There is a confidence problem in the New York City real estate market, according to a survey of agents and consumers.

About 78 percent of agents and 69 percent of buyers and sellers who participated in the survey said they agree that “most people don’t trust real estate agents or they don’t expect much from them.”

The survey, conducted by market research company Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, is based on interviews with 51 New York City real estate agents who sell Manhattan apartments and 152 customers who bought or sold Manhattan real estate in the past two to three years. The survey was conducted on behalf of Braddock and Purcell, a company that matches clients with real estate agents and other service provides in exchange for referral fees from those agents and service providers.

The survey also found that 73 percent of agents and 74 percent of buyers and sellers agree with the statement: “The whole process of buying or selling an apartment in Manhattan is fragmented and needs a guide.” And 52 percent of consumers said they agree that “the problems facing the real estate market in New York are as pervasive as the corporate governance problems” on Wall Street, compared with 18 percent of agents who agree with this statement.

“The data that we collected suggests that there exists a fundamental shortfall from the perspective of buyers and sellers,” according to the research firm that conducted the survey.

About 43 percent of agents who participated in the survey said they agree that they are “just trying to sell apartments,” while another 43 percent of agents said they work to “meet their customers’ needs.” Meanwhile, about 20 percent of buyers and sellers said agents work to “meet their customers’ needs,” while 69 percent said they are “just trying to sell apartments.”

Also, 38 percent of agents surveyed said they serve as full-service counselors, while 14 percent “just show homes and try to work out a deal,” and 43 percent said they perform some combination of these services. About 22 percent of consumers said their agents served as full-service counselors, 63 percent said they “just show homes and try to work out a deal,” and 9 percent said it’s a combination of the two.

Asked whether they are providing guidance on a range of services to consumers, 86 percent of agents said they provide attorney selection and financing suggestions, while 57 percent said they provide renovation and moving advice, and 35 percent said they provide decorating tips.

Consumers, though, had a different view of how helpful agents are with these services: 40 percent said they received help from their agents with attorney selection, 36 percent said they received guidance on financing, 9 percent said their agent helped them with renovating, 7 percent got help with decorating, and 5 percent received tips about moving companies.

All of the agents surveyed said they “do an excellent or good job advising their clients on what is required to get board approval” for a unit, while only 57 percent of consumers said their agent did an excellent or good job and 32 percent said they did a fair or poor job.

There was also a discrepancy in opinion over spending limits. About 78 of agents said they do an excellent or good job in advising their clients on what to spend on a unit, while 53 percent of consumers agreed that their agents did an excellent or good job, and 44 percent of consumers said their agents did a fair or poor job.

Agents and consumers largely said that agents “do not offer buyers options about purchasing homes outside New York City,” with 67 percent of agents and 91 percent of consumers in accord.

Almost 20 percent of consumers said they are “not likely” to use the services of their agent, 86 percent of agents said their customers “would be very likely to use their services again,” and 55 percent of buyers said they would use the services of their agent again.

About 35 percent of consumers said they have “an unfavorable opinion” of agents, compared to 22 percent of agents. While all agents surveyed said they have been in touch with their former clients since the real estate transaction was completed, about 66 percent of consumers said they had been contacted. There is major agreement that the Internet “has helped to provide more information about buying and selling,” with 91 percent of agents and 93 percent of consumers supporting this statement.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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