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NAR Reports

How home sellers find their agents, and what services are most important in 2016?

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) Are limited-service brokers finally dominating more market share? Is Twitter or an open house more likely to yield a home seller? Find out in this year’s report.

home sellers ethical metrics


This summer, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed 5,465 home buyers and sellers for the 2016 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The study shows that in the past five years, affordability has tightened, and the time spent home shopping has fallen.

Referrals still reign supreme in earning real estate business, and homes sold with an agent sell for 43 percent more than homes sold without representation. Let’s dig a bit deeper.

The most important services

According to respondents, the most important services an agent provides, according to sellers are:

  • Finding the right house (50 percent)
  • Negotiating on price (12 percent)
  • Negotiating the sales terms (13 percent)

Types of representation sellers sought

If you read blogs from a decade ago, many thought that flat fee and discount brokerages would one day reign supreme. While they do represent a share of the market, full-service brokerages are actually garnering an increasing market share.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 83 percent of sellers hired a full-service brokerage (up from 80 percent in 2011).
  • 8.0 percent of sellers hired a limited-service brokerage (down 2.0 vs. 2011).
  • 8.0 percent of sellers hired a minimal-service brokerage (down 2.0 vs. 2011).

Median price of homes sold is up

  • $185,000: the median price of a home sold without an agent (up from $150,000 in 2011)
  • $245,000 median price of a home sold with an agent (up from $215,000 in 2011)
  • $101,300 median income of a represented agent (down from $101,500 in 2011)
  • $100,600 median income of an unrepresented agent (up from $82,500 in 2011)

How sellers found their listing agent

What listing agents want to know is – where is the next client coming from? We all know that referrals are the best source of business, but is it still the most common way sellers find their agent?

Below are how sellers said they found their listing agent:

  • 39 percent referred by a friend, neighbor, or relative
  • 25 percent used their agent previously to buy or sell a home
  • 4.0 percent by personal contact from an agent (phone, email, etc.)
  • 4.0 percent referred by another agent or broker
  • 4.0 percent from a website (without a specific reference)
  • 4.0 visited an open house and met the agent
  • 2.0 percent saw contact info on a sale or open house sign
  • 2.0 percent referred through employer or relocation company
  • 2.0 percent direct mail

How many times have sellers recommended their agent to others?

  • 36 percent zero times
  • 13 percent one time
  • 18 percent two times
  • 11 percent three times
  • 22 percent four or more times

Most people (85 percent of sellers) say they are likely to refer to their agent or hire them again, and the most important factor in choosing an agent is reputation and trustworthiness (21 percent).

The takeaway

If you’re looking for leads, knowing the national trends can help manicure your own efforts. While trends locally are still the most relevant to any broker or agent’s career, knowing the national trends can help pinpoint adjustments that should be made locally, or affirm decisions already being made.

The practice of real estate is changing given these rapidly altered circumstances surrounding home buyers and sellers, and it is important to be informed!

Click here for hundreds of other stats from this report.



Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


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