Every so often, when I feel like feeding my brain with more professional knowledge (or when I want to justify the hefty dues I have to pay to the National Association of Realtors), I read the “Economists’ Outlook” blog. Some time ago, one caught my eye. The title and the content were not particularly new or earthshaking but I still read the piece twice. I guess I liked it. You’ll know why when I unveil the title. Here it is: “Home Buyers Use of an Agent in Transaction Has Risen For The Past Decade”. Music to my ears.
As a Realtor, I like being liked. There is nothing like recognition for a job well done. Sure it is self-serving but it’s nice to see that home sellers are more aware now than ever of the value of trusting and using a Realtor for the sale or the purchase of a home. You see, even a guy like me needs a pro. I have been around the block a few times, I bought & sold many homes for my own account and personal use, but when my money is concerned, I need an objective expert opinion and someone who can negotiate on my behalf. I need a Realtor.
Buying or selling a home is highly emotional. You don’t want to be emotional and confused when you sign a listing or a purchase contract. It’s your money that we are talking about. It is your home. It’s where you and your family lived or will soon live. Buying or selling is also a very difficult task, judging by the number of attorneys who specialize in the discipline and make a good living at it. At the high-end, using a pro is not an option: there is way too much at stake, too much to win or to lose. Playing Russian roulette is not a game to play in a real estate transaction.
According an NAR study “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers” from a couple of years ago, a record 89% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. On one hand, I am pleased to know that the percentage is moving up; on the other, I honestly wonder who on earth are the 11% of buyers who did not get the message!… Promise me you will never do that again!
In 2001, “only” 69% of the buyers bought through a Realtor. I guess those who did not learned their lesson quickly because, as we mentioned above, the percentage has gone up ever since, with the strange exception of 2009 when it dropped a few notches to 77%, after 81% the year before. My take on this anomaly is that after a couple of lousy years when properties did not move and values went the other way, some home sellers blamed their agent and decided to go “For sale by owner”. That lasted only as long as a New England winter (about 6 months).
Actually, the NAR study suggests that only 4% of the buyers bought directly from the previous owners (It was 15% in 2001). The other 7% missing bought from a builder or a builder’s agent. When you look at the trend over a 10 year stretch of time, you’ve got to feel good if you are a Realtor. At that tempo, if we are not careful, we may get well over 100% in another 10 years!…
It is particularly comforting to note that many crystal ball readers, years ago, were predicting that Realtors would phase out, as more and more knowledge about the business, about the inventory of homes, about values, about financing, about contracts…was dispensed online for the public to read, learn and use. Obviously it did not happen that way. Quite the opposite in fact. At a time when buyers and sellers know as much as they do, the more they know, the more they know….. what they don’t know. That’s why Realtors are more relevant and essential than ever. Thank you.