NAR has been administering its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey since 1981. The survey has grown from 59 to 131 questions, and gives us great insight into the trends, wants and needs associated with the most significant financial decision of most people’s lives: purchasing a primary residence for themselves and their families.
In this article, we’re going to dig in a little deeper into the findings from the 2018 version of the survey to focus on sellers:
Sellers Are Staying in Their Homes Longer
In the last 30 years, sellers have remained in the same home for longer periods of time. From 1987-2008, sellers stayed in their homes for a median of six years, with the only exception being 1997, when the median tenure bumped up to seven years. After 2008, the median tenure began to increase by one year each year.
By 2011, the median tenure reached nine years, where it remained for three consecutive years, and jumped up again in 2014 to 10 years. It decreased to nine years in 2015, but rose in 2016 to a median of 10 years, where it remained in 2017, effectively doubling since data collection started three decades prior.
It’s not necessarily clear why sellers are staying in their homes longer, but one possibility for some is that they are waiting for their equity to increase, especially given the economic downturn.
Seller Relationships With Agents Are Steady and Strong
Eighty-nine percent of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home. In addition—same as last year—90 percent of sellers listed their homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the No. 1 source for sellers to list their homes. Only 4 percent opted not to list on an MLS.
Client referrals and repeat business are the predominant ways sellers find their real estate agent. Most sellers—85 percent—said that they would definitely (67 percent) or probably (18 percent) recommend their agent for future services.
Sixty-two percent of sellers were “very satisfied” with the selling process; 26 percent were somewhat satisfied. Only 13 percent were dissatisfied with the process.
Key Skills Sellers Want in Their Agents
Sellers place high priority on the following five tasks: market the home to potential buyers (21 percent); sell the home within a specific timeframe (20 percent); price the home competitively (18 percent); find a buyer for home (15 percent); and help fix the home to sell better (15 percent).
The reputation of the real estate agent was by far the most important factor when sellers selected an agent to sell their home (34 percent). Sellers also place value on the agent’s trustworthiness and honesty (18 percent) and whether the agent is a friend or family member (16 percent).
FSBOs Are Decreasing
In 1981, FSBO home sales accounted for 15 percent of all sales, and agent-assisted sales accounted for 85 percent. FSBO sales have declined over time, and in 2017, FSBOs accounted for 8 percent of total home sales again for the third year in a row. This is the lowest share since data collection began.
FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes. For FSBO sellers, those who know the buyer tend to have higher median household incomes compared to those who did not know the buyer. Where FSBO sellers knew the buyer, the time on market for the home was usually a week, and sellers received 100 percent of the asking price.