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Survey: Buyers Value Agents but Don’t Shop Around

99% of recent buyers said their agent added value to their transaction – but, on average, these same buyers only interviewed two agents before picking one.

MADISON, N.J. – While 99% of recent buyers said their agent added value to their transaction, on average, these same buyers only interviewed two agents before picking one.

A new real estate industry survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Century 21 Real Estate uncovered insights into what the home buying/selling process is like for Americans, as well as trends that the company believes will influence the industry in 2020.

Of the homebuyers who were surveyed, 99% said their agent added value during their transaction, such as providing information about the market (23%) and navigating the overall process (22%).

On the home seller side, those who used an agent rated knowledge of the market (73%), advice and counsel (72%) and navigating stress (53%) as the top benefits.

However, despite the significance placed on an agent’s value, the importance of homeownership and the financial weight of the transaction, the survey found that, on average, active buyers and sellers only interviewed two agents before deciding on who to ultimately hire.

“We’re seeing a real disconnect within the real estate industry today where homebuyers and sellers are extremely invested in the outcome of their transaction, yet they seem to be shortchanging themselves on the front end by rushing the vetting process to find the right agent to help them navigate what for most is the biggest emotional and financial decision in their life,” says Mike Miedler, president and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

According to the survey of 500 U.S. homebuyers and 500 home sellers who completed a real estate transaction in 2018 or 2019, 34% of recent buyers aren’t very likely to rehire the real estate agent they just used.

Still, nearly three out of four Americans (70%) rank buying a home as one of their top three greatest life achievements. In fact, buying a home was second only to getting married (76%) in terms of top life achievements.

Additional survey results

  • Only 17% of couples in a relationship said the decision on which real estate agent to use was made perfectly evenly.
  • When asked to indicate what could have helped them get a higher price for their home, 29% of recent sellers said a better negotiation strategy, 25% selected professional staging and 23% indicated that a knowledgeable real estate agent.
  • Since closing on a home, 23% of people who used a real estate agent said that their agent had not reached out to make contact with them. When compared to how often an agent makes contact during the transaction process (three times per week, on average), recent homebuyers may be feeling a bit abandoned.
  • 60% of buyers said their agent went above and beyond the normal call of duty, including taking them out for a meal or drink (31%), inviting them to a social event (29%), introducing a potential neighbor (20%) and even running errands (13%).
  • 92% of recent home sellers agree that their agent was very patient throughout the emotional ups and downs of the homebuying process.

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