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Are Buyers Harder to Please than Sellers?

Core Logic RP Data have just released their Buyers Perceptions of Real Estate Agents 2016 report and it provides some interesting reading. A companion to the 2015 Vendor Perceptions of Real Estate Agents, the report delivers key insights into how buyers rate agents in terms of quality of service and value.  Here, Kylie Davis gives an overview of key findings from the report.

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Give a vendor a bottle of champagne to congratulate them on the successful sale of their home, and they are likely to see the gesture as the icing on the cake of an excellent experience.

But give a buyer a similarly decent vintage at contract exchange, and while they’ll thank you, they’re more likely to take it in their stride. Perhaps it’s because they have just shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars, rather than receiving a bonanza. Perhaps, it’s because the dollars involved for most represent a life of mortgage servitude. Or perhaps it’s because their participation earned you 2.5% even if they’re not paying you directly. But a bottle of bubbles in most instances is seen as the least you could do.

While buyers do not pay for the services of agents, the Buyer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents identified that buyers are a tougher bunch to please compared to vendors when it comes to delivering excellent service.

What factors determine the quality of service for buyers?

Just 14% of buyers described their buying experience as Excellent, compared to 31% of Vendors and few buyers nominated gift baskets as the differentiator. In comparison, 44% of buyers described their experience as Good (compared to 36% of Vendors), and many in this category identified that their agent had given them a gift.

Rather, what stood out for Buyers to determine excellence was the quality of the service they received from the agents they engaged with, with professionalism, market knowledge and excellent communication skills over and above a big marketing budget.

“The agent we bought from met with us at the properties after hours to accommodate my husband who works long hours and worked through to late at night to put together our offer paperwork,” wrote one buyer. “She kept us up-to-date and informed with each step, and showed complete transparency. She was the complete opposite to what we experienced with the agent we first made an offer on a home with previously!”

What buyers truly value

Buyers valued agents who were prompt and responsive to their queries or special needs.

“Arranged open houses and after sale visits and inspections readily and quickly,” wrote one buyer who gave his agent an Excellent rating.

“The service overall impressed me,” wrote another. “He was very prompt at getting back to us and following up.”

“Always got back to me when promised. Very knowledgeable and honest,” commented a third.
Buyers also rated communication and negotiation skills, identifying that those agents who were skilled in this area made them feel safe.

“She was always professional, friendly and not pushy,” wrote another respondent.
“We always felt we were in good hands.”

They also highly valued agents who made themselves available and guided them through the process ensuring it all went smoothly.

“Our agent was in constant communication and had wonderful negotiating skills,” wrote one buyer.

“He made himself available to answer questions and provided the sufficient detail to satisfy the bank’s requirements.”

Buyer comments from the survey identified that gifts for their own sake were not enough. But when agents got the communication, follow up and purchasing process right, gifts guaranteed clients for life.

“After purchasing the house, he surprised me with a carton of wine and keeping touch by sending mails and current market situations within the area,” said one buyer.

The Buyer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents report helps agents understand what excellence in real estate service looks like through the eyes of buyers and how to lift standards more broadly across the industry. The report delivers insights into agent market knowledge, professionalism, and agent training standards and helps provide a roadmap for improvement.

Download a copy of the report here.

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