Post written by Anthony Hitt
President and CEO of Engel & Völkers Americas, overseeing the global real estate brand's growth and operations in the Americas.
What makes a consumer choose their real estate agent?
In an industry largely driven by personal connections, the top two factors when selecting an agent, as identified by both the homebuyers and sellers we surveyed, are local expertise and, as expected, recommendations and referrals. And when differentiating between a good and an excellent agent a client would use again or recommend to a friend, it comes down to the personalization of the experience.
The Importance Of A Differentiated Agent Brand
Having a differentiated agent brand, or specialization, has always been important, whether that’s a certain geography, neighborhood, client base or expertise in a related field, such as renovations or beach homes. However, as technology has empowered consumers to be more self-sufficient in the homebuying and selling process than ever before, this has become absolutely critical for agents looking to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Consumers can browse listings on their desired search portal of choice without even connecting to another human being. They can easily access a wealth of knowledge through online forums and websites dedicated to all things house and home. Consumers today simply will not pay for an agent to do the same things they feel they can accomplish on their own, and as such, agents must invest time and energy within a specific specialization in order to provide a value their competitors cannot replicate.
What can technology not replace? Search engines, devices, digital assistants and the like will never be able to replace the uniquely valuable expertise and knowledge that an agent can provide about a certain neighborhood, block, building, street or home, or grasp the emotional significance of buying or selling a home.
As technology becomes more sophisticated at handling the “back-end” or “nuts and bolts” aspects of homebuying and selling, it is these softer, yet still critical, traits that will help agents stand out and add value to clients.