What Home Buyers & Sellers Want - Do you Really Know?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2012 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers Report reveals some suprising trends about those people who purchased or sold a home during the course of the year 2012.  The excellent infographic below was also created by NAR to summarize some of the report's more telling findings.  There are at least three significant take-aways that real estate agents can utilize from this information:

1.   First-Time Home Buyers Purchased 39% of Homes

Despite the perception that increased home sales statistics have been dominated largly by cash purchases made by investors in the wake of the financial crisis, first-time home buyers suprisingly represented the largest demographic of purchasers in the report.  Realtors can no longer afford to avoid such a substantial segment of the market simply because first-time buyers require more attention, time and counseling. 
Agents should consider directing their marketing efforts towards those just entering the housing market.  Realtors must also be familiar with the various types of first-time buyer financing options available and be sure to get potential clients pre-qualified before a significant investment of time and effort is made.

2.   Realtors Get Business By Referral

An amazing 40% of buyers and 38% of sellers were referred to their real estate agent by a friend, neighbor or relative in 2012. Never has it been more important for Realtors to grow and market to their client databases systematically and consistently.  Agents can also farm specific neighborhoods to gain neighborhood "mind-share" so that the agent is the first to come to mind when a neighbor is asked for a referral.

3.   89% of Buyers used a Realtor to Buy a Home

This now staggering figure has increased dramatically from just 69% in 2001.  Never has it been more important for sellers to list their homes for sale with a Realtor in a mulitple listing service.  If agents don't know a property is for sale, sellers are missing out on 9 out of 10 potential buyers actively looking to purchase a home.  Real estate agents and associations must continue to get this message out to "for sale by owners" (FSBOs) and the general public.