Large Company Or
A Small Company?

Carolyne (Realty) Corp.
1-(888) SOLD-ONE


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Should I list with a large company or a small company?
(or what company size does have to do with it all, anyway)

Copyright © CAROLYNE REALTY CORP. This information may not be reprinted or reproduced in any form without the written consent of the copyright holder. This material is part of a chapter in a forthcoming book - now in draft format only; this article is long. It is meant to be. The information will not fit on a single page; read it at your leisure.

Disclaimer: Laws vary from state to state, province to province and sometimes even within tiny jurisdictions. Study your local laws and base your decisions accordingly.

The size of the company you list with has nothing whatsoever to do with how fast your house will sell, how many people will view it, and/or how high a price, or not, that you will receive for it. Truly the market determines these things, not the agents, and certainly not the size of the company.

When you sign a listing, the agent/representative does not own your listing, the company does. Nearly all real estate companies belong to a real estate board (but not all) and must belong to a board to call themselves a REALTOR® . Remember - all real estate is local (very local). Under all is the land.

Rules and regulations that apply in one location perhaps do not apply in another. Most companies use the services of at least one MLS system, and many use more than one, depending upon what trading-areas they service.

It costs the company money to use the services of an MLS system, and it costs your agent money as well; so, small company or large, your agent's goal is to get your house sold for you. The methods of paying for MLS systems and the related methods of conducting business vary; some charge per listing, others charge an annual fee to belong to a Board and sometimes this fee covers the use of the MLS system.

Either way, we all (small companies and large ones) use the same methods of eliciting a sale for you. MLS (Multiple Listing System) is merely a vehicle used by agents as an information-sharing device and, in most cases, a method of describing how agents will be paid when they produce an offer for the Seller. In some areas the MLS is owned outright by a particular Real Estate Board (plans for the future indicate that this may change over the next few years). The Board makes rules and regulations as to who can use the MLS system and who can do what within the system. Agents must follow strict guidelines.

By putting your home on your local and surrounding area MLS system(s), your agent is doing so in order to attract a Buyer for your home by sharing your listing information with his/her colleagues, both local and long-distance. Remember - two sales have to occur after your listing is in place, in order to sell your home. Your listing agent, personally, has to sell your home to his/her colleagues (typically through the MLS system), then to the public, simultaneously.

The chances of your own agent bringing you an offer is slim to none but it does happen. Ideally you are hiring your agent to negotiate the very best contract for you once an offer is on the table. Regardless of who brings the contract - through the MLS system having been used or from a sign call from their own client who saw the sign on your home, or from any sort of Internet or print-based advertising that the would-be Buyer located. Either way, it is all about information-sharing.

That is why you signed your listing designating how the co-op would be handled. Your choice entirely. You can offer whatever compensation you feel is standard in your community or trading area if there is such a thing (it's all negotiable), or you can offer a bonus to the agent who brings the offer. Careful. It is what it is, based solely on your contract wording.

Now, none of these situations or issues or descriptions of how your house gets sold has anything whatsoever to do with the size of the company you hire to do your business. Sometimes agents at big companies will put down their colleagues at small companies, and - sometimes the reverse happens. Your choice should be for your own personal and private reasons, and largely has nothing to do with being based on the size of the company itself. There are some extremely successful entrepreneurial sole-agent operations out there who will, and do, work very hard to get your house sold.

Agents who work for large companies often do so only because they don't know anything about administrative work and don't want to know, thus allowing the big company to do all the behind the scenes work. Sometimes those agents list your house, hand in the paperwork to the office and you never hear from them again or see them either, until such time as an offer appears, if and when it does. Others are excellent at what they do and can almost be described as running a company within a company - which is what I did when I worked for a national provider of real estate services. I did my own thing pretty much and did not rely on the office help as a back-up. I had my own private secretary working out of my own home for years. Because she had no direct contact with the public per se, most of my clients didn't even know she existed, except to take my messages when I was out of the office.

