Real Estate Market

Disconnect between what buyers, sellers want

(4/15/2011) ERATE Exclusive - In an already tough no-holds-barred market, sellers may be working against themselves when they decide what's included in a listing and in the way they choose an agent.

Buyers are looking for photographs, mapped locations, room sizes and floor plans to help them size up a home.

Sellers are more apt to give them listings with virtual tours and they select agents based on factors that don't always jibe with buyers' interests.

A new HomeGain survey shows a distinct disconnect between sellers and buyers regarding what information is desired in a property listing. Most home sellers select listing agents based on fees, web presence and office location rather than on their specific marketing plans.

In a buyer's market that's already working against sellers, it behooves them to be aware of what buyers really want.

"It's no surprise that photographs, maps and floor plans were popular with home buyers," said Louis Cammarosano, HomeGain's general manager.

"It is surprising, however, that a large majority of home sellers did not select agents based on the agent's specific marketing plans designed to meet buyers' interests, but rather on the basis of fees and an agent's office location."

The survey isn't clear, but perhaps sellers' preoccupation with the listing price in a depressed housing market is making them determine where they can pinch pennies. Sellers can save thousands if the can negotiate to pay a smaller commission.

HomeGain's "Home Buyers and Sellers Listing Preferences" survey asked more than 1,000 home buyers to rate, on a scale of one to five, the importance of certain home listing amenities and information including, but not limited to, the number of photographs available, neighborhood information, virtual tours and interactive floor plans presented in connection with home listings.

The results show that the most important listings feature buyers want to see is a large number of photographs, followed by mapped location and room sizes.

Buyers' Top 10 Most Sought Property Listing Features

1. Wide selection of photographs (4.3)
2. Location of the property on a map (4.1)
3. Room sizes (4.0)
4. Floor plans (3.9)
5. Town name (3.8)
6. House number (3.57)
7. Street name (3.57)
8. Room description (3.51)
9. 360 virtual tours (3.4)
10. Information on local services, including shops and schools (3.2)

Buyers were also asked to rate their interest in basic, 3D and interactive floor plans. A basic floor plan with photographs was the most appealing (3.7), followed by 3D floor plans with virtual tours or photographs came in second with a 3.4 rating.

Less interest was indicated for interactive floor plans that allow for full customization like dragging and dropping furniture (3.1) or adding and removing bedrooms (3.0), HomeGain said.

Approximately 800 home sellers were asked to identify their top three factors for selecting a short list of lising agents.

Twenty-nine percent said agent fees were the main factor considered to narrow down their choice of agents.

Twenty one percent of sellers indicated that having an agent with a strong web presence was an important criterion in helping to select an agent.

Sellers' Most Important Factors In Choosing Agents

1. Fees (29 percent)
2. Web presence (21 percent)
3. Use of virtual tours (13 percent)
4. Office location (11 percent)
5. Sales board visibility (9 percent)
6. Newspaper advertising (8 percent)
7. Community involvement (6 percent)
8. Use of floor plans (3 percent)

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