Realtors are improving their image, according to the latest National Association of Realtors’ annual survey that gauges public opinion.

The survey’s composite image score of 19 beliefs, opinions and attitudes about Realtors rose from 56 percent in 2004 to 59 percent this year – up 11 points since 2002, the group announced today. The survey also found that the likelihood of real estate consumers to use a Realtor over a real estate licensee who is not a Realtor rose four points to 64 percent this year.

Some of the consumer beliefs and opinions that improved most over the past 12 months are: “Realtors bring the latest technology to buying and selling a home” (up six points to 63 percent); “Realtors have the expertise to help sellers price their home fairly” (up four points to 64 percent); “Realtors earn their commission” (up six points to 50 percent) and “Realtors advocate private property rights of homeowners” (up 12 points to 54 percent).

Al Mansell, president of the Realtor association, said in a statement, “Consumer attitudes towards Realtors have been improving steadily for the past few years due to many factors.”

Total awareness of NAR’s television and radio advertisements reached the highest level in the history of the campaign, the trade group reported. Awareness rose two points to 73 percent – reaching nearly three out of four real estate consumers in America. In 2005, 55 percent of consumers recalled seeing or hearing at least one of the NAR advertising executions, an increase of two points over 2004, the trade group announced. Awareness of the “Ask your agent if they’re a Realtor, a member of the National Association of Realtors” campaign increased from 32 percent to 39 percent.

Beliefs about Realtors that improved the most this year were: that they have the best network of sources to help buyers and sellers (79 percent, up six points over year ago); that they are best qualified to promote the sale of a home (73 percent, up 12 points); that they are professional (70 percent, up 13 points); that they conduct business with ethics and integrity (69 percent, up 11 points); and that they get the job done properly (68 percent, up 10 points).

Buyers who purchased a home in the past 12 months reported a jump from 39 percent to 56 percent in agents identifying themselves as Realtors, while sellers reported an even more dramatic 23 percentage point gain, from 41 percent to 64 percent, the group reported.

Realtor support for the advertising campaign continues at levels similar to those last year, according to a survey of NAR members conducted in concert with the consumer survey. Ninety-eight percent of all NAR members favor the ad program, 94 percent would like to see more advertising, and 78 percent rate the advertising effectiveness as excellent/very good (up four points). Sixty-seven percent of members cite NAR’s advertising as an important reason for joining the association, according to the announcement.

The National Association of Realtors Public Awareness Campaign kicked off its eighth season last February and it will end next week. New ads this season featured people talking about their real estate experiences and touting the benefits of working with a Realtor. The ads encourage consumers to contact a Realtor first when they are buying or selling a home or leasing commercial space.

The $25 million advertising campaign featured four new television commercials, four new radio spots, and customizable print ads, posters and Web banners. Commercials included NAR’s first-ever Spanish-language television ad. The new spot, which closely resembles the English-language version, featured Hispanic Americans sharing their hopes, dreams and stories about trying to achieve the American dream of home ownership.

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