Real Estate in the Digital Age
Real Estate Webmasters hired a third-party research company to interview anonymous buyers and sellers who bought or sold property, worth between $300,000 to $1.5 Million, within the past 12 months.
The participants were asked a series of questions over an hour-long interview to help us better understand their habits, opinions, and decision-making processes.
We were particularly interested in finding out how buyers and sellers choose their real estate agents in this digital age.
Here's what we found...
People don't choose Realtors on portal sites
One of the most interesting observations in the market research results was that buyers and sellers are actively using portal websites to explore properties, but they don't use those same portals to find real estate agents. In fact, respondents saw no connection between portal sites and agent selection.
Instead, a significant majority of respondents found their agent through their network or by referral.
This is consistent with a NAR survey reporting that at least 50% of home buyers used agents from referrals or past connections, and that number was as high as 63% for sellers.
On the other hand, the most investment-oriented of respondents shared a more online and location-focused approach to choosing their agents.
"Those sites (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Redfin) have no impact on my agent selection process. When I'm on those sites, I'm thinking of properties – not agents."
The criteria your potential clients care about
Once buyers and sellers have a real estate agent in mind, knowing whether they like an agent is the number one requirement for working together.
Respondents were also highly interested in agent track records, which were often evaluated online—not in person. (Add those sales numbers when crafting agent profiles!)
In addition, the size of an agent's brokerage or the quality of their website also factored into the equation for some people.
Other important decision-making criteria include:
- Market knowledge
- Engagement level
And the deal-breakers?
- Communication issues
- Lack of care or urgency
Additional quotes from survey participants
One of our favourite things about the market research was hearing from real people. Here are a few of the things they had to say about choosing a real estate agent:
"When we moved to Atlanta, we used a Facebook group to tell my friends we were looking for an agent, and a sorority sister that happened to be a realtor reached out to me."
"I go online and search for agents in my area (of focus), check out the houses they're selling, and then I call the one who has the best houses – or – in this case, the specific listing I was interested in."
"I look at their website to see their track record of success after I've received a referral. Then I meet with them."
"Once I'm thinking of calling someone, I'll probably do a quick search before calling to make sure they're legitimate and reasonably sized. If they're from a small brokerage or don't have a website, I might not call them."
"I expect my agent to communicate with me in a reasonable amount of time – maximum one day after I make an inquiry or a request. They don't even have to answer my question. They can just acknowledge my request and share a timeline to come back to me with more information. That is totally acceptable."
How do I research a real estate agent?
Researching a real estate agent involves checking their online presence, reading reviews and testimonials, and verifying their credentials. Look for their track record, experience, and specialization in your desired area or property type.
How do I choose a real estate agent?
When choosing a real estate agent, consider their experience, local market knowledge, communication skills, and reputation. Interview multiple agents, ask for references, and select someone who understands your needs and aligns with your goals.
What qualities should I look for in a real estate agent?
When selecting a real estate agent, seek qualities such as market expertise, strong negotiation skills, effective communication, integrity, responsiveness, and a client-centric approach. These traits will ensure a smoother and more successful real estate experience.