har-logoWAV Group has had the pleasure of working with the Houston Association of REALTOR®’s Consumer Research Panel for over a year now. The panel has helped the organization uncover many meaningful insights that have helped share technology strategies, advocacy efforts, and educational efforts.

Today, the Houston Association of REALTORS® released the findings of their “DIY: Do It Yourself” consumer research panel study. The purpose of the study was to gauge how important Houston area consumers feel agents are to the transaction.  The survey, which was fielded to the 7,000 consumers that are now a part of the industry’s largest consumer panel, highlights the differences between those that are in the buying process versus selling process, as well the differences between generations.

Here are some key findings:

  • Consumers value the need for a REALTOR® when they are selling their home versus when they are buying a home. 66% of those surveyed believe they can find a home without an agent. When it comes to the logistics of executing a transaction, however, consumers still want to turn to an agent for guidance and advice.
  • Today, third party sites like HAR.com, Zillow, Trulia and others are used by just about EVERY demographic except those born in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  These sites have transcended all ages.
  • Only 4% of all respondents will find an agent first before beginning the search for a home.
  • Home buying criteria differs by generation. Neighborhood and affordability are key factors for Millennials, but older respondents emphasize first finding the right home and then looking at affordability.

HAR’s most recent consumer research panel affirms that sellers are more reliant on agents in the total process than buyers.

  • Nearly ¾ of the respondents feel it would take longer to sell their home with out the assistance of an agent.   They believe the ability to tap into the agent’s network of contacts and exposure to all agents within the local MLS is crucial to the sales process along with the agent’s ability to negotiate the right price for them.
  • Comparable and market analysis completed by the agent is crucial to the selling process, according to the respondents. Every MLS and every broker should offer their agents an easy way to provide easy to understand and graphically rich market stats.
  • REALTORS® have an opportunity to engage with consumers before they list their home since 58% consult their agent about repairs that need to be done, over contractor and home inspector.

The survey also reveals that much like buyers, those that are in the selling side of the transaction want their agent to be a guide through the process. Respondents are also looking for recommendations from their agent on service providers such as title companies, home inspections, and home repairs.

While many agents have been averse to making service provider recommendations, the consumer is now expecting this kind of expertise and agents would do well to provide it.

To view the full study results, click here.