What Do Buyers & Sellers Want from Their Real Estate Agent?

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It’s an on-demand, more-for-my-money world these days.

From movies to rides to the airport to dog walking to grocery shopping, consumers are growing accustomed to having everything at their fingertips via their devices, whether those devices are smartphones, tablets or (gasp) desktop computers. If those apps are saving them money, people view them as even more of a resource in their hectic lives.

And just as technology is infiltrating the way people shop for the goods and services they need, it is influencing the way they view real estate transactions.

Even as technology advances, professionals are still valued by buyers and sellers

Homebuyers and sellers are seeking tech-savvy real estate agents who can save them money on commissions and fees. A Redfin survey of what Americans want in real estate polled 1,000 homebuyers and sellers and found that 57 percent said the technology their agent uses is important to them (vs. 31 percent who said their priority was the quality of the agent), and another 62 percent said they were seeking lower fees and commissions.

But are they looking for apps and bots and cash savings at the cost of everything else? Not really.

The same Redfin survey found buyers were also seeking a responsive agent to handle their transaction, with that being the most-desired trait — even ahead of experience, expertise and professionalism.

Meanwhile, sellers, the survey found, prioritized an agent with a track record of selling a home like theirs.

And both buyers and sellers said they want an agent who works as an advocate on their behalf.

Responsiveness and Advocacy are What People Want in a Real Estate Agent

All of that paints a bit of a muddy picture. Is it technology or boots-on-the ground experience that matters most? The answer is both.

In summarizing its findings, Redfin said responsiveness and advocacy are still winning the day when it comes to traits sought in a real estate agent.

Further emphasizing that point, in its 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the National Association of Realtors found real estate agents are still a key component in the home search process, even as technology advances.

The NAR survey found 92 percent of buyers relied on an agent during the home search process from everything to negotiation to paperwork to finding the right home for them. And 88 percent of those in the survey bought their home using an agent or broker.

And how did they find an agent to help them navigate all the intricacies of their purchase? Word of mouth reigned, with almost half saying they found their agent based on recommendations from friends or family.

The Role of Technology

But just as the Redfin survey found, the NAR poll also saw technology entering the process early on, with almost half of buyers browsing online as a first step in their home search, which means photos and listings are key, too.

And the NAR also found while online sites were seen as most useful by 89 percent of respondents, 79 percent said an agent was very useful in their buying or selling experience.

So it would seem even though technology might change the way people start their buying or selling process, it often isn’t the factor that will make the process a rewarding one.

Just as it was before the advent of the internet and the iPhone, responsiveness and attentiveness, along with a strong knowledge of the market and the willingness to fight for what a client wants, are still the qualities people seek in a real estate agent.


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