In a previous post, we examined data from the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. We looked at the particular buying trends among millennials — how their income compares with current housing prices, why, where and what they choose to buy, and how they searched and ultimately found their first or new home.

In this article, we’ll focus on how millennials found a real estate agent and the ways they felt their real estate agent was most helpful. For the purposes of clarifying the data below, “younger millennials” are those currently age 28 and younger and “older millennials” are those ages 29 – 38.

Method of home purchase

Younger millennials vs. older millennials 

  • 92% and 87% bought through a real estate agent or broker
  • 2% and 5% bought directly from a builder or the builder’s agent
  • 6% and 7% bought directly from the previous owner

How buyers found their real estate agent

Younger millennials vs. older millennials 

  • 52% and 50% were referred by (or is) a friend, neighbor, or relative
  • 6% and 9% worked with an agent previously to buy or sell a home
  • 6% and 8% inquired about a specific property viewed online
  • 9% and 6% found the agent’s website (without a specific reference)
  • 3% and 4% were referred by another real estate agent/broker
  • 4% and 2% visited an open house and met the agent
  • 4% and 4% saw contact information on For Sale/Open House sign
  • 2% and 2% were contacted personally by a real estate agent (telephone, email, etc.)

Note: 70% of younger millennials and 68% of the older cohort only interviewed one real estate agent, 21% and 19% interviewed two, 5% and 8% met with three, and only 3% and 5% met with four or more.

What buyers want most from a real estate agent

Younger millennials vs. older millennials 

  • 51% and 48% of buyers wanted help finding the right home to purchase
  • 18% and 16% wanted help negotiating the terms of sale
  • 8% and 12% wanted assistance negotiating price
  • 8% and 7% wanted guidance on determining what comparable homes were selling for
  • 9% and 7% wanted help with paperwork
  • 6% and 5% wanted help determining what they can afford
  • 2% and 2% said help finding and arranging financing for their home purchase
  • 1% and 1% looked to the agent for information about the neighborhood and local amenities

Skills and qualities considered very important

Younger millennials vs. older millennials 

  • 96% and 96% considered honesty and integrity most important
  • 95% and 94% knowledge of purchase process
  • 94% and 94% responsiveness
  • 88% and 92% knowledge of real estate market
  • 89% and 88% communication skills
  • 82% and 87% negotiation skills
  • 79% and 77% people skills
  • 66% and 72% knowledge of local area
  • 40% and 40% skills with technology

Importance of communications with real estate agent

Younger millennials vs. older millennials

  • 71% and 67% their real estate agent calls personally to keep them updated
  • 73% and 70% sends postings as soon as a property is listed/the price changes/under contract
  • 76% and 69% sends property info and communicates via text message
  • 58% and 55% sends emails about my specific needs
  • 48% and 53% sends market reports on recent listings and sales
  • 26% and 27% has a website
  • 25% and 26% has a mobile site to show properties
  • 10% and 10% is active in local community/volunteerism
  • 14% and 13% is active on social media
  • 9% and 7% sends out an email newsletter
  • 2% and 1% advertises in newspapers
  • 1% and 1% has a blog

Note: Personal contact by phone is still appreciated.

Benefits provided by real estate agent

Younger millennials vs. older millennials

  • 87% and 72% helped buyer understand the process
  • 69% and 58% pointed out unnoticed features/faults with property
  • 51% and 49% negotiated better sales contract terms
  • 46% and 49% provided a better list of service providers (e.g. home inspector)
  • 50% and 41% improved buyer’s knowledge of search areas
  • 38% and 35% negotiated a better price
  • 35% and 26% shortened buyer’s home search
  • 26% and 25% provided better list of mortgage lenders
  • 20% and 18% expanded buyer’s search area
  • 14% and 14% narrowed buyer’s search area
  • 1% and 5% said none of the above

Satisfaction with real estate agent’s skills and qualities

Younger millennials vs. older millennials

  • 90% and 89% knowledge of purchase process
  • 89% and 89% honesty and integrity
  • 86% and 85% knowledge of real estate market
  • 85% and 87% responsiveness
  • 89% and 84% people skills
  • 84% and 83% communication skills
  • 80% and 79% knowledge of local area
  • 84% and 80% skills with technology
  • 76% and 73% negotiation skills

Would use real estate agent again or recommend to others

Younger millennials vs. older millennials

  • 72% and 70% said they would definitely recommend their agent
  • 20% and 19% probably would recommend
  • 5% and 5% would probably not recommend
  • 3% and 4% would definitely not recommend

The Bottom Line

The good news for real estate agents in 2019 is that 87% of all buyers purchased their home through a broker or real estate agent. But, with technological advances, and new approaches to the traditional broker/agent business model being explored, understanding and meeting buyers’ expectations remains critical. Soft skills along with honesty, integrity, a clear line of communication, and strong negotiating skills are essential qualities real estate professionals must have if they are to be truly successful.