HOUSTON CONSUMERS EXPRESS CONFUSION, SATISFACTION ABOUT THE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS THEY HIRE
The HAR.com Consumer Research Panel evaluates agent satisfaction in new survey
HOUSTON — (July 10, 2013) — Most Houston consumers are unaware that they are working with a REALTOR® when buying or selling a home, while others do not know the difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent. Those are among the findings of the latest HAR.com Consumer Research Panel survey aimed at identifying consumer trends and challenges in the Houston real estate market.
At the same time, however, the panel, made up of more than 6,600 home buyers, sellers, owners and renters, reported high satisfaction with the real estate professionals they hired to facilitate a home transaction.
Fewer than one in three respondents currently engaged with a real estate professional know that they are working with a REALTOR®, according to the survey. Asked if they know the difference between a licensed real estate agent and a REALTOR®, 80 percent either said they did not know or were unsure. These results suggest that years of marketing to promote the advantages of working with a REALTOR® when buying or selling a home may have been significantly less effective than hoped. Only agents who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® may use the term “REALTOR®.”
Consumers offered these telling comments when asked what the difference was between REALTOR® and agent in the survey:
• “The REALTOR® is the boss and the agent works for the REALTOR®.”
• “Generally the REALTOR® is more educated and experienced.”
• “One is a broker and one is not.”
• “The REALTOR® owns the business.”
• Generally a REALTOR® is more professional, though there are exceptions on both sides of the coin.”
When consumers who are not currently working with an agent were asked if they had a preference to work with a licensed real estate agent or a REALTOR®, only 12 percent chose a REALTOR®.
The HAR.com Consumer Research Panel offered high marks for real estate agent professionalism. The survey found that 94 percent believe real estate agents are either somewhat, very or extremely professional and competent. It also found that 88 percent of consumers were satisfied with their agent. The complete survey is available here.
“While consumers have a low awareness of the difference between an agent and a REALTOR®, survey respondents tell us that they are satisfied with their agent and consider them highly professional and competent,” said HAR Chairman Danny Frank of Prudential Anderson Properties.
The HAR.com Consumer Research Panel, working in partnership with the WAV Group, was established in 2011 and has conducted several surveys ranging from legislative priorities, lifestyle search, transaction management, customized real estate search, market statistics, real estate agent satisfaction and rental trends. The feedback and opinions gathered from these volunteer panelists is used to improve the services offered by HAR to its members and consumers, and further help inform HAR REALTOR® members about better ways to serve their clients.
The panel consists largely of women, aged 25-54, with an advanced education. Participants do not receive any compensation or other incentives from HAR for their work. They do, however, receive a copy of the survey’s final report. The consumer volunteers are currently responding with a 15 to 20 percent completion rate which is considerably higher than typical surveys conducted on a national basis.
The HAR Consumer Research Panel initiative was recently recognized by the Pinnacle Group, a program for progressive REALTOR® association executives and elected leaders, and was cited by noted real estate blogger Rob Hahn (‘The Notorious R.O.B.’) for its groundbreaking work focusing on the needs of the consumer. HAR is currently working with several other associations, assisting them in establishing their own in-house research panels.
Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) is a 25,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual dues-paying membership trade association in Houston as well as the second largest local association/board of REALTORS® in the United States.