Survey reveals what sellers, buyers really think of real estate agents in the face of tech

March 12, 2019 - 2 min read

The threat of technology in real estate

Are buyers willing to use AI instead of a real estate agent? How do sellers really feel about those commission fees? Which generation is most likely to forgo an agent altogether? A new survey has some interesting insights in how real estate agents are seen, used and (in some cases) replaced in today’s tech-savvy market.

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The role of real estate agents

According to a survey by discount realty firm Clever, Millennials have some strong opinions about the role of real estate agents.

When compared with other generations, they’re 93 percent less likely to use a real estate agent. They’re also twice as likely to say agents are “unimportant” or “not important at all to the home selling process.”

How to hire the best real estate agent to sell your home

Still, they’re not the only sellers willing to forgo the traditional route when selling their homes. The survey shows that about half of all sellers would be willing to use an AI platform to find potential buyers, while another 37 percent think that AI could outperform a human agent. Another 15 percent say they might every try to sell their home themselves.

As Thomas O’Shaughnessy, research analyst at Clever explains, “Today, realtors are facing serious competition from a number of different directions, including AI-driven technologies that rely on data and automation to identify qualified buyers and execute real estate transactions.”

Though it’s still “early days” for many of these services, O’Shaughnessy says, “What is clear, however, is that interest among consumers is growing, meaning that these technologies will continue to emerge and improve — and real estate professionals will need to adapt.”

Do I need a real estate agent to buy a home?

Commissions are “costly”

The survey shows that nearly half of all home sellers don’t realize they need to pay both their agent’s fee and the fees of the buyer’s agent when putting their home on the market. More than half actually think the buyer pays these fees.

On top of that? A full third think the average 6 percent commission fee is costly and unfair.

“The key takeaway is that many homeowners simply don’t understand all of the costs involved in selling a home,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Real estate agents should set realistic expectations at the outset in order to avoid nasty surprises and difficult conversations further down the line.”

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Aly J. Yale
Authored By: Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate writer based in Houston who has contributed to Forbes and worked for organizations such as The Dallas Morning News, PBS, NBC, and Radio Disney.