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Real Estate Brokerage

The unsurprising ways real estate agents acquire new business

Nearly 44 percent of buyers first looked online and 33 contacted a real estate agent. It doesn’t seem a stretch to say that using the internet and working with an agent go hand in hand in today’s home search process.

realtor working

So how DO realtors get most of their business? I’m glad you asked. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, most home buyers – and this about 61 percent of the time – find their agents through a referral or they work with an agent they used in the past. This compared with 41 percent of agents that are referred from a friend, family, neighbor, or a relative. Shocker.


Referrals are key

At the other end of the spectrum, five percent of agents are referred by another real estate agent, three percent are referred through an employer, and 12 percent of home buyers use the same agent they worked with in the past. Perhaps surprisingly to anyone but a realtor, sixty-four percent of agents said they received no business from open houses.

realtors new business

The digital age

This may seem uninspired at best but networking in one way or another seems to be infallible if unsurprising. The lines become blurred when we look at how social media is opening up new revenue streams for realtors. According to an article on, “Referrals and repeat business are no doubt the number one source of new business for real estate agents, but digital marketing is indeed how agents capture an additional fifth of their entire business.”

Just do the math: With the increase in the use of digital technology complementing the home search process, says Economists Outlook, nearly 44 percent of buyers first looked online and 33 contacted a real estate agent. It doesn’t seem a stretch to say that using the internet and working with an agent go hand in hand in today’s home search process.

Internet is king?

NAR’s 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report revealed that home buyers ages 61 to 69 found their agents online nearly 17 percent of the time. That doesn’t seem too surprising as social media is more of a “millennial thing” and the older demographic still likes to communicate in person. But even among millennials, only 12 percent found their agents through online sources.

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Social media is your friend

Quite honestly, you’d have to be living in a cave not to understand that most businesses need digital marketing in order to remain competitive and stay in afloat in this day and age. Certainly real estate agents are no exception. You need to spend money to make money and although traditional networking is still a reliable lead-generation device, the real estate industry must recognize that money spent creating and maintain websites and related social media tools is an investment that will pay big dividends in the future.


Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.


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