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Despite the Web's Ubiquity, Agents Still a Vital Asset

by Chicago Agent

The Internet may be invaluable to the modern agent, but it can't replace his or her services.

By now, every agent has heard at least once how important the Internet is (heck, our entire last issue was devoted to it), but a new survey from HomeFinder.com has reaffirmed the continuing importance of real estate agents.

In a wide-ranging consumer survey of nearly 400 HomeFinder.com users, the website found that 47 percent of respondents were in the market for a home but had not yet sought the services of an agent.

The numbers confirm one of the more inspiring trends in recent years for agents – though the Internet is simple and accessible, and though many prospective homebuyers begin their property search on Trulia, Zillow, HomeFinder and a myriad of other sites, they are not enough to displace the skills and expertise of a good real estate agent.

Further details support that conclusion. Sixty-three percent of homebuyers surveyed expect real estate agents to educate them on the buying process, and 47 percent expect agents to provide guidance on the value of the house, services a website would simply not provide.

Doug Breaker, the CEO of HomeFinder, said the survey spotlighted the continued important of agents for buyers. Though he specifically mentions HomeFinder, his conclusions could extend to any home search website.

“This survey data underlines what we have known for some time: buyers are pre-searching for homes, neighborhoods, and crime rates on HomeFinder.com prior to involving an agent,” Breaker said. “Why this is so significant to agents is that they have the opportunity, like never before, to reach these buyers by being proactive in their marketing efforts online and specifically on HomeFinder.com.”

The survey also contained some interesting tidbits on customer expectations of a website. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents indicated that the ability to search for property details, including taxes and sales history, was very important to their search, and 65 percent indicated that having the ability to view how properties compare to similar properties in the same neighborhood was very important.

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