There’s nothing that makes me hate my chosen profession more than leafing through a local glossy magazine. There are lots of glossies here, most notably that Summer Homes For City People glossy. That’s a heck of a magazine, but you knew I’d say that. In spite of my magazine being the only magazine of importance and relevance, there are others that persist. I made the mistake of thumbing through one of these magazines over the weekend, and what I discovered left me weary for this business of real estate.
The issue isn’t Realtors, themselves. They’re fine, really. The issue is advertising. The issue is what we choose to say about ourselves in the hope that someone will believe us. The glossy I read through featured heaps and heaps of advertisements for brokers and their Realtors, and I thought I might lend a bit of MLS based fact checking to the advertised claims. I’m all for self promotion (see: this blog, my magazine, my life, etc), but there’s a reason why my self promotion is heavy on specifics: I want to be taken seriously.
Without further ado and in no particular order, the ads I stumbled upon:
One claimed 33 reasons why a brokerage is super amazing. I did some research this morning and found that the Walworth County average closed sales (2018) for those 33 particular reasons was $1.67MM. For perspective and context, during 2016/2017 I averaged over $4MM in sales, per month.
Another ad, this one really fancy looking. The agent has been closing lakefront deals on Geneva, since quite a long time ago. Some MLS searching to provide background on the advertisement revealed that indeed this agent has put together single family lakefront deals on Geneva. Four of them, in total. I, also have closed a few lakefronts on Geneva. 48 of them since 2010, and more before that, but alas, I don’t even have an ad in the magazine.
There’s some mention in other ads of agents winning awards from their companies. Watches, gold circles, platinum things. This is nice for these agents and their host companies. One such company gives away a watch the first year you sell $10MM with the company. I sent an email to the company asking if I’d qualify for 4 watches for 2017 based on my production, of if I’d be capped at just one watch. (I jest)
Ooh, here’s another ad. This one is sleek. Super sleek. This agent sells lots of houses that afford the lake lifestyle. To review the claim, let’s look through the MLS…. That agent has sold one home with lake access or lakefront on Geneva this year. One. This does not make for a terrific year, but it does make for a great ad.
There’s no need to go on and on, as I think you have likely grasped my concern. As a consumer in the market you’ll need to figure out which agent you should use to represent you. Sadly, the lakefront market on Geneva is hot, which is attracting more and more agents to the lakefront fray. You can’t blame them, as it’s the biggest pie and everyone longs for a slice. Unfortunately, no matter what the ads say, not every agent is a lakefront specialist. Not every agent has success in specific market segments. If you’re an agent and you do a terrific job selling in Geneva National, then put that in your ads. I have a horse farm for sale (it’s amazing, really), near Clinton, Wisconsin. The fact that I have this farm for sale does not make me an Equestrian Property Expert.
This morning, it’s just another reminder, I suppose. If you need an attorney to help with your Last Will, please don’t hire a personal injury attorney. If you need a mechanic to replace your timing belt, don’t drop your car off at the bicycle repair shop. If you need a Lake Geneva area Realtor to help with your purchase or your sale, choose an agent with a pattern of success in the specific segment that has your attention. If you’re looking for a Realtor to assist you in Des Moines or Hinsdale, do the same.