5 factors consumers consider when choosing an agent
With so many real estate professionals to choose from, what does a consumer look for in an agent when it comes time to buy or sell a home?
A new report by RE/MAX explores what’s most important to today’s homebuyers and sellers, from their criteria for choosing a real estate agent to their adaptability for the future. The findings are valuable intelligence for agents and brokers alike.
“The 2023 RE/MAX Future of Real Estate Report helps industry professionals gauge where to prioritize their energy, and what skills they can sharpen to provide the best possible service,” says Abby Lee, RE/MAX Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
Here are five factors U.S. consumers identified as important when choosing a real estate agent.
1. Trust and familiarity
Today’s consumers are placing more emphasis on how much they can trust their real estate professional.
Multiple factors go into gaining trust, including skills, reputation and experience. The report reveals that more than half of U.S. consumers think trust and familiarity have become more important factors when choosing a real estate agent over the past year.
The importance of communication is heightened in today’s rebalancing market, the study shows.
“I’m constantly in touch with my clients,” says Donna Deaton, an agent with RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates in Liberty Township, Ohio. “Whatever their preference of communication is, that’s what I’m doing to keep them informed every step of the way.”
The best agents keep their client informed and involved throughout the transaction.
“It’s important as an agent to communicate with a buyer, for example, to let them know there are several offers on the property they want. If we’ve given our highest and best and unfortunately we didn’t get it, we’ll move on to the next one together — and they need to know that from their agent before they see an update online,” Deaton explains.
3. Good reviews online
Today’s consumers don’t rely simply on how an agent presents themselves. They want confirmation from other buyers or sellers, too. According to the report, good online reviews are becoming even more helpful to today’s prospective clients.
49% of U.S. real estate consumers say a personal connection with an agent has become more important over the past year. Consumers, in turn, would likely be more inclined to meet with an agent after reading about their character through reviews.
4. Years of experience
Now that the market is rebalancing, sellers are returning to practices that appeal to buyers, such as staging, open houses, home inspections, and more.
That makes it strategic for agents to promote their years of industry experience, credentials, and more.
“Part of what builds trust between an agent and a consumer is knowing that the agent has experience — and a proven track record — navigating a variety of market conditions,” Lee says.
The report cites that 52% of U.S. sellers need the most help with pricing their home, which is just one area where the expertise of an agent is imperative.
5. Fastest service
Today’s consumers are also seeking an agent who can help their transaction go quickly and smoothly. Agents are especially valuable when they’re well-connected and have trustworthy recommendations for adjacent services.
“A good agent will have recommendations in place for lenders, home inspectors, a title company, and more. Consumers need an agent who has everything in play,” Deaton says. “Helping with these services means I can move a transaction along much faster than a seller who is trying to list their home [with a less-connected agent].”
To learn more about the evolving needs of today’s homebuyers and sellers – and how a professional can best help them achieve their real estate goals — check out the 2023 RE/MAX Future of Real Estate Report.