Home buyers seeking agents
The 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers surveyed 5,708 home buyers and sellers, and report that almost all Americans now use a Realtor (89 percent); the percentage is at a ten year high, rising twenty percent in the last decade alone.
But how did consumers come to find their agent? Realtor ratings are all the rage as some insist consumers find their agent through the web, while others assert that old school word of mouth is how the business of real estate referral is done, so who is right? Both.
How consumers found their agent
Two in every five buyers found their real estate agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative, but half of all first time buyers rely on word of mouth referrals while 36 percent of repeat buyers doing the same. Shockingly, only 14 percent of repeat buyers use the agent they used on the last transaction – not exactly a glowing endorsement of the industry.
Nine percent of home buyers found their agent through a website, only two percent more than finding their agent at an open house. First time buyers were substantially more likely to find their agent through the web (12 percent) whereas only 7 percent of repeat buyers finding their Realtor online.
Unmarried couples relied on referrals slightly more than married couples or single buyers and married couples are more likely to use the agent they used on a previous transaction.
The interview process
While the process of discovering an agent is diverse as seen above, it must be asked if the interview process is as diverse. Only 16 percent of home buyers interviewed three or more Realtors before hiring one, while 65 percent only interviewed one agent in their search. Could this be because of the rising number of consumers in research mode, empowered by the web, or do first impressions matter so much that it can land an agent a relationship with a buyer? Perhaps because so many consumers rely on word of mouth, they are already trusting of their agent without even meeting them.
Fully 68 percent of repeat buyers only interview one agent, often using their previously hired agent, while 42 percent of first time buyers interview two or more agents.
The web is important, and more and more consumers are flocking to the web, but old school word of mouth still reigns supreme and consumers often hire the first agent they interview without even interviewing another agents. Given these statistics, real estate practitioners should be asking their network face to face for referrals and continuing to drip market to past clients (and keep in touch with them) while maintaining an online presence. These statistics likely vary per region as a tech-centric city would likely rely more on the web, but first time buyers are researching and both repeat and first timers are looking to trust an agent, so first impressions matter deeply.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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