For agents who work in large offices/companies, it's sometimes all about pushing the volume of paperwork through and getting another deal together, not about any sort of relationship directly between the agent, the company, and the client. Sometimes there is a specific person at a big company or in a team environment who writes the ads or promo materials. Often it is not your agent. Someone is delegated to take pictures of your home, and do other administrative functions so the agent can already be out listing the next house on his/her list. This is not a negative; it is just what it is. It's however the office works, depending on its size; each and every one is different.

But in a small company environment you are likely to be dealing directly with the owner, who is perhaps the president or Broker of Record for the company. As a result, it can be possible for you to maintain a more advantageous position sometimes, particularly if you are the sort of personality who wants to be involved in the process in a more personal way, and want or demand one-on-one service; perhaps even having your agent attend personal meetings with your attorney or law office if there is a personal crisis going on.

A small company or its owner can provide this one-on-one service sometimes more readily, or more easily but more often just because he/she wants to give you that personal extra service. You will often find that a sole operator company has gone into this sort of business on their own because they want to stay small. They do not ever want to "grow the company." That concept was never on the mind of the sole owner in many instances.

A small company is based and built on personalized service. If that is what you want, then that is who you hire to list your property. Chances are someone from the big company may actually be the one to bring your offer and by all means that is ok. It is more than ok. It is wonderful, because you don't care who buys your house. That getting of the offer is the actual goal. How it gets there should not matter to you. But your personalized attention from your listing agent may make the difference in how it is all handled and the ease of the situation may be worth something to you personally. Perhaps consider doing business and listing your home for sale with a small firm or an independent company when you are ready to sell. Check out your local independent REALTOR® before you list. Everyone could win-win. And that's really what it is all about. In the real estate business, small is not a negative thing, not at all. With the world of the Internet leveling the playing field, small has access to many more vehicles than in the past and you may be in for a pleasant surprise. You could get that big company feeling and still get the one-to-one attention.

If you require a hands-on approach to doing business you may be better off dealing with a small company in some cases. Your listing will still get all the typical MLS exposure and other forms of marketing delineated by your service contract - because the large company and the small company typically use the same MLS services and your home will be exposed to the right buyer either which way.

It has been my personal experience having worked for a large national company, then opening my own real estate brokerage house in 1991, that the public suffers from a great deal of lack of information or manages to locate misinformation, created by their own lack of understanding as to how the real estate business really works. The owners sometimes think that if they list with a large company, a sale will happen faster and they will get more money for their house. Not true. Like everyone among us, we don't know what we don't know until we find out that we don't know it. Then we set about trying to figure it all out.

This is not to say anything negative about large companies, it truly isn't, but what I am saying is that you need to investigate "all" your options before deciding where you will place your contract when you list your house. I repeat. The size of the company you list with has nothing whatsoever to do with how fast your house will sell, how many people will view it, and how high a price, or not, that you will receive for it.

Here is part of a letter received by Carolyne thanking her for the help provided in the sale of the owner's property. It addresses the exact description of what can happen when you choose not to work with a large company, and rather choose to work with a small firm instead. They wrote [in part]:

So, this is just a small example of why you may want to consider hiring a small company, or an independent company (non-franchise company) to work for you when you are ready to buy or sell real estate. Whether large or small, we all use basically the same services. We all help each other; we all share the same information. It's really all about who can negotiate the best contract at the table when an offer is presented.

For example, I sell other companies' listings and they sell mine. That's what it is all about. Getting for you the best price in the shortest time possible, giving adequate exposure to your listing. The information is garnered through the MLS systems, and through this information-sharing device all REALTORS® have the same access to the same information. So perhaps you can see now that whether you list with a small company or a large company, it will have no impact on how your business is handled or what the end- result will be.

Here is the correspondence footer we use to describe how, as a small company, we work:

Proudly putting my name to my work:

Carolyne Realty Corp.

Small Company but we're BIG in Brampton and Burlington - where it's the LITTLE things that count, and our reputation is on the SOLD sign.

905-458-6711 or 1-888-SOLD-ONE (1-888-765-3663)


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©1998 by Carolyne Lederer PLEASE NOTE: this material is copyrighted by Carolyne Realty Corp. and may not be reprinted or duplicated in any form without the written consent of the copyright holder.