I closed on a listing yesterday for a home in a Chesterfield subdivision, River Bend Estates, that has one agent that carries ‘almost all’ of the homes listings in the subdivision…at least that’s what my clients told me when they hired me to be their listing agent.

They live in the subdivision, and probably get mail from this agent every month. So they assume she has the majority of the market share in River Bend Estates. Still, I wondered if she really was THE agent in this subdivision, so I checked for myself. Since Jan. 1, 2005, there have been 46 homes that were listed by an agent and sold in this subdivision. This agent that supposedly has the subdivision, only had 2 of the listings. She did have 3 of the buyers that purchased in the subdivision, including the buyer for my listing that closed yesterday. Still with 46 agents having listings, and another 46 agents bringing buyers to the deals, 5 out of 92 doesn’t sound like a market leader to me. I’m not saying she isn’t a great agent…and I appreciate how smoothly the deal with her went. BUT, I do challenge the concept that she is the only agent that knows that subdivision.

I found the same experience in University City where I live. I get mail from 4 or 5 agents periodically who are doing what the real estate industry calls farming, meaning they send their mailings to an entire subdivision or area regularly. There is one agent in particular that sends mailings each month, and I love her mailings. Rather than sending silly recipe cards or homes that she just sold, she sends out market information about recent sales in the area. Now, I realize that all of the sales listed on her postcards were not homes she personally listed or sold, but I have a feeling that many people in the area assume that these were her listings.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to check and see who is selling homes in University City, and how much of the market share each agent really has.

Here is the rundown for University City:

In 2007, there were 243 single family homes listed and sold that were priced over $200,000.

Agent Rank Number of Closed Sales
1 14
2 12
3 9
4 7
5 7
6 6
7 5
8 4
9 4

The top agent for listings had only 6% of the home listings! The top 9 agents combined had only 28% of the listings. The remaining 72% of listings were by agents that had 3 or less listings in University City during the year.

But what about that agent that sends me great mailings every month and tops her signs with a “I LOVE UCITY” sign rider (which definitely makes them stand out…great marketing idea!).

She didn’t even make the top 9 list.

She actually had 3 of the 243 listings and only 1 of the buyers. I guess she isn’t the market leader in University City that her mailings would suggest.

So, the next time you are thinking of listing your home, don’t just assume that the agent that mails you a postcard every month is the only agent that really knows your area.

Ask for referrals from people you know. Check out agent websites and see how they market their listings on the internet (where 84% of the home buyers start their search according to the National Association of Realtors survey in 2007). Meet a few agents and see if you connect in person. Then take the leap and choose the agent that you think is best of you because of their personality and approach…not just because you saw their name on the shopping carts in your nearby grocery store.