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BMO Harris Bank: Most U.S. homeowners have used a real estate agent

 

CHICAGO – July 10, 2014 – Despite some Americans feeling they could buy or sell on their own, the majority still turn to a real estate agent in the end, according to a new survey by BMO Harris Bank.

Three-quarters of U.S. homeowners have used a real estate agent, the survey found. But nearly half (47 percent) of Americans polled were confident they could sell a home without the help of a real estate agent, and 59 percent said they felt they could purchase a home without one.

"However, while a notable number of Americans feel they could buy or sell a home without a real estate agent, our survey tells us that when the time came, the majority of homeowners did seek the added professional help and enlisted an agent," said Kevin Christopher, head of mortgage sales, BMO Harris Bank. "It can be a complex process, and one that takes up a great deal of time."

Word-of-mouth is the top way that homebuyers select an agent (41 percent), followed by:

  • Past experience (22 percent)
  • Reference from bank (9 percent)
  • Advertising or a flyer (9 percent)
  • Came to the door (2 percent)

The survey also asked Americans about where they felt real estate professionals had the most value-add. The top three benefits for having an agent when buying are handling paperwork (67 percent), having someone who understands market value (59 percent) and access to market information (53 percent).

The top three benefits when selling are again paperwork (64 percent), advertising the home to bring in offers (58 percent) and having someone to price the home appropriately (57 percent).

"Although higher home prices and mortgage rates have dented housing affordability, it remains historically very attractive. This, in turn, continues to support the demand for homes, along with rising household formation," said Michael Gregory, head of U.S. economics, BMO Capital Markets. "Despite the overall U.S. housing activity losing some of the momentum we saw earlier in the recovery, recent solid job growth should help reinvigorate the housing market."

Survey results cited in this report are from a Pollara survey commissioned by BMO Harris Bank using interviews with an online sample of 2,500 Americans conducted between April 1st and 7th, 2014.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

 

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