By Marc Gould
It’s a new year, and our real estate market has experienced some changes. The 2013 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reveals trends of stringent credit standards and tightened inventory, but the desire to own a home remains constant; nearly a third of all buyers cited this as their reason to purchase last year. The report also shows that, although the Internet plays an increasingly strong role in the home search process, buyers still need real estate professionals to close the deal. As you implement your business strategies for 2014, remember that Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) resources are designed to help you give buyer-clients exactly what they need.
Online marketing is important as nine out of 10 buyers used the Internet at some point while looking for a home last year and many found their agents online. And ABR® provides marketing tools to maintain a strong Web presence. For instance, the ABR® Facebook Business Splash Page lets brokers install a special tab on their Facebook business pages telling potential clients about the designation and its value. REALTORS® with the ABR® designation have access to great content for websites, e-newsletters, and social network pages, along with videos that can be added to websites. And our weekly email, the TBR HotSheet, compiles a collection of online articles that can be posted to online marketing channels.
While most buyers use the Internet during the home-buying process, we all know it doesn’t replace the agent in the transaction. In fact, 90 percent of buyers who used the Internet to search for homes ultimately used an agent to complete the purchase. The reason? Knowledge and expertise.
• 59 percent of buyers says they benefitted from an agent helping them understand the process.
• 44 percent says their agents negotiated better sales terms and improved their knowledge of search areas.
• More than half of buyers say their agent pointed out unnoticed features or faults with a property.
ABR® designees have the tools they need to develop the expertise that buyers want and maintain a competitive edge: ABR® Scripts help brokers navigate topics like compensation and representation; Consumer One-Sheets help educate buyers on more than 20 important topics, such as formulating an offer and the true cost of homeownership; and The Home Buyer’s Toolkit walks buyers through the home-buying process and reinforces the importance of using an ABR®.
When buyers were asked about skills and qualities considered “very important” in an agent, honesty and integrity, knowledge of the purchase process, responsiveness, and knowledge of the market topped the list. The ABR® designation demonstrates excellence in buyer representation and a commitment to developing the skills and qualities that buyers value most. REALTORS® with the ABR® designation have access to a plethora of resources to promote their aptitude, all of which can be found at REBAC.net.
Designees can leverage the ABR® Network, an exclusive community that helps them stay on top of the changing market and up-to-date on best practices. REALTORS® with the ABR® designation can interact with fellow designees through forums, groups, and blogs to share expert advice, obtain referrals and build their buyer-representation networks.
While implementing business strategies this year, take advantage of the resources ABR® has to offer, and give buyers exactly what they need.
Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for the National Association of REALTORS® and executive director of REBAC.
To learn more, visit REBAC.net.