I heard through the grapevine this week about a seller who hired a multi-state broker because they thought this out-of-area-broker was more capable of promoting their million-plus property outside the area than a local broker.  In another case, a seller contemplated pulling their listing from a local independent company and placing it with a large franchised company because they were under the impression that a large franchise was more able to connect with outside-the-area-buyers.  

     To be blunt with those who still think that way, this idea is outdated and a fallacy.  The difference maker is the internet.  What seemed at first glance to some real estate brokers as a threat has become the most amazing tool for marketing!  That one tool has become the great equalizer.

     Now, let’s dispel this wives tale about a franchise having more marketing power than a smaller independent company.  In an honest side-by-side comparison (concerning their ability to market a property inside or outside the area) it is a dead heat, simply because the smaller company has all of the internet tools available that a large franchised company has.  Besides that, any extraordinary marketing beyond the usual sources is only as good as the pocket book of any particular agent.  One key factor to consider is IDX or Internet Data Exchange which occurs between cooperating brokerages in most MLS’s (multiple listing services) across the country.  What that means to sellers, is that their listing appears on every company’s website as if it was part of their inventory.  For example when a buyer does a property search on a Century 21 company site (or any large franchised real estate company) they will see ALL of the listings available, INCLUDING those offered by the Ma and Pa real estate shop in a small town.

     The internet tools available to both large and small brokerages are the same.  Both use the MLS, which syndicates to many real estate marketers including Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, LandWatch etc, etc, etc,.  Both companies probably have their own websites which connect to each other by IDX. 

     One place where the small town broker may have an edge is their own personal website and the traffic they drive to that site through Craigslist advertising or other resources and links.  If the C-21 broker did not have a personal website because they could not afford to fund one, and therefore also cannot afford extra advertising such as specific print ads etc, the small town broker with deeper pockets has the definite edge.