The 2013 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers came out in November and is full of helpful tips for you to use in your business.  There are some things in the study that come as no surprise.  Below is a list of the highlights that I found interesting and pertinent.

Buyer Side

38% of Buyers are first-timers.  This is down from the historical norm of 40% – I would suggest that this has something to do with the availability of financing (more on this down the list).  The opportunity for you is to be an expert, or team with an expert on mortgages.  You could host first-time buyer seminars by marketing to apartment complexes.

The typical Buyer was 42, first time Buyer was 31, and repeat Buyer was 52 – All of this points to a divide between the average buyer and the average Realtor.  When you consider that the typical Realtor is a 57 year old woman, this should be a branding opportunity for younger agents.  For agents that are “typical”, this should be a wake-up call for how you market to buyers.

66% of Buyers were married, the highest level since 2001 – Marketing at wedding shows?

85% of Buyers cited energy costs as important.  Cost of commuting was important to 73%. – When talking with your sellers, find out what energy efficiency features the home has so you can highlight them.

92% of Buyers used the Internet in their home search – This is nothing new, but it speaks to the power of knowing how your property looks to the online viewer.  Professional photos are an absolute must.  True marketing descriptions that sell the house and the features (NOT WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS) should be carefully crafted.  All information should be included in the listing.

42% of Buyers found their agent through a referral.  12% used an agent they had used before – Seriously, read this previous post and put your plan in action.  You have to keep marketing to your spheres of influence and past clients constantly.  The goal is 1.5-2 referrals per year per person in your database.

88% of Buyers would use their agent again or refer them – Read the headline of the previous item on this list and tell me what’s wrong.  Shortly after purchasing, 88% would use their agent again, but only 12% do when they go to buy their next home.  Read the previous post linked above.

Two thirds of Buyers only interviewed one agent before making a choice – You will see a similar stat below in the Seller side.  Hone your appointment setting skills, folks.  If you can get in the door, you are nearly assured the client.

40% of Buyers found the mortgage app process difficult.  Reasons included: saving for down payment (12%), student loans (43%), credit card debt (38%), car loans (31%) – As mentioned in the first item on this list, if you aren’t a resource for finance-related issues, or have an expert in your pocket, this should be one of the first things you do this week.  There are so many opportunities for you here.

Seller Side

The average Seller lived in their home for 9 years – This is up three years in the past five.  This is one of the reasons for the shortage of inventory many markets are seeing.  It is directly tied to the equity they have or don’t have because of the downturn.  Walk interested parties through a net proceeds estimate.  In marketing to a farm area, you should highlight the appreciation of values, if they exist.

36% of Sellers offered some sort of incentive to Buyers, most often home warranties and closing costs – Prep your sellers well.  Although, it is entirely possible that in your market the strength of demand may diminish this.

39% of Sellers found their agent through a referral.  25% used the agent they had worked with previously – Similar to the Buyer numbers above, market to your sphere and past clients.  Build lasting relationships, build lasting business.

84% of Sellers report that they would use their agent again and/or refer them to others – While the numbers don’t reflect such a drop-off from the Buyer numbers, it is still significant.

Two thirds of Sellers only interviewed one agent before choosing – Just like above, if you get in the door, you are likely to get the business.

While the #1 reason FSBO Sellers stated for not using an agent was saving on commission, the average FSBO sold for $184k, while the average home listed by an agent sold for $230k – I’m not a math major but it sure seems like that huge savings they are getting by selling it themselves is actually costing them money.  If you chase FSBOs, you should be equipped with that info.

Again, there shouldn’t be anything that shocks you in this report if you’re paying attention to the market.  That being said, when you dive into the numbers, there are unique opportunities to market yourself.  It will be very interesting, I think, to see what this survey looks like next year.



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