Editor’s note: This is the final installment of a five-part series based on an Inman News survey of nearly 200 real estate brokers. Part 1 explored brokers’ views of the government’s role in the industry; Part 2 examined brokers’ attitudes about rules and policies established by the industry itself; Part 3 focused on market segments where brokerages have been gaining or losing business; and Part 4 detailed areas in which brokers have made cutbacks to survive the downturn or maintained or increased investment. In Part 5, below, brokers discuss what they see as their firms’ competitive advantage.
When it comes to competing for buyers and listings, having experienced, trained agents trumps the size of a company or its brand, real estate brokers surveyed by Inman News say.
Carving out a niche market or area of specialization was also seen as a less important competitive advantage than staying abreast of technology and conducting online marketing.
While 73 percent of brokers cited agent training and education as a "highly important" competitive advantage, only 53 percent said the same about their brand.
Similarly, experienced agents were considered a "highly important" competitive advantage by 69 percent of brokers, but only 37 percent rated having a specialization or niche as "highly important" and 24 percent viewed the size of a company as "highly important."
The online survey captured the views of 181 brokers doing business in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, from Oct. 16, 2009, to Jan. 12, 2010. An average of 96 agents were employed at the brokerages surveyed, with companies employing fewer than 1,000 agents averaging 53 sales associates. …CONTINUED