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The top qualities home buyers say they want in their real estate agent

Use of real estate services at ten year high

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.

What buyers want in a Realtor

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, the most common service home buyers want from their agent is to help them find the right home (55 percent) with 13 percent saying what they want most from their Realtor is to help negotiate the price of the home they seek to purchase. Twelve percent say what they want most is for their agent to help them negotiate the terms of the sale, 7 percent want them to determine what comparable homes were selling for, 6 percent wanted help with paperwork, 3 percent wanted help determining how much home they can afford and another 3 percent said the most important service in their agent was helping to find and arrange financing.

We were intrigued that so many people didn’t see Realtors’ primary service as helping to locate the actual home they are buying – is this because real estate search sites make people feel that they have a grasp on the search process more than ever, or is it because the value proposition of competing brokerage models is better understood by the public, therefore they seek different services?

According to NAR, what consumers wanted in an agent was fairly consistent with first time and repeat buyers, new and resale home buyers and household composition, although first time buyers put more emphasis on agents helping guide the mortgage process than repeat buyers.

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What buyers see as the benefit of having an agent

Most consumers say that the benefit of having an agent was helping them to understand the home buying process (61 percent), although there was a drastic difference between first time buyers who value the help of understanding the process (81 percent) compared to repeat buyers (48 percent).

More than half of all buyers surveyed said that real estate agents pointed out unnoticed features or faults with a property and 44 percent said their agent negotiated better sales contract terms and 46 percent said their agent improved their knowledge of search areas.

The takeaway

Although consumers are using Realtors more now than any time in the last decade, the reasons aren’t uniform. Some consumers say they need a negotiator, others need to better understand the process, and the benefits they name of having an agent vary as well from their agent pointing out unnoticed flaws in a property to improving their knowledge of a search area.

Realtors that understand the complexity of why they are being hired have an edge over agents who simply fly by the seat of their pants.

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