In days of old, home sellers would select a realtor based on referral or the agent's own marketing outlets. Pursuing such avenues, a client enters into the relationship with any number of question marks. After all, an agent might be fine when buyer and seller are in agreement and the property has few inherent issues. If, on the other hand, the parties play contractual hardball and needed repairs are pending, can the same realtor achieve the client's aims without the whole deal blowing up? Real estate agent matching sites help to find the optimal realtors for both buyers and sellers.
The first asset an agent matching site offers is an abundant pool of real estate agents, each possessing unique experiences in terms of sales prices, repair contingencies, clientele and contractual terms. The services look for particular competence in a wide array of home values, localities and property types, e.g. primary residences, second homes or investment properties. The realtors can be affiliated with national and global brokerage franchises like Century 21 or Sotheby's. Alternatively, they might work for smaller, independent offices. What matters most to matching services is a track record of success without cutting any professional or ethical corners. Sites such UpNest or Homelight pair integrity with results.
Another strength of these sites is that they are financially supported by each closed sale. There are no flat annual fees that realtor affiliates must pay. Instead, the matching company contracts with the agent to receive a percentage of the commission. On the face of it, this might sound like a bad deal for the realtor. The promise, however, is that the real estate agent can make up for it in volume -- volume acquired through the matching site. This arrangement provides rich incentive for the realtor to go the extra distance on behalf of the property seller. In other words, there's more where that came from.
In addition, realtor matching sites utilize state-of-the-art technology to compile all kinds of data on both realtor and neighborhood. So, a seller looking for the ideal person to market his or her house can visit the site; enter rudimentary information about the property and location; and receive a selection of realtors and their recent sales in the subject neighborhood. Depending on where the house is, the service may find agents in the immediate vicinity or might draw from a wider radius. These agencies have not yet penetrated every region or community.
While these enterprises have gained traction with both home sellers and real estate agents, not everyone finds merit to them. In a recent article, Forbes magazine reported their difficulty in getting a foothold among high-end sellers: "The upscale tier of residential real estate, though, seems less susceptible to such innovations. Luxury, after all, denotes customization and exclusivity, which do not necessarily blend well with technology intended to simplify and streamline the larger industry." While the door is not closed by luxury-grade home values, the culture is resistant to finding professionals by utilizing online platforms.
Agent matching sites seek to attract customers by assuring them of quicker sales for more money -- every seller's aim, of course. As firms receive an increasing number of leads from these referral sites, their agents will be tested by these twin criteria. Since seasoned agents are their stock and trade, new agents can be inspired to double down with quality service in order to qualify for a matching site. Or, they might just give up, believing the odds are against them. One thing is for sure: the professional practice of real estate conveyance will never be the same again.