Should REALTOR Sales Statistics be Public?

J Philip Faranda August 13, 2010

This post was inspired by the recent Agent Genius article entitled “Realtor matching Ends- Are Agents Just Insecure Posers?” The article examines the circumstances around the Houston Association of Realtors program that (shutter) disclosed how many homes member agents sold in a given locale. Very transparent move if you ask me. But the program was ended. But why? What is so taboo about asking the question 

“How many homes like mine have you sold in the past year?” 

It is a simple question, but all too few agents will give you a number. Oh, they’ll tell you they  have been a Triple Micronium producer or on the top team, whatever that means. It all sounds great. But here’s the deal: 90% of all the listings are sold by 10% of the agents. I’ll put it another way: In my zip code we have 3 large companies with offices of 40 or more licensees and another half dozen with anywhere from 1 to 20 licenses. That is over 200 salespeople. In the month of July, those 200 salespeople sold exactly 5 single family homes in this zip code.  

There are 51 active listings, so there are plenty of people who listed with someone who somehow finessed the fact that they haven’t sold much of anything in a dog’s age. They might have stated that they work for a big company, productive office, or some other larger truth that obfuscates the reality on the ground that they themselves are not doing very much. 

The problem here, and take it from a guy that lists dozens (probably 75 or so) of expired listings a year, is that all that flowery gibberish breaks down when the seller realizes that the 2004 top office producer award means nothing in 2010, or 30 years in the business can really be one year repeated thirty times. Sad to say, but many agents flat out stink, and they refuse to admit it isn’t 1986 anymore. 

I am in the top 10 agents in my MLS of 7000 for transaction totals going back to 2007. A large part of my marketing is trading on that production, and it does make a difference. I also work bloody hard to do that in this market. This doesn’t mean you have to sell 50 or 100 houses to get hired. When we sold my mother’s townhome in another market, we selected an agent who sold about 15 homes annually. She knew what she was doing and she was very good with us. The so called “top dog” put me off. But I did know my agent’s track record. 

It does astound me, that as the largest trade association in America, that we haven’t encouraged the public to ask for a verifiable track record, references, and other factual, transparent credentials they can hang their hat on. They just say to select a member. That’s not good enough. 

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