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Top 10 methods home sellers use to find an agent – report

Finding a listing agent in 2011

The 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers surveyed 5,708 home buyers and sellers, discovering that the demographics among buyers and sellers have changed this year, both of which are older, have higher incomes and are more likely to be married.

Although the demographics of home buyers and sellers have shifted, the trade association reports that the relationship between Realtor and home seller has changed very little over the years, beginning with how they are initially referred to one another.

The most commonly cited method sellers used to find their real estate agent is referral from a friend, neighbor or relative, leading the pack with 39 percent of all home seller respondents this year while 22 percent used an agent they had worked before.

Like buyers, the typical seller contacts only one agent during the selling process with 16 percent contacting two agents prior to selling their home and 18 percent contacting three or more agents.

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The top 10 methods

According to the report, the top 10 methods home sellers use to find an agent in 2011:

  1. 39 percent – referred by (or is) a friend, neighbor, or relative
  2. 22 percent – used agent previously to buy or sell a home
  3. 5 percent – referred through employer or relocation company
  4. 4 percent – personal contact by agent (telephone, email, etc.)
  5. 4 percent – saw contact information on for sale / open house sign
  6. 4 percent – visited an open house and met agent
  7. 4 percent – referred by another real estate agent or broker
  8. 3 percent – internet web site
  9. 2 percent – direct mail (newsletter, flyer, postcard, etc.)
  10. 1 percent – walked into or called office and agent was on duty

The takeaway

There are a lot of tools in a Realtor’s tool box for lead generation, but home buyers and sellers over the years cite the top way they connect with a Realtor is through the trusted word of a friend. We would be interested to see the survey questions dig deeper and ask if the referring friend was online, as many use their social graph online now to locate services and products, or if the natural referral network remains offline. Demographics are shifting rapidly, but how consumers connect with Realtors is not, so word of mouth still rules.

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