According to NAR (National Association of Realtors), the share of sellers who used real estate agents hit a historic high in 2015. Why, with all the apps, technology and do it yourself information are people turning to real estate professionals in historic numbers? Here are four theories posited by NAR.
1. Inventory shortages
Housing supply remains at historically low levels in many markets. That may be spurring consumers to turn to agents for the inside scoop on properties coming to market, and to help them get into listings and write offers as quickly as possible.
“With limited supply in many markets, buyers are turning to agents to assist them in the fast-moving process,” said Adam DeSanctis, a spokesman for NAR.
2. Mounds and mounds of (sometimes-faulty) data
The prevalence of listings and neighborhood information online means consumers often have to grapple with an overwhelming amount of data. And plenty of this data can be outdated and inaccurate. Agents can help consumers make sense of everything and provide access to the most accurate information.
Homebuyers who use the Internet to search for homes are significantly more likely to purchase a home with a real estate agent than buyers who do not use the Internet. Eighty-eight percent of buyers who searched listings online purchased a home through an agent, compared to only 71 percent of buyers who did not use the Internet during their search.
The homeselling and loan process has become more complicated. The paperwork and pages of the contract has increased. Consumers are realizing that the job has become more complicated and agents are better equipped w/ systems and tools to get the job done. Would you go to court and represent yourself without an Attorney?
4. Real estate websites and online ads
Consumers who search for properties or real estate information online are bound to quickly encounter invitations to “learn more” from agents. They also can easily learn about real agents by consulting online reviews.
In addition, online ads for agents are scattered across social media platforms and myriad websites, while increasingly effective lead-capture tools funnel consumers to agents, often just as they begin to think about buying or selling a home.
Indeed, it’s possible that the very listing portals (i.e. Zillow) that irk some agents may actually be at least partly responsible for sustaining their popularity.
The portals are good at one thing — using that data to keep consumers searching. When people are ready to move from searching to actually finding a home, they need an agent to provide insight: Insight into the market, neighborhoods, and the overall process.
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