Brokerage leaders should take the lead in assisting their agents in establishing their online reputations.

by Steve Murray, publisher

“The holy grail for online real estate portals is to change consumer behavior with respect to how they choose their agent.” -Jeff Turner, RealSatisfied

We agree. We have said that among the most important factors we watch in consumer behavior is how they choose a sales associate. Historically, it has always been through a personal relationship, either a referral or personal knowledge. Turner points out, quite accurately, that if online portals become an influencer in this process, it could change industry dynamics significantly. For the time being, the REAL Trends 2014 Harris Interactive study showed that consumers still made the selection based on a relationship of some kind. NAR’s home buyer and home seller studies showed the same.

However, we also asked consumers whether or not they checked out their selection via online sources. Over 50 percent of Millennials, nearly 40 percent of Generation X and nearly 30 percent of Boomers said they did. And, in each category over half said it affected their final choice, either positively or negatively.

Turner again says “70 percent of agent search is organic which means it is an act of validation not an act of identification. He shared this information at a recent broker summit hosted by the South Carolina REALTORS®. He also said that this data is, in part, from his examination of consumer reviews of more than 50,000 agent-assisted transactions – not a small sample.

A conclusion one can draw from this is that brokerage leaders should take the lead in assisting their sales associates in establishing their online reputations.  Whether it is through firms like RealSatisfied or other means, consumers are increasingly seeking to find out more about a sales associate whom they know or to whom they have been referred. We believe the importance of this area of brokerage practice cannot be overestimated.^

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


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