In this post, I want to share some numbers that contradict the assumption that the agents with the most listings are the best choice for prospective home sellers because these agents sell the most listings. There are many fine high-volume agents out there and there are good reasons to choose many of them, but the mere fact that an agent has the most listings is not one such reason.
I looked at the five agents, excluding those agents who worked primarily with distressed properties or new construction, who last year in the Mid-Hudson MLS had the most new listings of single-family detached homes. I then looked at how many sales in the same category were recorded for each of these agents in the same year.*
- Agent 1: 94 new listings, 45 sales
- Agent 2: 74 new listings, 45 sales
- Agent 3: 52 new listings, 34 sales
- Agent 4: 52 new listings, 20 sales
- Agent 5: 52 new listings, 18 sales
These five agents come from four different offices; Agents 4 and 5 are from the same office. All five agents were among the top ten agents (out of 765) in the Mid-Hudson MLS in terms of the value of their sales transactions in the single-family detached homes category.
The numbers don’t look so great for our region’s big listers. Yes, they are our top producers, but the percentage of the properties that they are able to sell is not so impressive. In fact, because they are working with such a large portion of the available inventory, their sales are consistent with the overall market, which is slow.
There are differences within these numbers that prospective sellers may find useful. Agents 1 and 2 both sold 45 properties, but it’s clear that Agent 2 sold the better percentage of inventory. Likewise, Agents 3, 4, and 5 each had 52 new listings last year, but Agent 3 sold the better percentage of inventory.
Numbers can certainly be manipulated to mean different things. A big lister may hope that you infer his or her ability to sell your property is superior. Not only is that untrue, from my perspective, big listing numbers and top producer status are often besides the point. These people are the top listers and producers, but from the perspective of the actual percentage of their listings that are selling, they are doing a better job for themselves and their brokerages than they are doing for their clients.
If you are going to be swayed by sales pitches of most inventory and top-producer, be sure to ask, compared to what? and, how does that compare to the total number of your listings? And while a high percentage of listings sold is a positive sign, it is only one sign — there is much more to consider.