bawldguy. Again, I don’t see turning away buyers early in your career but I can see how listings are very productive and why the mega producers focus on that side.

  15. Russell Shaw

    March 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Listen to BawldGuy

  16. Kevin Baker

    March 6, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I have been selling for almost 9 years and started in 2001 just after 9/11. Buyers were everywhere. Over the years I have come to realize that both buyers and sellers come with their own unique set of challenges and rewards. If your a new agent and short of money focus on the buyers, you have the time… as you get more seasoned you will find a nice balance of both sides.
    No matter what side of the table you are one, enjoy the process and the outcome… a happy client and a lifelong fan if you do it right!

  17. Benn Rosales

    March 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    If I were to do it all over again, I would find the Russell Shaw of my own market and become his understudy, his buyer agent, and his listing assistant (or her). I would learn every system that works and learn to integrate technology into those systems.

    The echo chamber of buyer agents online is strong, those folks seem to have a lot of time to devote to being online, but when I talk to listing agents, their number one complaint seems to be they’re to busy to be in the office. Just my observations 🙂

  18. Dan Connolly

    March 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I think its important to understand the development of an agent and to look at it from the real world perspective of how does a new agent make enough money to stay in business. In this market, getting the listings is highly competitive and I really wonder what approach would the “listings are the only way to go” folks be suggesting for a new agent to actually get listings? They will be competing with agents who have a mile of impressive statistics on their side. Plus, until you actually go out and look at some of the inventory, what knowledge can you actually bring regarding pricing?

    I have absolute respect for both BawldGuy and Russell Shaw and know that both of their models work wonderfully, but I always resist the idea that focusing on listings is the ONLY way to go. I sold 63 homes last year to buyers (by myself) and have enough buyer leads to send referrals to other agents. I didn’t work more than 40 hours a week and had time for vacations etc. During normal markets I would carry 15-20 listings at all times, and like I said earlier, I am always ready to list any home that a seller is willing to price correctly. The question is where do you spend your time prospecting for business. Most listing agents who do mega business (outside of REO) spend a tremendous amount of time prospecting. Either they do it or they hire people to do it.

    With the movement towards the internet as the first step in finding a home many agents with a strong internet presence talk to literally hundreds of qualified buyers a month. The way they find business is by answering the phone or responding to emails. I know people who are halfway to seven figure income in referrals alone (with buyers).

    There are a lot of different ways to make a career in real estate that will fit different personality styles. Working with buyers does not have to be chump change for losers.

  19. Debra Sinick

    March 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Get out there and beat the streets. Take time to preview properties, learn the builders, housing styles, the neighborhoods, schools, amenities, etc. Learn your area market stats to provide a ‘wow” factor to your clients. Use your experience in the field and your knowledge to help you gain credibility with both buyers and sellers.

    Good luck!

  20. BawldGuy

    March 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Hey Dan — What’s up? I’d never say becoming a listing agent is the only way to go, you’re right about that. Your point about new agents competing for listings in this market is excellent.

    I’ll suggest what I’ve been preachin’ from the mountain tops since Moses’ grandson died — find a bullet proof, super experienced mentor and become their bitch for a year. Put aside your ego and go all OldSchool on yourself as an apprentice. I’ve done this for several kids over the years, and with a couple exceptions, they’ve gone on to be successful agents. When I mentor someone, it’s what I’ve called ‘Roman Style’ mentoring. If it was baseball, the first morning you’d be hearing me say, “This is a baseball. Now go get me a cuppa coffee, and there better be enough cream in it.” 🙂 I believe in the ‘was on, wax off’ theory of teaching.

    It’s my opinion that becoming a buyer’s agent from the beginning tends to retard the new agent’s development, relatively speaking. I realize it’s only an opinion. Frankly, I listed a FSBO my first day of work when I was 18 years old. Sure miss those days. 🙂

    Seriously Dan, anyone who can close 5+ sales monthly on their own within a 40 hour a week time budget gets a major tip of the hat from me. That’s astounding to say the least. Anyone who can pull that off has my deepest respect with a capital R. You say in ‘normal’ times you carried 15-20 listings at all times. I think it’s high time you went all Russell Shaw on yourself. There’s no way you can’t do that now and more, due to your insistence on sellers facing the real market. Your props will sell sooner and for more cuz you flat know where the bodies are buried.

    Am I making any sense?

  21. Gwen Banta

    March 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    One point we seem to be overlooking is that most new agents do not start out with listings. Thus, being a buyers’ agent is almost mandatory. However, doing open houses for other agents allows you to poach clients. If you really work the circuit diligently, you will pick up even more buyers. The sign out front is a great sales tool, but so is the person inside the open house who greets the prospective buyer with warmth, intelligence, and enthusiasm.

    Okay, so we are still talking buyers, but these buyers will have friends and family to whom to refer you so you can start picking up listings. Eventually, many will want to sell the home you sold them and purchase another, thus garnering you even more listings This business is about building blocks. I don’t know if you know what Lincoln Logs are (I’m showing my age here) but think of building your business one log at a time, and soon you’ll own the entire town!

