In 2013, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) started producing an annual report on buying and selling trends across generations. It’s full of good information, but it’s also 130-plus pages long. We’re sharing highlights from the 2023 report to save you from the search. (If you want to read the full report, there’s a link at the end of this article.)
The key finding from the sellers and real estate professionals section of the report is this: When sellers were choosing a real estate agent, they valued reputation, honesty, a referral or prior connection, help setting the sales price, and marketing for their property. Despite all you may hear about technology, sellers prized the human touch for their transactions.
Finding a real estate agent
The top two ways sellers found their real estate agents far outstripped all the other options, and they were within a few percentage points across all generations. Ready? Number one was referral by a friend, neighbor or relative, proving that it really is who you know that matters. That leads nicely into the second most popular way sellers found their agents: They had used the agent previously for a purchase or sale. Sellers trust people they know, whether it’s from a referral or previous business relationship.
Factors considered when choosing an agent
All generations agreed on this topic, too. Reputation and honesty were the two most important attributes they used to choose a real estate agent, followed by a friend or family connection, and neighborhood knowledge. 40% of Older Millennials (33-42 years old) and Younger Baby Boomers (58-67 years old) said reputation was the most important factor in their choice, but the other generations were close behind.
Interestingly – and you may be surprised by this – being able to reach their agent by using technology like a smartphone or tablet ranked very low, including among younger sellers. Only 1% of Younger Millennials (24-32 years old) cited it as their most important factor in agent choice.
Working with a former Realtor®
Let’s go back to the topic of using an agent more than once. Did sellers use the same agent who sold their home to help them buy another one? And here we saw some almost opposite results from younger and older sellers, with the flip happening between Older Millennials and Gen X (43-57 years old). Two-thirds of Younger Millennials, and over half of Older Millennials used the same agent, while about two-thirds of Gen X and Baby Boomers used a different agent. The Silent Generation (77-97 years old) was most evenly split, 46% using the same agent and 54% using a new one.
There’s a correlation to distance moved that may account for this difference. When we looked at sellers and their selling experience, we noted that Gen X, Younger Baby Boomers, and Older Baby Boomers (68-76 years old) moved the farthest. If you moved 70, 150, or 95 miles, as these 3 generations did, you would be unlikely to use the same real estate agent. Conversely, if you moved 15 or 20 miles, as did Younger and Older Millennials, you would be more likely to use the same agent.
What sellers want from their Realtor®
Two-thirds of the generations agree that the most important thing they want from their agent is help setting their sales price. There’s an exception to this among Baby Boomers. A greater percentage of them listed marketing as their number one need. At the time NAR collected this data, there was generally a strong seller’s market, with low housing inventory and multiple offers. Even in these favorable conditions, sellers saw the need to price properly and market effectively. Younger Millennials were the only generation where a higher percentage chose selling in a specific timeframe over marketing as the service they wanted from their real estate professional.
More From The 2023 NAR Report
Understand how buyers financed their home purchase in 2023.
Marketing the home sale
Placement on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was ranked as the most-used marketing approach by all generations. Coming in second was the distinctly low-tech yard sign. These two tried-and-true methods are clearly standard for agents, but more high-tech web-based systems came into play in the next 4 spots, led by placement on Realtor.com. Open houses were still a popular marketing choice, particularly with Older Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.
So, how satisfied were sellers with their agents? “Definitely would use again or recommend to others” far outweighed all other options, ranging from a high of 83% of Older Millennials to a still respectable 68% of Older Baby Boomers. But if they would recommend, the next question is – did they? Almost three-quarters of all sellers recommended their agent, 27% recommending them four or more times! Those sound like satisfied sellers to us.
If you’re selling your home and want to buy another, we’re here with your next loan.
About the National Association of Realtors® Generational Trends Report
The National Association of Realtors® 2023 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report was researched and written by the National Association of Realtors® Research Group. It’s based on data gathered from primary residence homebuyers who purchased their properties between July 2021 and June 2022. Seller information came from buyers who also sold a home. For more information or to see the full report, visit https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics
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