WESTPORT, Conn. -- Jay Tolisano with the Atlantic Home Loans Westport office invited more than 100 of the area’s top Realtors to learn directly from consumers, who gave the real estate pros insights into what they want when buying or selling a home.
The panel discussion with five recent local homebuyers took place Oct. 8 at the Westport Women’s Club. The buyer panel was moderated by Brandy Eads Saldivar from Hear it Direct, a real estate market research company who partners with real estate agents to offer educational programs and training on meeting the needs of today’s consumers.
Tolisano, community mortgage banker with Atlantic Home Loans, was the morning’s host. He said the motivation for the event came after learning only 28 percent of buyers remember their Realtor’s name after the first year of working with them and thinking more could be done to improve that statistic.
Panel members from the Tri-State Area were asked a series of questions. They were intended to reveal the panelists' experience with the homebuying process and relationship with their agent so all could improve the relationship between consumers and real estate professionals.
Most of the home buyers had started their research online. Most had started with Google searches on individual homes, town information and most had visited one or more real estate vertical sites such as Zillow or Trulia or company real estate sites.
Most of the buyers had found the agent they worked with either through personal referral, or an open house event. Most were not swayed by sites that offered online reviews or testimonials on agents. Here were some important insights the agents learned from the panelists.
• Most homebuyers start their home search online, but still need a lot of education from their Realtor on the entire transaction process and how to manage expectations, particularly when it comes to presenting offers. • The panelists each agreed they did not want to work with a Realtor right away because they did not want to be bombarded with information. They preferred to do independent research first and, in hindsight, wished they had had a knowledgeable agent to work with from the get-go. • Buyers valued agents who had strong knowledge of the local area, particularly local community information, schools and local home values. • Buyers visited websites or Facebook pages that were devoted to town information rather than Realtor's Facebook pages. • Buyers value an initial meeting with a Realtor in an office setting (professional and safe) where their needs are heard and they can build a rapport and trust with an agent. • Buyers wanted agents who were not pushy, were open, honest and communicated regularly and managed expectations. • They did not like agents who wasted their time sending information on homes that did not meet their initial criteria. • They expect a quick response (within hours) to questions or if they identify a home they would like to see. • The buyer panelists were not all aware of Connecticut state law that requires all agents to offer Buyer Agent Services to home buyers at the first meeting. Buyers must sign a document either accepting (Buyer Agent Agreement) or declining, with the understanding they go unrepresented.
The event was sponsored by: The Jay Tolisano Team, Birgit Anich Staging and Interiors, Tiger Inspections, Penner Law Firm and Zippy Shell Moving and Storage.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.