Americans Want Change in Real Estate

by Real estate financingMission+
3 minutes read

In a survey of nearly 1,000 recent homebuyers and sellers, we found that most consumers welcome an alternative to the traditional real estate experience. Respondents gravitated toward lower fees and tech-based solutions.

  • Most of those surveyed (69%) said they were open to an alternative to the traditional real estate agent; only 15% said they “liked the way traditional agents work.”
  • When asked their attitude toward saving money on commissions, 62% of buyers and sellers said they want lower fees, while just 22% said low fees made them worry about the service.
  • 57% said that the technology their agent uses is important, compared with 31% who said “the only thing that matters is the quality of the agent.”

These answers mirror strong consumer support for economical on-demand service in entertainment, taxi services and retail, and may indicate the beginning of a sea change in real estate.
We also found that buyers, in particular, valued responsiveness in an agent:

  • The most sought-after trait for an agent was responsiveness, indicated by 47% of buyers, ahead of professionalism, local expertise and experience.
  • For sellers, responsiveness was less important than experience: 44% chose “experience selling homes like mine,” as the most sought-after trait, while just 31% chose responsiveness.
  • Of sellers surveyed, 49% had no major complaints about their agents. Among those who had feedback, the most common responses were consumers wanting their agent to “fight harder” for them and those who felt their agent could have done better with online marketing, both at 19%.
  • Of buyers surveyed, 67% indicated they had no major complaints about their agent. Among those who had feedback, the most common response was wanting their agent to “fight harder” for them at 16%, followed closely by a desire for their agent to “be an adviser” at 13%.

In other words, consumers showed a marked preference for agents who are responsive and are strong advocates for their clients, even as less expensive, technology-based options become more prevalent and popular in real estate.
Survey Methodology
From December 2 – December 8, 2014, Redfin used Survey Monkey to survey 5,965 people, 512 of whom had tried to buy or sell a home in 2014.
From December 20 – December 24, 2014, we used Survey Monkey to survey Redfin customers, soliciting 4,000 to take a survey, of which 470 provided complete responses. In analyzing both surveys, we excluded any respondents who did not complete the survey.
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