According to a fresh survey from Redfin, executed by Harris Interactive, one in four American homeowners said they would not buy their current home if they had to do it all over again. Redfin claims that avoiding these regrets “starts with the right agent.”
“We commissioned this survey because Redfin agents have seen firsthand the pressure homebuyers face in 2014,” said Glenn Kelman, Redfin CEO. “With flash sales, bidding wars, price jumps and inventory crunches in many markets, it’s important to have a real estate agent who is just as motivated to have you walk away from a bad house as to pounce on a good one.”
Do consumers really love their agents?
The survey notes that 89 percent of Americans who bought or sold a home in the past decade have used a real estate agent, and of those, 47 percent say they “loved working with” their agent.
With only half being fans of their agents, clients’ age has an impact on their attitude, with 31 percent of homeowners ages 18 to 34 who have bought or sold a home in the past 10 years loved working with their agent, compared with 52 percent of homeowners ages 35 to 44.
Of those that did not indicate they were fans of their agents, 32 percent indicated they felt their agent was “OK, but I never really felt they were on my side or very helpful” and eight percent said their “agent was one of the worst parts of the home buying or selling process.” Ouch.
Other reactions from homeowners
Fascinatingly, buyers in the West had less remorse (only 20 percent) about buying their home, while homeowners in the Midwest had the highest rate of remorse at 28 percent. Home regret in the Northeast was 27 percent and in the South was 25 percent.
Redfin reports that the age group with the least buyer’s remorse was 65 and older, with 85 percent saying that they would buy their home again (compared with 72 percent of those ages 18 to 64).
People who have a HHI of $100,000 or more expressed more satisfaction with their homes (86 percent) than those with a HHI of less than $100,000 (70 percent). Those with a college degree or higher education had higher home satisfaction (82 percent) than those with at most some college education (72 percent).
The golden opportunity for agents
Real estate professionals have a golden opportunity to reduce buyer’s remorse by offering quality service. Redfin of course feels that they have the edge because of their business model, but the truth is that any individual agent can do the simple things like returning calls and keeping buyers in the loop to reduce the potential remorse factor so prevalent.
As Kelman referenced, the market is so fast paced in many areas that decisions are made more rapidly than in a normal real estate cycle. Further, another survey out this week revealed that homeowners have a lower real estate IQ today than just two years ago, which goes hand in hand with the opportunity practitioners have to educate consumers, and spend the same amount of time devoted to the transaction as was spent in a slower market.
Homeowners shouldn’t regret their purchase, and agents play a role in that emotion. Curbing remorse at ground zero can prevent the future anti-Realtor sentiment as consumers claim (as they have in the past) that they were pushed into a purchase, when the reality in most cases is that the tight inventory levels accelerated the process.