How Do Consumers Really See REALTORS®?
REALTORS® in BC have been under intense scrutiny since 2016. They have been singled out as key contributors to big picture problems like skyrocketing housing prices and money laundering. But how do consumers really see REALTORS®? Do they consider REALTORS® responsible for BC's housing affordability challenges? And how much do they understand about the real estate profession and recent changes to real estate practices?
These are some of the questions the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) wanted to answer when we commissioned an online survey of more than 800 adults in August 2018. Here's what we found out.
Consumers are happy with their REALTORS®
Among survey participants who had bought or sold a home in the last five years, 88 per cent relied on the services of a REALTOR®. The majority reported that they were happy with the services they received:
- 88 per cent said they were "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their REALTOR®.
- 78 per cent added they would be likely to work with the same REALTOR® in the future.
Consumers don't hold REALTORS® accountable for affordability issues
Consumers are far more likely to blame current and past provincial governments for BC's housing affordability issues than REALTORS®:
- 18 per cent of those polled blame the previous government.
- 12 per cent blame the current government.
- 35 per cent blame foreign buyers.
Consumers don't agree with the ban on limited dual agency
The survey explained that the recent ban on limited dual agency means that some buyers and sellers are no longer able to work with the REALTOR® of their choice. When asked how important it was to them to be able to work with the REALTOR® of their choice, 73 per cent said it was "very important" or "somewhat important".
But there is support for regulation in specific areas
While 63 per cent of respondents answered they were "not too aware" or "not aware at all" of recent regulatory changes, 46 per cent of those polled answered that they were in favour of more regulation.
Survey respondents said their opinion of REALTORS® would improve if there were:
- higher education standards (39 per cent), and
- tougher penalties for REALTORS® who profit from misconduct (68 per cent).
However, it is worth noting that only 35 percent said they had a clear understanding of the education and licensing requirements for REALTORS®.
How will BCREA use this survey data?
Survey data like this helps us be more targeted in our advocacy work. It tells us where we need to do more to educate the public, media and politicians about REALTORS®, professional standards and issues related to real estate practice. Just as importantly, it tells us where there is already support for REALTORS® and issues facing the profession. This sort of information is particularly helpful as member boards gear up to meet with their local MLAs at the upcoming GL Days. It helps us dispel myths around consumer perceptions and highlight the shared interests of the profession and the market.
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