In today’s show we catch up with the author of a report on what you really think about agents, Kylie Davis who is the head of Real Estate Solutions at CoreLogic. This is part one of it, we will catch up again Friday.
Kevin: I was really interested to read some research that was released during the week by CoreLogic RP Data. Market research company Roy Morgan has been polling Australians about the trustworthiness of different professions since 1975. Real estate agents really haven’t rated all that well over the years. I guess it’s painting a different picture. The 2015 results are out. I’m talking now to Kylie Davis who is the head of Real Estate Solutions at CoreLogic.
Kylie, thanks for your time.
Kylie: Thanks very much, Kevin. Great to be here.
Kevin: I was really interested to go through some of these results. Let’s deal with a few of them. Let’s have a look at the first one. We always talk about how important it is for people when they’re selling their property to call in more than one agent. But I notice that 38% of people only call in one. Is that, do you think, because agents are getting better at marketing themselves?
Kylie: I think there are a couple of things sitting behind that number. My initial reaction was, “Gee, that’s a lot of people who are playing a bit of Russian Roulette with how they go,” but what’s behind it is that the people who only call in one agent have usually done a couple of behaviors before they call in that one agent.
They will have probably seen an agent successfully sell a local property. They will have been to a couple of open for inspections or they will have checked out the market and seen an agent in action and been impressed by how he or she managed that process or how they interacted with them.
Especially what those people who are only seeing one agent are doing in most cases is they’re also doing a lot of online research. They’re looking at the agent’s website, finding out how that agent behaves and how they present properties and what their process and structure is. They’re doing a lot of offline research. Then they’re meeting the agent and interviewing them to confirm what they’ve seen is good to go.
Kevin: The big drive in the industry is about becoming someone’s agent before they actually need one. That probably is the end result of that type of activity.
Interesting there, picking up on a point that you made about how much research sellers do. They use the Internet but only 3% of vendors are influenced by social media. It’s obviously not having as much of an impact as I thought it would have.
Kylie: We were a bit surprised by that. We thought that there would be more. I think that there are a couple of things at play in that space. Unless you socially know an agent because they’re a friend or you know them through acquaintances, you’re not going to friend them until you are in that space where you want to buy or sell.
I think, too, a lot of agents do social media really poorly. Posting on Twitter, “I have a new house for sale,” or “Here’s a new house for sale,” is the most boring thing and no one wants to follow that. That kind behavior in that social space isn’t working as a way of attracting either vendors or buyers.
Kevin: What were the big things that were attracting them? What did you find out there?
Kylie: Overwhelmingly, one of the key influences is seeing the agent perform successfully for somebody else. What that told us was that the take out for real estate agents is that every open for inspection is an audition for every potential new customer you might ever have.
In fact, when you go into an open house, even if you’re just kicking the tires or checking out a neighbor’s home, the way that an agent treats you during that process is going to make you decide that they’re worth thinking about if you ever come to use them again or whether you just dismiss them on sight, pretty much.
Kevin: Obviously, potential sellers are doing a lot more homework than I think agents realize. You make a good point there about how they perform at an open house, how they’re going to be judged by that performance, and how they’re going to be followed up because it’s like an audition.
Kylie: It is. It’s completely an audition. You have to be on from day one. A lot of real estate agents, I think they segment in their mind, “I’m just trying to sell this house now so that has nothing to do with my next prospect. That’s a completely different behavior.” In fact, what the research shows that they’re really intrinsically linked.
Kevin: Was there a difference in performance or the way they’re assessed between male and female agents?
Kylie: There was and there wasn’t. We asked our survey respondents… And all of our survey respondents were people who had sold a home recently. I think that’s a really important differentiator.
While Roy Morgan was asking the community at large, “What do you think of agents?” what we wanted to understand was people who are actually paying to use an agent in selling their home, what was their experience like in dealing with that agent and how good, bad, or indifferent was it?
We asked our survey respondents if their agent was male or female, but that was all we asked. Then we basically did a whole lot of research into what the behaviors were that made an agent amazing, all right, or poor, and then we broke that down by sex. That was how we got to it. We weren’t asking anyone to judge whether their male agent was better or worse than their female agent.
What came out of that, though, was that there were four or five key behaviors that an agent does or doesn’t do that will determine if they are excellent, okay, or not great.
Kevin: We’ll come back a little bit later in the show and tell you what those key findings were. One of the other findings we’ll discuss later in the show, too, is why so many consumers lose confidence in their agent during the selling process.
Kylie Davis, back again with us a little bit later in the show.