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The Everlasting Importance of the Real Estate Agent

They wear many hats: trusted advisor, financial expert, chauffeur, decorator, life coach and psychologist. Today we discuss real estate agents and the important role they play in one of life’s biggest milestones.

Here is one future prediction that’s guaranteed to come true: In ten, twenty, or even 100 years, people will still need places to live. And as long as people need places to live, they will need someone to help them find a home.

Purchasing a home is one of life’s biggest milestones. Since it’s also the number one financial transaction the vast majority of us will ever make, it goes without saying that having a trusted advisor by our side is critically important.

Let’s take a look at some statistics from NAR that bear this out:

  • 87% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker
  • 90% of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home.
  • Only 7% of recent home sales were FSBO sales (For Sale By Owner) this year.
  • FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $260,000 last year, significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $318,000.

As you can see, having a real estate agent to guide people through the process is a crucial need. And despite advances in technology such as virtual home showings, it’s a need that’s not going anywhere.

For agents, technology is a vital tool

Quality agents have access to best-in-class tools, technology and data that sets them apart. These are things that traditional consumers entering the housing market—people who are not “in the business”—simply cannot access. It’s one of the many reasons the top performing agents are regarded as trusted advisors to their clientele.

As Sue Yannaccone, President and CEO, Franchise Group, Anywhere, explains, “There are things an agent can do that no technology is going to replace. But the agent that fails to embrace the tools that make it more seamless… that agent’s going to be replaced. Being connected to a company that is going to provide those resources to consumers and that agent is going to be invaluable.”

Move real estate towards what’s next

Real estate agents quite often have an entrepreneurial mindset. Many would say it’s an integral part of their personality, as well as an essential attribute in order be successful. The drive, work ethic, and competitive spirit are common with real estate agents, as with any business owner or executive.

As entrepreneurs, we are also responsible for building our own brand. And though many agents find success working on their own or for an independent brokerage, they can do far more for their own personal brand by joining a national affiliation.

Just a few months back, we talked about the power of a national affiliate in terms of building your professional network: “It offers access to a truly impressive array of networking opportunities—on a local, national, and even global basis.”

And that’s just the beginning of how national affiliation can help agents grow their business and brand. Recently, RISMedia profiled Anywhere, including an interview with Sue where she laid out ways the company is poised to connect with the next generation of homebuyers: “Over the past several years, we’ve gone through a major transformation. We’ve fortified our balance sheet and really built a long-term strategy to move real estate toward what’s next.”

Simply put, Anywhere has made investments in technology that independent brokers simply cannot match. That investment is poised to help our agents serve as trusted advisors to millennial and Gen Z homebuyers, empowering them to connect in new and innovative ways.

Anywhere also recently presented the company’s go-forward strategy, which includes doubling down on its ambitious goal of making the real estate transaction simpler for consumers. How? By reimagining the consumer transaction, focusing on simplification and an improved consumer experience. These strategies will continue to attract and retain the industry’s top talent.

Consumers value professionals who can demystify the home-buying process

In early June, 2022, we spoke with Bonnie Sue Lovelace, Vice President of Learning for Anywhere, about macro-level industry trends, and the future of real estate learning. She said, “Among the biggest trends is in fact a continuation and deepening of a trend we’ve seen for a while: consumers continue to highly value the services provided by real estate agents—those knowledgeable, skilled professionals whom they can trust, who guide them past obstacles, who demystify complex processes, and who get them successfully across the finish line of either buying or selling a home.”

This brings us back to the idea of the real estate agent as trusted advisor. More and more, customers just assume that most if not all real estate agents have high-tech capabilities. What separates the good agent from the great is the type of expertise that cannot be googled. For buyers, a great real estate agent is an expert in the house, as well as the overall community—from the schools, to restaurants, to the person to call when you need landscaping service.

For sellers, a real estate agent who is a trusted advisor can, as Forbes says, “…help you gather vital background information about housing market activity in your area, such as the sales price of recently-sold similar properties and what housing features are highly sought after. They should also advise you on the right time to list your property and relieve you of the burden of listing and marketing your home for sale.”

A good real estate agent is indispensable even for the “simple” transactions. Also important? Having a strong network and access to partners across the industry. Being part of a franchise builds a culture of community and information-sharing. This thriving environment of learning, sharing, and support is a powerful differentiator, allowing agents to continue their role as trusted advisor.

How can the industry better support real estate agents

With all that real estate agents do, how can the industry-at-large do its best to support them? Anywhere talked with Thomas Wright, President and Principal Broker at Summit Sotheby’s International Realty about this, and his answer was enlightening.

“Our industry often asks sales associates and real estate advisors to do too much. They have to be an agent, a marketer, a photographer, a sign installer, a legal expert… and the list goes on. We prefer to provide our agents with best-in-class support services, hiring the top talent so that the agent can grow their businesses, stay in flow with their databases, and advocate for their clients. If we all come to the table by doing our highest and best, we collectively benefit more than we would as individuals.”

It all comes down to investing in the support agents need to do their job at the highest level. Which is an area where Anywhere and their family of brands continue to lead the way.

Interested in learning more about our six powerhouse brands? We would love to hear from you.

Keep your finger on the real estate pulse with more articles, videos, podcasts and insights from Anywhere.

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