Thursday, December 11, 2008

Big City Realtor or Active Small Town Realtor. What is your best move?

There is always a struggle between smaller companies located in the satellite towns located around the bigger cities and the larger companies located in the cities as to who can best service the real estate needs of people who want to buy or sell in the rural towns and areas outside of the metropolitan centers. Of course, in large part, that depends on the aggressiveness and nature of the smaller companies.

So, let's talk about Real Estate Marketplace whose 20 or so agents are experts in the northern Spokane and Southern Stevens and Pend Oreille (Pronounced "Ponderay")Counties. Deer Park, Elk, Clayton, Loon Lake, Springdale, Chewelah, Addy, are some of the towns located in this general area. Additionally, it includes Deer Lake, Eloika Lake, Loon Lake, Davis Lake, Sascheen Lake, Long Lake and Diamond lake.

Besides Real Estate Marketplace, in this area and in Spokane, there are a number of smaller agencies who each serve their own circles of influence. In Spokane, two companies dominate the market, Tomlinson (Black) and Windermere. These two companies have, I believe, in excess of 300 agents who serve their clientele well.

(Disclaimer, I spent 7 years working with Tomlinson Black North and have nothing but good feelings for that company in general, the North office in particular and the many friends I have there. Leaving four years ago was a very difficult decision for me. I look forward to working with them every time I sell one of their listings.)

A quick review of all current active listings and all sales of properties in our general area of operations listed on or after 01/01/08 show generally the same ratios.

RE Marketplace Tomlinson Windermere
40 62 60 Active listings
11 17 16 Sold listings

When you consider Real Estate Marketplace's 20 agents are competing with the 300+ agents in these two companies, it is obvious how much more efficiently the 20 agents in Real Estate Marketplace are working our area of influence. Listings at roughly 66 percent against each of the large companies. Sales at roughly 60 percent against each of the other offices.

The rest of the companies both in and out of Spokane trail well below Real Estate Marketplace.

Now, we come to the question, "I want to list my north Spokane, Southern Stevens or Pend Oreille County home. I see looking at your numbers Mr. Atherton, Tomlinson has sold more than you guys have and has listed more than you guys have. Why shouldn't I list with them and get ALL the advantages of the Big City Realtors over you little town Realtors."

Well, because the law of averages says 300+ agents are more likely to sell more real estate than 20 agents. In Fact,they should sell fifteen times more. Yet, they do not. What this says is the Real Estate Market agents are out there working this area very hard. Our smaller numbers are bringing more energy per capita to each listing or sale in this area.

Why do we sell and list so much of the real estate in this area? We live here. We know the history of many of the properties in this area, we intuitively know what is going on in the area. We actively work the area. We know people who want to buy and sell but who may not be quite on the market yet.

Our agents are sprinkled throughout this roughly 2000 sq mile area (50 miles NS and about 40 miles EW). So, each of us bring a subset of knowledge to the office then by actively cooperating with each other weave a thick mat of expertise and knowledge which blankets the area from which you the buyer or seller can benefit.

Another factor is the servicing level. Spokane is 15 miles south of Deer Park. Chewelah is yet another 30 miles up the road. Diamond lake is 25 miles or so north. We live here, we do not have to drive here to show a home. It is far more convenient for our agents to service the listings in this area. Time is money and gas can get pretty expensive.

Finally, we need to look at the technology driving today's market. Eighty-five percent of the searchers start on line! We are all on line. You are reading this because you are on line. The MLS is on line. Everything to do with real estate is on line. The Internet has been the great influence leveler. The larger companies do not bring more to the table than do the smaller companies. In fact, it comes down to each individual agent. How hard do you work and where do you work.

We work very hard and we work in your back yard. We are the one who can help you best! Dave Atherton (509) 216-8589,

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