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Many homebuyers don’t have a go-to real estate agent [survey]

(HOMEOWNERSHIP NEWS) A staggering 70 percent of homebuyers indicated that they had done “very little” or only “some” research prior to making their agent selection.

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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).

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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.

#GoToAgent

Roger is a Staff Writer at The Real Daily and holds two Master's degrees, one in Education Leadership and another in Leadership Studies. In his spare time away from researching leadership retention and communication styles, he loves to watch baseball, especially the Red Sox!

Homeownership

4 million homeowners skip mortgage payments as forbearance requests slow

(REAL ESTATE) It is no surprise that mortgage payments are being skipped across the nation, but it’s not all a total loss…

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Over 4.1 million American homeowners are currently skipping their mortgage payments on a temporary basis as COVID-19 keeps the economy shut down, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Meanwhile, forbearance requests have slowed – the MBA’s weekly survey indicates that 8.16 percent of total loans are now in forbearance plans, up from 7.91 percent the week prior, and while the share of loans in forbearance is rising, the trend is toward requests decreasing.

Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, said in a statement, “There has been a pronounced flattening in loans put into forbearance – despite April’s uniformly negative economic data, remarkably high unemployment, and it now being past May payment due dates.”

Congress passed the $2.22 trillion CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), under which homeowners holding a federally backed home loan may delay mortgage payments for up to a year, but politicians are quick to remind folks that the money is still due, and fees may still apply during the forbearance period.

This relief effort is the primary reason so many did not pay their mortgage this month. People are still unsure of whether or not they will be employed in the near future, and are managing their finances accordingly, particularly while lenders are still in the mood to negotiate. Economists believe that difficulties will be ongoing, and homeowners will continue to struggle as a whole.

While our economy hasn’t been hit this hard since the Great Depression, and unemployment numbers reveal widespread economic devastation, slivers of hope remain. Forbearance requests slowing isn’t the only housing hope – new home construction levels are down, but nowhere near at the same pace as other sectors harder hit.

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Homeownership

Find out if your rental home is under the 120-day federal eviction moratorium

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) COVID-19 has thrown many certainties into chaos, but heres a beacon of light if you are worried about paying rent and if you will fall victim to eviction.

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Proactively prevent foreclosure eviction

The Texas Supreme Court extended a moratorium on evictions through April 30. Dallas County’s moratorium runs through May 18. Tarrant County, next to Dallas County, has an indefinite moratorium. Meanwhile, cities, counties, and states across America have different moratoriums.

The CARES Act includes a federal eviction moratorium that begins on March 27 and lasts for 120 days.

Federally subsidized housing cannot evict tenants for non-payment for 120 days. If you’re like most renters, you may not know if your property is backed a federal program, such as HUD, FHA, USDA or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Here is a searchable database helps renters identify if their home is covered by the CARES Act

The National Low Income Housing Coalition offers a searchable database of homes that are covered by the CARES Act. Please note that the database is not comprehensive. Just because your home isn’t listed, doesn’t mean that the CARES ACT doesn’t apply.

The NLIHC offers updates on COVID-19 housing issues. They also have a page for state housing assistance. Low income households in Austin may qualify for assistance through the Austin Tenant Stabilization Program. Share that program with tenants and landlords to prevent evictions.

Eviction moratoriums do not mean that tenants don’t have to pay rent or late fees.

Tenants and landlords need to work together to find a solution to paying rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The eviction moratorium is not a rent freeze. When life gets back to normal, tenants will still owe back and current rent or risk eviction.

We wrote that the National Multifamily Housing Council is recommending that its members waive late fees and administrative costs and help residents with payment plans.

It’s going to take everyone working together to keep families stable after the pandemic. We will do our best to keep you updated on any new options and helpful programs.

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Homeownership

1 in 3 renters didn’t pay rent in April – now what?

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) Renters have fallen behind on rent in the past month; that money can help them during this hard time, but what happens to the landlords?

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The National Multifamily Housing Council reports that only 69% of renters paid their rent by April 5. For comparison, last month, 81% had paid their rent by March 5. Last year’s figure for April was 82%. This figure should give lawmakers and business owners pause during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s hoped that as unemployment and stimulus money is paid out, renters can make their payments, but this 12% drop in rent payments demonstrates just one challenge facing our nation.

Evictions on hold, but this may not be enough

The NMHC is recommending short-term financial assistance to renters who have lost their job due to the pandemic instead of just placing a moratorium on evictions. Putting a halt on evictions simply delays the inevitable. Renters who lost a job won’t simply be able to make back payments in a few months. The Texas Supreme Court has placed a moratorium on evictions through June 1. HUD extends this through July 24 for government-assisted housing.

A group in Colorado is asking for a rent strike, which in theory sounds effective. The problem is that landlords still have their own bills to pay, utilities, maintenance, mortgages and more. A rent freeze could create a tidal wave of issues that will further extend the economic uncertainty. Although some are hoping that Congress will address this huge problem, it could take a few weeks to get direct relief.

What are some options?

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson says, “Have a heart, have a heart. These are incredibly difficult times for everyone.” He also asked renters to work with their landlords, because they have bills, too. NMHC is asking its members to:

• Waive late fees and administrative costs over the next month
• Give residents payment plans (put them in writing)
• Share resources to help residents

Renters need to be proactive and talk to landlords about their situation. And landlords would be wise to openly communicate their limits to renters – transparency could be the difference between flipping a unit and praying for a renter, and a few tough months. These are difficult times. Everyone is going to have to work together to find solutions to alleviate the effects of this pandemic.

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