Amid an economic landscape in flux, homebuyers and sellers continue to want expert advice from real estate agents while looking to prepare for the future, and for Gen Z that means finding “green homes,” according to RE/MAX.

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Amid an economic landscape in flux, homebuyers and sellers continue to want expert advice from real estate agents while looking to prepare for the future, according to a new report released on Tuesday by RE/MAX.

The U.S. Future of Real Estate 2023 Report found that as interest rates changed significantly from the lows of 2020-21 and as the market entered a transitionary period going into 2023, buyers and sellers became focused on six key themes:

  • Getting help to understand homebuying and selling
  • Getting human-centered support from agents
  • Compromising for a more stable living situation
  • Buying self-sustaining homes
  • Seeking out community hubs
  • Having curated spaces for work and play

Nick Bailey

“The events of the past few years have made homebuyers more deliberate about what a home should offer them,” RE/MAX President and CEO Nick Bailey said in a statement. “A home purchase is one of the largest transactions a person will make in their lifetime, so it’s important for them to have a clear understanding about what they’re seeking in a home. Research like this can help a real estate professional guide them in their search.”

The report was created in partnership with advertising agency Camp + King and conducted by consumer insights agency Canvas8. Findings were derived from interviews with real estate researchers, economists and agents across different brands (including RE/MAX), 12 qualitative interviews with buyers and sellers across North America and a survey of nearly 3,000 American homebuyers/sellers who were active in the market over the last 12 months or plan to be in the next 24 months.

Guidance and education from real estate agents have become more important to consumers now than ever, especially sellers, according to the study’s findings. Today, 46 percent of homesellers say more support in understanding how to sell a home is one of the two most important components of a transaction, up from just 27 percent of buyers.

The jargon involved in homebuying and selling is also a sticking point, with 40 percent of Americans reporting that terminology is a barrier to homeownership, up from just 17 percent in 2020.

Meanwhile, 54 percent of Americans believe trust and familiarity have become important factors in the last 12 months when choosing a real estate agent. At a more granular level, 64 percent of U.S. millennials believe an agent’s ethical credentials have become more important in the last 12 months.

“As the call for more people-focused reform mounts, the desire for real estate agents who can also bring a more personal style of support to the homebuying experience is clear,” the report reads. “This is particularly true for millennials and lower-budget buyers, for whom forays into the real estate market can be particularly daunting. With authenticity as the new benchmark when it comes to business, it’s about striking the right balance between the professional and the personal.”

An agent’s years of experience have also become more important to 52 percent of Americans in the last 12 months.

Younger generations of buyers and sellers are showing a preference for a home that’s prepped for a sustainable future in an active community. Gen Z buyers, for instance, are much more interested in smart features (78 percent), new builds (77 percent) and sustainable materials (81 percent) than older generations. Overall, 91 percent of Gen Zers reported that having a “green home” is important, while just 85 percent of Gen Y, 73 percent of Gen X and 60 percent of baby boomers and seniors thought it was important.

Seventy-seven percent of Gen Zers also said that living in a vibrant local community is important for them when purchasing a home.

Maintenance and home renovations are also on homeowners’ minds, with 65 percent who had to complete repairs in 2022 recognizing that more routine maintenance or inspections could have prevented the problem, and 64 percent of buyers noting that a home’s renovation potential is important in deciding on a home purchase, compared to just 45 percent of buyers in 2020.

“Times change, and in a fast-paced industry like this one, it’s important to stay a step ahead,” Bailey added. “The research shows consumers are increasingly turning to experienced, full-time professionals — and those are the type of agents who make up the RE/MAX network.”

Email Lillian Dickerson

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