consumer research panel

Value of Buyers Agent Diminishing, Study Reveals

by Marilyn Wilson on April 25, 2014

WAV Group has had the pleasure of working with the Houston Association of REALTOR®’s Consumer Research Panel for over a year now. The panel has helped the organization uncover many meaningful insights that have helped share technology strategies, advocacy efforts and educational efforts. Today, the Houston Association of REALTORS® released the findings of their “DIY: Do It Yourself” consumer research panel study. The purpose of the study was to gauge how important Houston area consumers feel agents are to the transaction.  The survey, which was fielded to the 7,000 consumers that are now a part of the industry’s largest consumer panel, highlights the differences between those that are in the buying process versus selling process, as well the differences between generations. Here are some key findings: Consumers value the need for a REALTOR® when they are selling their home versus when they are buying a home. 66% of those surveyed believe they can find a home without an agent. When it comes to the logistics of executing a transaction, however, consumers still want to turn to an agent for guidance and advice. Today, third party sites like, Zillow, Trulia and others are used by just about EVERY demographic except those born in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  These sites have transcended all ages. Only 4% of all respondents will find an agent first before beginning the search for a home. Home buying criteria differs by generation. Neighborhood and affordability are key factors for Millennials, but older respondents emphasize first finding the right home and then looking at affordability. HAR’s most recent consumer research panel affirms that sellers are more reliant on agents in the total process than buyers. Nearly ¾ of the respondents feel it would take longer to sell their home with out the assistance of an agent.   They believe the ability to tap into the agent’s network of contacts and exposure to all agents within the local MLS is crucial to the sales process along with the agent’s ability to negotiate the right price for them. Comparable and market analysis completed by the agent is crucial to the selling process, according to the respondents. Every MLS and every broker should offer their agents an easy way to provide easy to understand and graphically rich market stats. REALTORS® have an opportunity to engage with consumers before they list their home since 58% consult their agent about repairs that need […]

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Top 5 Ways to Become More Relevant with Consumer Research

by Marilyn Wilson on August 16, 2013

The real estate industry suffers from what I call the “lowest common denominator” phenomenon. Every one of the business models in the industry – associations, MLSs and brokerages are built on attracting and retaining as many agents as possible.   Many real estate entities collect monies every month from every participant – regardless of their productivity.  While these models each have their own reasons to exist, they have created a major problem in my view.  Real estate organizations are so busy attracting sales professionals that many ignore the needs of the most important group – the customer. It’s no wonder that the real estate industry focuses mainly on the needs of agents – every business model depends on them.  The problem is this focus has distracted us away from paying attention to the real drivers of the industry – consumers. We forget that without them we will have no business.   They decide what inventory levels will be available in a market. They decide when supply will exceed demand and when prices will increase because of a buying frenzy.  The economy sets the stage for buying behaviors, but consumers ultimately decide how healthy the real estate market is going to be. I believe it’s time for our industry to expand its focus beyond agents and start thinking about the needs of consumers.   When I say this in meetings, some people respond to me politely and say, “Yes, I get that the consumer is important, but ultimately my business depends on agents. I need to consider their needs first and foremost. If I don’t I will lose them and they will move to a different brokerage or they switch to a new association or worse yet, they may leave the REALTOR® family completely.” I really believe it’s time for us to get over this outdated perspective. Let’s look at what our ignorance of consumer needs has gotten us so far…..anybody remember the Zestimate?   The industry refused to share AVM’s with consumers so they found their solution somewhere else.   How about sold data? There are many MLSs today that refuse to share solds via their IDX feed because agents do not want them to. How crazy is that when solds are available on literally thousands of third party sites today? So how do we avoid the next major faux pas that opens up even more opportunities for every company EXCEPT those in organized real […]