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A new survey shows that the vast majority of consumers value the assistance of agents, but also reveals that most people vet very few real estate professionals before settling on who they want to represent them.

The survey results, which Century 21 Real Estate released Tuesday, show that 99 percent of homebuyers believe their agent added value while they embarked on a real estate transaction. Additionally, the survey found that among homesellers, 73 percent said their agent’s knowledge of the market was a top benefit.

Sellers also cited agents’ advice and counsel, as well as assistance in navigating stress, as among the most significant benefits of using an agent.

Those numbers are good news for real estate professionals because they suggest that consumers are still deeply invested in the industry’s current business model — a model that positions agents as trusted advisors that most people rely on. In other words, in a time when some observers have begun to wonder if agents could someday disappear, the survey seems to indicate that consumers, at least, don’t want them to.

But the results also aren’t all good news.

In addition to revealing that consumers value agents, the survey also found that on average buyers and sellers only interviewed two agents before choosing a representative. In a statement, Century 21 argued that this relative lack of vetting means consumers “run the risk of aligning themselves with an advisor that could leave them less than satisfied with the level of service provided.”

Speaking of these findings, Century 21 president and CEO Mike Miedler added that the results suggest that consumers “seem to be shortchanging themselves on the front end by rushing the vetting process to find the right agent.”

Mike Miedler. (Credit: Realogy)

“Defying the mediocrity that still exists in the real estate industry is a major part of our mission and every potential homebuyer or seller should be extremely selective in whom they entrust to shepherd them through this complicated process,” Miedler said in a statement Tuesday.

The survey also found that after closing a transaction, 23 percent of consumers said their agent never reached out or contacted them. The result was that “recent homebuyers may be feeling a bit abandoned after they get the keys to their new home,” according to Century 21.

Such findings indicate that while consumers generally like the agent-client model, there are still areas in which that model could better serve some people.

Century 21 contracted with Wakefield Research to conduct the survey, which involved contacting 500 buyers and 500 sellers last October. Responses were collected via email and an online survey.

Ultimately, however, the survey’s findings were largely positive, showing among other things that 92 percent of sellers felt their agent was patient and 60 percent of buyers felt their agent went above and beyond.

The survey also showed that buying a home remains an important milestone for Americans, with 70 percent of consumers ranking it “as one of their top three greatest life achievements.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2019.

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