Listings by out-of-town realtors on the rise in Washington

Published 8:01 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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An increase in the number of listings by out-of-town realtors in Washington has caught the ire of the Washington-Beaufort County Board of Realtors. 

“We are seeing a big influx of agents from all different areas who represent both buyers and sellers in our market,” said Samantha Polk, president of the Washington-Beaufort County Board of Realtors. “Because of technology, social media, and the internet, it has become very easy for out-of-town agents to market themselves. When someone Googles realtors in Washington someone from say Wilmington or the Triad area may pop up at the top of the list. That’s because they have paid for their ads to appear at the top.”

Polk says buyers and sellers need to be aware of what is happening. One of the main concerns about out-of-town realtors is their lack of knowledge of the market.

“Some may have a little knowledge about the area, but there are a lot who don’t have any knowledge at all,” said Polk. “And what they do know has more than likely come from a search on the internet. That is why it is so important for buyers and sellers to work with local realtors.”

Polk offers pros and cons of who you choose as your real estate agent:

Pros of working with a local agent

  1. They have a vested interest in the community. 
  2. You want someone who knows what they are talking about.
  3. A big part of buying isn’t just the home but the lifestyle of the area, which a local realtor can provide.
  4. Buyers and sellers need and want someone who knows the area like the back of their hands.
  5. Out-of-town buyers need the confidence and comfort of knowing they are in good hands with local agents.
  6. Local realtors will have contact information for local vendors who can be called when unexpected repairs might be needed.
  7. Closing will oftentimes go much smoother with the assistance of local agents.
  8. The buyer or seller deserves to be treated like family, not just a number.

Cons of working with out-of-town agents

  1. Much of what they may know about the area is coming from Google.
  2. They aren’t even showing the listed property.
  3. They are not able to answer questions about such things as flood insurance, upcoming events, HOA fees, or the history and lifestyle of certain areas.
  4. They are unable to show complete transparency when it comes to buying or selling.

Chris Respess, owner of United Country-Respess Real Estate, feels it is a combination of things that has led to the glut of out-of-town agents listing in the area. 

“There is an unbelievable amount of real estate agents right now across eastern North Carolina,” said Respess. “Combine that with the low inventory that we are experiencing and agents are willing to go anywhere to make some money. That makes it harder for local agents to make a living. I’m all about a free market, as it is just part of our business, but only when the agents are taking care of their clients and really know the area. Recently I was involved with the sale of some land in Blounts Creek. Not once did the buyers’ agent from Wilmington come to the property and look at it. That’s just not right.”

Polk says under current laws there really isn’t much that can be done about the growing problem. But, as she pointed out, realtors are expected to abide by a code of ethics as handed down by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. “If that is not done correctly it can be a violation of their real estate license,” said Polk. “Our local board is trying to make sure that all of our local agents are upholding their responsibilities to the fullest and will do their best to navigate the out-of-town agents.”

Polk added as more buyers and sellers support local agents, it will have a self-correcting effect and slowly push away the outside agents.