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FSBO letter Top/Best

Nov. 15, 2020


I’m sure you are inundated with agents after your post to Nextdoor. With almost 50 years of experience listing and selling real estate, I would like to comment.

My wife and I moved to Raleigh in 1986 from New Mexico where we both had successful real estate careers. We moved after a call from Don Walston, owner of Howard Perry & Walston. He said, “I want to build my company on the best real estate sales and marketing training in North Carolina. I called five top companies across the US and three of them said the best agent trainer in the country is you. When can you be here?”

To shorten the story, we moved here, I became the Training Director, and my wife went into new home sales, where she achieved top selling honors. Using training for recruiting and retention, HP&W grew from 150 associates to over 370 before I left in 1990.

My main focus turned to teaching real estate agents for the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). With a cadre of 12 instructors for the Counsel of Real Estate Specialists (coveted CRS Designation), we were the trainers for 1.7 million REALTORS.

As I was working this weekend with buyers referred to me, I thought I would take your request for a Top/Best Realtor as a challenge to define such.

Who are the Top/Best Realtors? The answer is long, and different to distinctive groups.

The best agent for Sellers is to, “Sell my house for the most money, in the shortest amount of time, with the least inconvenience to you, the seller.” I believe you’ll agree that the best will do this.

Buyers, define Top/Best as one who knows the area, can quickly find the best deal, and is a skilled negotiator, that won’t let us get in trouble.

Companies define Top/Best by production. The more they have closed and sold, the more income for the company. With the high cost of overhead, companies’ bottom lines are very thin, so income producing agents are paramount. Also, you’ve seen how companies tout “Top Producers”. This is used as a major agent recruiting tool for new and existing associates.

The Market defines Top/Best as the associate or company with the most advertising, billboards, signs and social media postings. While that looks good, it’s all done with money and bots, so it says very little to the public.

The Market also defines Top/Best by affiliation with name known companies. Large International Company Names and Affiliation. While this was true in the early 2,000’s, it has waned. The high cost of affiliation and low rate of return has caused many seasoned agents to affiliate with lesser-known companies finding no difference in service to sellers or attraction of buyers.

Many new agents in search of training join with Teams. Teams are great, usually run by a high producing sales professional who needs assistance with the numbers of buyers and sellers they have. Teams are great for companies as they defer cost into team mentorship.

Here is how I define Top/Best, in order of importance:

A Great Listener

You can’t find what a buyer wants if you don’t listen to what they want, need, desire, and can afford to buy. One in ten associates is a good listener. I know this is true because one in ten people are good listeners. Listening is not taught in our primary schools or even in most universities and certainly not in our real estate schools.

Practices Collaborative Selling

Today’s buyers and sellers are more knowledgeable then ever. Just Google it. Buyers find the houses before the agent does with the prevalence of HomeSpotter,, and Zillow. Buyers, from the minute they decide to buy or before, they search everything everywhere. Often buyers know more about a property than a Broker. (Aside, all licensed associates in North Carolina are Brokers.)

There are many different levels of buyers in the market. First time buyers without knowledge. The agent must be aware of this as to not overwhelm the first timer. Buyers from other countries or states that are different than NC in rules, regulations, and customs. Buyers who haven’t bought in 20 years or buyers that have bought and sold up to 20 properties. All have different levels of understanding and needs.

So collaborative is communication, finding their level of understanding and communicating the difference. We as brokers must respect where each buyer is now and has been, as well as where they want to go, uncovering and communicating to build trust and loyalty. A total collaborative effort.

Sometimes this is a long task. For others, it’s quick. Either way, it’s timing, which is another whole other process, uncovering the pace at which each buyer sends and receives information, and ultimately decides.


Not all brokers can wait to earn money. Such agents will take any listing at any price, and throw any buyer in the car, qualified or not, and haul them around. Therefore, many get their real estate license, because they think it’s an easy buck. I hope you understand, it’s not. Brokers must practice patience, maintain a positive attitude, give full attention, and perseverance to be successful in real estate.

Although some of the Top/Best have begun their real estate career with zero patience, the ‘go getters’ so to speak. I was one of those when I first started, with 10 listings my first two weeks and 86 closings my first 12 months.

80/20 Rule

Does not apply. The truth is, 10% of associates do 90% of the business. This 10% is then judged Top/Best like everyone else – PRODUCTION. Let’s, however, look at the balance. 70% with a license fail making less than $1,000/month. Again, judged by production or lack there-of. So how about the 20%? Well 5% are just passing through, up or down. And 15%, often the best of the best. Not into working 24/7, amassing large amounts of money, or a need to impress others. This 15% usually works on referrals only, with past clients, friends, and relatives. And often possess what really makes Top/Best.

The truth is, there are many real estate associates in all categories that are considered Top/Best and if you don’t already know one, a good way to find one is exactly how you’re doing it – by asking for a referral. I always tell my clients/customers, “Your referral is the highest professional compliment I could receive.”

Thanks for listening.

Keep Smiling,


Raleigh, NC – Wake County


Every Triangle Home For Sale At Your Finger Tips 

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