What sellers want in a real estate agent

Today’s sellers want a real estate agent that will work hard to get the best outcome for them and who is confident they can achieve the best price.

Sellers are also looking for agents that have a clear plan and pre-market strategy to generate the most inquiries from buyers and who have clear, regular communication and transparent fees. 

That’s the message REA Group Head of Research and Customer Experience Serge Petrichenko and Senior Market Research and Insights Manager Kirstin Hodgson, who revealed the results of a survey of 1000 sellers at Ready24 this week.

In a 15-minute power up session in one of three ‘living rooms’, dozens of agents tuned in via headphones for Mr Petrichenko to reveal the survey tested 23 agent qualities and asked vendors to rank them in order from most important to least important.

“What was most important? Clients want agents to give them the best outcome and to make them feel valued from the first inquiry to settlement and beyond,” he said. 

What sellers want:

  1. An agent that will work hard to get them the best outcome.
  2. An agent that is confident they can achieve the best price.
  3. An agent that has a clear plan, including pre-market, to generate the most buyer inquiries.
  4. An agent that has clear communication, is responsive and has a transparent fee structure.
  5. An agent that is a local expert, who understands area, has a strong track record and a large network/database.

Sellers also want an agent who is confident of getting the best price, who has a clear plan on how to generate inquiries from buyers, has excellent communication, a transparent fee structure and is a local area expert who understands the area, has a strong track record and a large database and network.

“Interestingly, competitive fees and charges were not in the top 8,” Mr Petrichenko said.

“Sellers were willing to pay more, if the agent could nail those top five things.”

The survey also revealed there were three main ways sellers searched for an agent or agency, including any previous interaction they had with agents, recommendations from friends and family and searching online, with that last option higher for first-time sellers.

“Choosing an agent is hard and sellers reported feeling excited but mostly feeling anxious, particularly if they were selling for the first time,” Ms Hodgson said.

The survey also showed sellers take an average of about two weeks to research real estate agents, and for those looking online, listing portals are the most popular source.

Sellers look to see if agents have similar properties for sale, what they have recently sold and what their ratings and reviews say about their skills and results. 

When sellers contact an agent, the majority expect a response within 48 hours. 

Mr Petrichenko said the average length of time people stay in their homes before selling was 11 years, and an agent’s “nurturing sweet spot” was between six and 10 years.

To stand out online and on, he said it was critical that agents kept their profiles up to date.

He said each day 90,000 people would view agent profiles. 

“It’s prime real estate,” Mr Petrichenko said.

“Those profiles are your virtual shop front.”

He said it was key for agents to address the top five things sellers want in their agent profile.

“Too many profiles talk about where the agent went to school, that they’re passionate about property and what they like to do on the weekends,” he said.

“Talk about those top five, talk about maximising price, talk about awards, talk about your local database built over the years.”

Mr Petrichenko also encouraged agents to respond to the reviews they received online if they wanted to stand out from the competition.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.