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During this time of social distancing, it may be challenging to stay in close contact with your agents and understand their wants and needs. With this in mind, I decided it would be valuable to share several of the insights we gained in our annual member survey.

Each year, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) asks its members (ABR® designees) about their work with buyers, their marketing efforts and their top learning priorities. Managing brokers will be particularly interested in several key topics:

Buyer Representation Agreements

Among surveyed members, the vast majority of ABR® designees use some form of a buyer representation agreement, typically an exclusive right to represent (69 percent of respondents). However, 18 percent said, “I trust my clients will compensate me for my service, expertise and time.”

If your state doesn’t require signed buyer agreements, or your brokerage does not require them, the share of your agents working from “trust” is probably significantly higher than 18 percent.

Many agents shy away from using buyer agreements because they lack confidence, but a written agreement can be incredibly valuable in establishing mutual expectations, preventing misunderstandings and instilling loyalty.

The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) Designation Course addresses common obstacles for using buyer agreements and helps agents boost their knowledge and skills in all aspects of buyer representation.

Thirst for Knowledge

When asked about improving their skills as a buyer’s agent, the top response—by a wide margin—was “marketing my business—expanding my reach and building a strong professional reputation.”

The significance of marketing skills was also reflected in numerous verbatim comments elaborating on training priorities, including:

  • Learn how to generate leads instead of buying them
  • Use social media more
  • Build my personal brand and provide world-class service to my clients

As a managing broker, it is safe to assume that your agents are hungry for any knowledge that will help them build their business, especially during these times when business practices and marketing skills are evolving to meet new pandemic-related challenges.

Share as many timely and helpful marketing tips as possible and consider supporting your agents’ efforts to develop new skills.

You may also want to take advantage of online courses offered by the Center for REALTOR® Development. As part of NAR’s Right Tools, Right Now campaign, all online courses are discounted 30 percent through Aug. 31, 2020. Visit for details.

Additional Insights

Please join me next month when I’ll be sharing more insider perspectives on what agents want in part two of this column. 

Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 27,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, visit