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The Brand Vs. The Agent: Which is More Important?

Thursday September 9, 2021


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There are numerous brands that are synonymous with selling real estate. You can probably name at least five of them right off the top of your head. When you drive around town, you see the signs, and you immediately associate those brands with the real estate industry. 

But when it comes to selling your home or finding a new house to buy, does the brand really mean anything? Sure, many real estate brands come with years of pedigree, experience and a certain amount of prestige, but when it comes to working with individuals, does the brand actually hold any weight at all? 

Let’s take a closer look…

The Benefit of Working with a Big Brand

Essentially, it all comes down to trust. The big brands got where they are based on years of experience and hard work. The business model works and as a result, they have established themselves as a trustworthy name in the industry. People like working with names they recognize because they know what to expect. 

At a more granular level though, what exactly do the big brands offer that smaller brands do not? 

Real Estate is Actually All About People

The big brands would not be where they are today without the hard work and dedication of their agents. Real estate is a people-driven industry. At its heart, it’s a service industry, and the fact is that “brands” are not the ones creating lasting relationships and going above and beyond to make sure you can achieve your real estate goals. That’s up to the individual agents. 

When you choose to work with a real estate agent, you are hiring a person with experience, ideas and feelings. You get a connection with someone who has the ability to advocate for you during one of the most important financial decisions of your life. It’s about the individual, not the brand. 

Big Brands are Essentially Franchises

Bigger brands only make money when they have a lot of agents under their banner. In most cases, agents pay a fee for the use of the brand as well as resources like office space, advertising, marketing and more. 

As a homeowner, there isn’t a huge difference between working with a big brand and an individual agent or a smaller team. On the surface, the only difference is really the logo that appears on your lawn sign. 

Brands Don’t Do the Work–People Do

Even if an agent is associated with a big, well-known brand, this is not a magic tool that will somehow make your real estate transaction more successful. The real benefit comes from the agent’s personal knowledge, marketing ability, negotiation skills, organization and more. It’s less about what the brand does, and more about what the individual agent is doing. To be perfectly frank, there are good and not-so-good agents everywhere–even within the big brands. 

For small and big real estate companies alike, the business model remains pretty similar. Real estate is a highly regulated industry, so the real difference comes from the individuals you choose to work with, not the brands. 

If you’re planning to buy or sell in Hamilton or Waterdown, it’s important to choose a local agent to represent your best interests. Check out our blog on why you should work with a local agent here.

The Internet Changed Things

Today, most buyers start their search online, which has opened up an entirely new world for agents to promote their listings. Gone are the days when only highly established, big brands could afford to advertise their listings and get exposure. Today, smaller brands are doing more with fewer resources, and have the ability to promote and sell real estate at the same level as the big guys.

Reasons to Work with a Smaller Brand

As a homeowner, working with a small brand has definite benefits. Remember how we said that real estate was all about making lasting relationships? When you work with a smaller brand, you can really get to know the team, and vice versa. With a smaller team, you’re more likely to receive VIP service since the team is working together with fewer clients. Unlike the big brands that might have hundreds or even thousands of agents on their roster, you won’t just be a number. 

For agents, the benefits of joining a smaller team rather than a big brand are also pretty significant. As previously mentioned, big brands often charge big fees for the ability to associate with the name. Instead of investing a ton of money into costs toward the franchise, smaller teams can spend wisely on more important resources and reinvest money into things that will provide value like more administrative support and marketing. They can also provide more hands-on mentoring and services to help the agents excel. 

Interested in a career in real estate? Here are a few resources to get started:

At the end of the day, a real estate brand has two groups of clients: homeowners and agents. It’s the job of the real estate brand to service both these groups and ensure each group is supported and provided with the tools to succeed. 

Ready to make a move? Reach out to us today here for any of your real estate questions. We’re always happy to connect!

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