Consumers See Your Value

Consumers are in sync on what's good service. Of course, if you listened only to the media, you might never know this.

August 1, 2007

You’re tops among consumers. So says a report from the Consumer Federation of America. More than two-thirds of surveyed consumers view real estate brokers and sales associates favorably. The figure is 73 percent among consumers who’ve recently used a professional real estate service, and it jumps to 84 percent among those asked specifically about the professional that they last worked with.

Those numbers are all the more impressive when you consider when the CFA conducted its survey: June 2006, when homes were selling at an annual rate of about 6.6 million units. There’s good reason to think those figures would be even higher today because of our much more normal market environment. In June 2007 existing-home sales were on track to hit a more modest 5.99 million units, and year-over-year price growth was essentially flat. With this challenging environment, the services of a real estate professional become that much more important to consumers.

Consumer recognition of your value is also reflected in statistics NAR collects annually. Year after year, the majority of consumers choose to work with a professional. Indeed, the FSBO share of home sales has been hovering around 15 percent for years. This isn’t surprising considering FSBO homes generally sell for less than those brokered by professionals.

A consumer satisfaction survey NAR’s been conducting for the past year shows results similar to those of the CFA survey: In a zero-to-10 index, with 10 being the highest, the average score was 9.3.

These findings show that you and consumers are in sync on what’s good service. Of course, if you listened only to the media, you might never know this.

Many pundits think they know consumers better than you do, and that’s why they keep challenging your value and insisting that consumers need alternative ways to sell their home.

The fact is, consumers have for decades had fee-for-service and other alternatives available to them, and they’ve always had the option to sell their home on their own.

But what the CFA and our own findings show is that consumers want hassle-free, professional representation. Let the academics and self-anointed experts scratch their heads over why consumers keep making the “wrong” choice.

Lawrence Yun
Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®

Yun oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1.3 million REALTOR® members.

Dr. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them the Blue Chip Council and the Wall Street Journal Forecasting Survey. He also participates in the Industrial Economists Discussion Group at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. Dr. Yun has appeared as a guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal and is a regular guest columnist on the Forbes website and The Hill, an “inside the beltway” publication on public affairs.

Dr. Yun received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.