  22. Jim Gatos

    March 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    From personal observations, I’ve been in real estate since the mid 1980’s, I’ve seen most buyer agents max out at around 30 sales yearly. Maybe someone with a super large team like Russell Shaw can tell us what their feelings are on the subject, but about 30 is the max. Then either another agent is needed and so on and so forth. Keller Williams is teaching the agents now to hire a showing agent first, then when THEY max out, either hire a buyer agent to negotiate and manage the buyer pool and the showing agent pretty much works for the buyer agent, or promote the buyer agent and they in turn hire a showing agent. All this however, would be totally non existent without a listing inventory, let me add, a LARGE listing inventory and a SALABLE listing inventory. Realizing this, I took a BOLD step and decided to offer a “unique selling proposition”; since no one else was doing it, I adopted Russell’s variable rate commission program. I never met Russell (although the future may change that, LOL) but through a couple of emails I got some great advice and I deeply appreciate it. I also took the KW BOLD classes and got a lot of insight from there. I can tell you a couple of things I picked up…

    1. You will never last for the duration in this business without a large and salable (priced right) inventory (what business does?)
    2. Your personality type determines what you will be geared for. (The So Called “DISC” Test)… I am a Very High “D”, with almost no “I” and middle of the road “S” and “C”…
    3. If you are meant to work buyers, you probably will do well on a team setting. You need the leads from somewhere…
    4. Everyone on a team helps everyone compensate for some task or ability they are weak at. Once everyone realizes that synergy takes place.

    So, in conclusion I think the question is not buyers or sellers… I think it’s more “environment. In the right environment anyone can do anything!.

  23. Janie Coffey

    March 6, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    here’s my take on things for a new agent, especially if your area is declining or declined…. working with buyers gives you a lot of opportunity to get out and see the inventory, see how agents market their property and see how buyers evaluate their choices. And, while it does take gas and time, it doesn’t take as much as marketing a listing for 3, 6, 12+ months. When you are just starting out, you tend to be far less picky about who you work with (often out of necessity) and while you can “cut bait” with an unrealistic or looky loo buyer quite easily, it is much harder to do with a listing client. If you take on a listing that is overpriced (knowingly or not) you are going to spend a lot of time and money marketing it to no end, now multiply that by 5, 10 listings and you can see alot of money going out the door and very little coming in. Not to mention the frustration factor for you and the listing clients.

    I would say plan for the future, but if you take listings make sure they are priced to sell and the sellers are realistic. This is sometimes harder to do when you are just starting out… Don’t just take a great listing that is overpriced to help get buyers, hoping the seller will reduce or to get experience. It’s not fair to the new agent or the seller and just gets aggravating.

    My quick two cents.

  24. Matt Stigliano

    March 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Michael – Great question to kick off your posts (your first was more of an introduction). For me, listings weren’t an option at first, mainly because I felt I lacked the experience I wanted to have before diving in. It was about six months in before I took my first one and I have to say, I wasn’t even completely prepared then. I overpriced it in my eagerness to make the client happy and about four months later, they realized they couldn’t sell for what they wanted (we didn’t have a single showing) and they decided to stay there – thus canceling the listing. I learned a lot from that first one.

    My photos were lousy, my descriptions were terrible, and my pricing was out of line. I fell flat on my face with that listing, but I never let that happen again. I learned to handle objections better and to talk to my clients in a straight forward way about their home. Although I wouldn’t call myself the king of listings, I’m working to make that a reality over time.

    When you first begin, those sellers will be harder to find than buyers as most people pointed out. You having a background in marketing could be beneficial, but you’ll still have to find those sellers and gain their trust. My first listing appointment ever, I lost to another agent. It’s the only one I’ve ever lost. One of the best things I did was call the seller up and ask her outright to grade my performance. What was good, what was bad. Lucky for me, she was willing to give me some great advice. I remember I was nervous during the appointment, but she said I didn’t show it. In my head, I thought I was a sweaty, shaky mess. She gave me a lot to think about – so I would definitely recommend thanking everyone afterward with a phone call and asking them to review you…be upfront with them about being new and wanting to learn. I was shocked at how frank the seller was with me.

    I say go for both as much as you can when you start. Find where your skills are and expand them. If you suck at listings, you might not want to pursue them in the long term – I think some people are better suited to either or, you just have to find your place in the real estate world. Somehow, I think you’ll be good at listing.

  25. Jonathan Benya

    March 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I haven’t been in the business for too many years, but I would certainly take the “old school” approach any day!

    Here’s Why:

    handling buyers or seller, you need a strong web presence, right?

    With well priced listings, I can get buyers, and use my listings as marketing tools for myself and my team (it’s like getting paid twice!)

    Buyers are a single transaction, but with sellers, I have the potential for both sides of the commission, and also the possibility of another purchase through the seller and/or a relocation referral.

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