18 July 16  |  Living   |  

Where Do Luxury Home Buyers Come From? Secrets Continued

By Janet Fetterman, Royal Shell Realtor®

In this age of information and misinformation, luxury home buyers come from many electronic sources. Once again, more often than not, your listing is the bait to connect a buyer with an agent. Depending on which study you read, expert sources are reporting that 93 to 98 percent of all buyers begin their search online. That is pretty startling!

The public is quite educated about who those sources are. The public’s perception of the effectiveness of those sources is where the misinformation part comes into play.

MLS Serves as Best Source

The local Multiple Listing Source (MLS) is, of course, best described as “The Market.” This is a centralized platform where all its participants (agents) pay to belong to and to showcase their inventory for sale. For this service, all agents agree to offer commissions to all other agents who bring a buyer to their listing that results in a sale that closes.

The dirty little secret regarding the MLS is that their coverage is limited. The MLS will showcase properties in a specific geographic area, such as Marion County, or perhaps multiple counties. From this foundation, the expansion on the web is only as good as its affiliated portal feeds. Royal Shell Real Estate has more than 84 listing syndication feeds. We cast a pretty wide net.

The portal feeds to platforms, such as Trulia, realtor®.com and Zillow, are offered “free” for all listings due to the alliance between the MLS and the platform company. The dirty little secret is that these platforms use your listing as bait to sell other agents preferred standing in the feed. Agents pay to be in the preferred agent window on each listing page. I’ve done it, I’ve bought these preferred “placement zip codes.”

model home on a keyboard

Often times the pitch to agents is that there are a limited number of preferred agents in a zip code service area. Surprisingly, I’ve found that in those periods leading up to the end of a contract period, or after a complaint from me, the number of buyer leads magically increases, sometimes even doubling. It has happened with each of these platforms too many times than I care to remember. They manipulate the numbers obviously.

Platforms May Have Incorrect Listing Information

Those same platforms may have listing misinformation in them. Sometimes the information is old. Sometimes the information is missing completely and the agent who is popping up on the page to answer questions about the house is not the listing agent so that the agent won’t know of these errors. Quite often the house is no longer available because it is under contract in pending status and the feed update has not transpired, sometimes for weeks. You see, there is no “information police” and the portals upstream continue to perpetuate the error. The old adage “garbage in-garbage out” is appropriate.

When a listing agent attempts to correct errors it becomes a grand game of “Go Fish.” Accountability and finger pointing ensue and that is only after the agent has spent hours on the phone – providing they actually have live humans to speak to at customer service.

The takeaway here is that the best source of buyers will come from the internet. It would appear that the more feeds and portals a broker has, the more exposure your listing has on the internet. But in the end, it is an agent who acts as the conduit to marry a buyer to your home.

I’ve been matchmaking luxury home buyers to homes for 21 years.  Give me a call at (352) 369-6969 or email me at Janet@RoyalShellSales.com so we may discuss how to position your home for the maximum number of suitors!

Comments are closed here.