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Expertise Beats Referral When Finding a New Agent: Survey

By Mar 27, 2017

We’re always told that when you choose a real estate agent to work with, you should get word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends who have worked with those agents before. But, as more data becomes readily available, is the way we choose our REALTORS® changing?

In an poll of 2,244 people in BC conducted February 2017, respondents who had purchased a home in the past seven years said that a high level of neighbourhood or building expertise was the number-one reason for choosing one agent over another – beating out personal recommendations.

This was despite more than half (53 per cent) of all buyers (first-time and repeat buyers) saying they found their most recent agent through a recommendation from family or friends.

Local expertise was cited by 39 per cent of first-time home owners as the top selection factor when finding a new real estate agent – notably higher than a referral from family or friends, at 27.5 per cent, and an agent’s reputation for getting the best deal, also 27.5 per cent.

The local expertise factor jumped even higher, to 51 per cent, among multiple-property buyers who said they would consider looking for a new agent the next time they purchase a home – followed by recommendations (38.6 per cent) and reputation (22.8 per cent).

What’s more, nearly half (48.1 per cent) of first-time home owners said that they would either consider using a different real estate agent or would definitely switch the next time they buy a home.

And among respondents who have purchased more than one property, an eyebrow-raising 71.5 per cent have worked with two or more real estate agents, and 19.1 per cent have worked with four or more.

Joannah Connolly, editor of, commented, “It certainly seems that a referral from friends or family does not carry the weight that it once did – leaving the door wide open for agents with local expertise to pick up new clients.”

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