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Consumer Insights from NAR — A Must Read!

May 18, 2012  |  by John Heithaus

This week at the NAR Mid Year Conference, I was honored to moderate a panel of very recent real estate consumers at the Council of MLS’ event called  “Changing Expectations: What Do Members Need? How Do We Deliver?” The presentation was made to several hundred MLS executives.

The panel was comprised of both experienced and first-time home buyers and, as we hoped, each participant offered great insights into their home purchase (and, in one case, sale) “experience.” They provided the attendees with a very clear picture of what this generation expects from real estate professionals.

There were four prominent takeaways:

1)   The Internet is Dead. Long Live the Internet.
Not really … each consumer started the home search with a simple Google search. That led them to the MLS website, consumer portals and, of primary importance, brokerage websites. While each panel member was “pro” internet, issues about accurate data (prices, rooms counts, on or off market) and a comprehensive listing of all properties for sale were clear frustrations.

2)   “Real time” is not real time …. until I say so.
One thing that’s true about this generation is the expectations for immediate replies and real time data and market analytics. In this context, real time is measured in minutes, not hours or days.

3)   Details Matter. Alot.
Each panelist reaffirmed that this generation appreciates and expects a deep level of detail on the properties they preview and consider. In addition, Google map’s satellite feature was mentioned as well as the value of the “street view.” This obviated the need for property inspections to rule out unsuitable listings.

4)   REALTORS® and real estate professionals are as valued as ever, in fact MORE SO than ever. 

Each and every panelist reaffirmed the value that a real estate professional brings to the transaction and said they could not have done it without them. They also universally stated that while sites like Yelp! can be used for restaurant and hotel reviews, the real estate transaction is too complex and important to DIY. This does not mean they’re passive passengers on the journey. To the contrary, each was deeply engaged in their deals from start to finish and provided specific direction to the real estate professionals they engaged.

I’m left with the impression that all this talk and press about how Gen Y and Millennials don’t respect experience and discrete knowledge and have commoditized data and information is not very well founded. Well, at least with this sample group! What are your experiences with Gen X and M? Are they consistent with mine?

Many thanks to our pals at CMLS for the invite and the learning opportunity!

Posted in Blog, Featured, MRIS CMO Insights

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4 responses to “Consumer Insights from NAR — A Must Read!”

  1. Jackie Berg says:

    I especially love point #3, John. Especially with Gen Y buyers like myself entering the market (well…I wish I was in the market!), "real time" is going to have to truly mean what it says. In just 10 years there will be more Gen Y consumers in the U.S. than Boomers or Gen X’ers – hard to believe, but reinforces the need for transparency, details, and raw information.

  2. Doug Francis says:

    Starting the process with a "Google search" makes a strong case for agents to put their efforts into having a presence on the web with a solid site/blog. That is where all those potential clients will look for you, and a Facebook business page isn't going to cut it!

    Understanding how to market yourself in the age of Google is key. Have you Googled yourself recently?

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