Real estate agents continue to get the job done even in the softer housing market, according to buyers and sellers who work with them.
More than eight out of 10 sellers and nine out of 10 buyers would definitely or probably use the same agent again or recommend him or her to others, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The survey, comprised of some 10,000 responses, revealed that 79 percent of home buyers and sellers used a real estate professional, up from 77 percent over the past three years. Forty-one percent of sellers found their agent as a result of a referral, while 23 percent used the agent in a previous home purchase. Similarly, 43 percent of buyers relied on referrals to find an agent, while 17 percent of repeat buyers used an agent from a previous transaction.
Finding an agent through a referral from a family member, friend, co-worker and other professional or trusted individual is recommended as a good way to find trustworthy help. The most important factors in choosing an agent for buyers are honesty, integrity and reputation. Buyers also seek agents with a sound knowledge of the purchase process and responsiveness.
For sellers, the most important factor in choosing an agent is reputation, followed by honesty and trustworthiness. However, 81 percent of sellers use a full-service brokerage, while only 9 percent choose limited services and 9 percent use minimal service, such as simply listing a property on a multiple listing service. The findings are relatively unchanged from a year ago.
How do consumers benefit from using an agent? Fifty-seven percent of those who responded in the survey said they helped them understand the process, 47 percent said their agent spotted unnoticed features or property faults, 40 percent reported the agent improved their knowledge of search areas, 38 percent negotiated better contract terms, 37 percent offered a better list of service providers, 35 percent shortened the search process, and 32 percent negotiated a better price.
The survey said 84 percent of buyers use the Internet (up from 80 percent in 2006), 84 percent use a real estate agent, 59 percent used yard signs, 50 percent used print or newspaper ads and 48 percent attend open houses.
However, real estate agents are still king when it comes to finding properties for buyers. Thirty-four percent of buyers said a real estate agent found their property; 29 percent the Internet; 14 percent said yard signs; 8 percent said a friend, neighbor or relative; 8 percent said home builders; 3 percent said a print or newspaper ad; 3 percent found one directly from the seller; and 1 percent found an agent through a home book or magazine.
Most sellers expect an agent to market the home, with 90 percent of them reporting their home was placed on a MLS and 88 percent said their home was listed on the Internet, indicating dual-media marketing efforts. Eight in 10 also use the ubiquitous yard sign for marketing. Eight in 10 sellers, using all kinds of brokerage services, said their agent reviewed sales contracts and purchase offers, managed paperwork and contracts, negotiated with buyers and scheduled showings.
Also, 75 percent of those responding said they worked with their agent setting the asking price.
The same percentage also said their agent coordinated home inspections and appraisals. Using a trusted Realtor in your real estate transaction will help alleviate most, if not all, of the major headaches during this stressful time.
Federal Way real estate agent Joni Ribera: (253) 632-5779 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit www.JoniRibera.com.