The market is up for grabs
Happy Grasshopper, an email marketing firm for professionals in real estate, conducted an annual survey through Survey Monkey to identify the ways that current homeowners find a real estate agent and maintain a relationship with them. The respondents ranged in age from 18-65, with a slight edge in female respondents versus male (53 percent-47 percent).
Surprisingly, 49 percent of respondents stated they didn’t have a “go-to” real estate agent. “The study shows a large percentage of the market is up for grabs,” said Dan Stewart, CEO and co-founder of Happy Grasshopper, the company behind the research.
“Not only because many homeowners do not have a preferred agent, but also the fact that most homeowners aren’t doing heavy research before hiring one.”
A surprising missed opportunity
In fact, 70 percent of homebuyers indicated that they had done “very little” or only “some” research prior to making their selection. When it came time for a potential homebuyer to find a real estate agent, word of mouth referrals were the top-ranked source. 51 percent of homebuyers said they found their agent through a referral. Direct agent contacts were uncommon, with only 10 percent of potential homebuyers indicating that they had been contacted by an agent to become a client.
Once a homeowner selected an agent, a desire for increased communication between agent and homebuyer was a key finding. 36 percent of respondents said they wanted information about open houses and listings in their neighborhoods, even when they weren’t particularly looking to buy or sell. A similar number of respondents, at 40 percent, wanted their agent to provide knowledge about how to be a homeowner and a neighbor.
Respondents valued information about home repairs and neighborhood happenings from their agents.
Cultivating your lead
However, slightly under 20 percent say that they actually ever receive that communication. “This suggests communication initiated by an agent might be enough to turn a lead into a sale, even if it takes years before the client is ready to buy or sell,” said Stewart.
“Agents are missing opportunities to cultivate relationships with past and potential clients so when it is time to move, they know who to call.”
When it comes time for agents to call on potential clients, it’s also important to note the study found that homebuyers preferred to receive communication from the agent in the form of email. Surpassing text messages, phone, or social media communications, homebuyers favored the convenience and timeliness of emails with their desired information.
More about the survey
Nearly 5.8 million homes sold in 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, only 300 U.S. homeowners were included in Happy Grasshopper’s survey. One might have expected a larger number of respondents sought out for the survey. With such a small sample size, one must hope that it is fully representative, and wonders if it is. This sample size significantly limits widespread implications of these results, but respondents still provided valuable information.
Beyond the sample size, an important fact remains: the art of prospecting is vital for an agent, and is one that must be cultivated. Reaching out to your potential clients with information that’s important to them in a way that is resonant may just win the sale for you.