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Realtors 'Hear It Direct' from consumers at SDAR Expo

San Diego Realtors had the chance to hear the consumer’s point of view from a panel of six homebuyers at last week’s San Diego Association of Realtors Expo at the Convention Center.

The theme of the discussion was communication. More is better, especially when dealing with the fickle and fast-moving real estate business, yet the panelists each told tales of waiting days to receive a call back, which several said was enough to make them switch Realtors.

The panelists had varying time frames that they deemed acceptable for a Realtor to return a call; the longest was 24 hours. Two buyers said they’d expect to hear back from their Realtor within eight hours, and two said it would depend on what part of the process they’re in, but still said within a day. One panelist said she liked to communicate via email and that her Realtor would contact her with updates.

It was a shock to many of the Realtors in the room that only one of the panelists found a Realtor for the homebuying process through social media — in this case, a high school friend-turned Realtor whose posts caught the eye of the buyer.

Of the other five, one used a loan officer whose radio commercials she’d been hearing for months and wound up developing such a great relationship with him that she used a Realtor he worked with. The rest tried a Google search and then interviews, though most ended up using a Realtor recommended by a friend or family member.

All of the panelists said they did or would appreciate their Realtor staying in contact after the purchase is complete, which would affect whether they recommend the Realtor.

A recurring topic was age, after one panelist said she switched Realtors when the young associate she was working with was condescending, didn’t show up at appointments on time and didn’t have the patience to thoroughly answer all her questions.

The panelists unanimously said that age alone wasn’t a factor, so long as the Realtor was prompt, respectful and knowledgeable, and took the time to fully answer questions and explain the process.

One panelist suggested that young Realtors might want to ask a more experienced colleague to serve as a mentor, and let clients know that they have this person working with them, should they have questions or concerns.

Moderator Jacob Swodeck, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty, pointed out that several of the panelists searched for Realtors using their ZIP code as opposed to town or city name, which is something Realtors may want to consider when optimizing their searchability.

Two panelists said they particularly appreciated their Realtors’ use of comparative analytics in prices for comparable homes in the area and the specifications of recent listings compared to price. The other panelists agreed that would have been beneficial.

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