Consumer Outreach Campaign Update: Survey Results

At the beginning of the summer, ACAR launched our 2016 consumer outreach campaign. We developed the consumer outreach campaign to move public perception about REALTORS® and homeownership in a positive direction.

Messaging was based on NAR campaigns, but incorporated localized messages based on the specific needs of our region. You can read all about the campaign’s development and launch, and view and listen to advertisement creative here.

In September, we completed a tracking survey in which households in Cuyahoga and Summit counties were randomly called and interviewed by Business Research Services, Inc. This same survey was completed in 2014, allowing us to compare the results over time to better measure the impact of our campaign on the public’s perception and attitudes about REALTORS®.

The survey found that home buyers and sellers may be more receptive to REALTOR® representation than they were two years ago, and their underlying priorities may be shifting.

The most important change noted was in respondents who plan to sell or purchase a home in the next 5 years. When asked if they intend to use the services of a licensed REALTOR® for their next real estate transaction, 9.7% of 2016 respondents said they did not plan to utilize the services of a licensed REALTOR, compared to 20% in 2014. This decrease of over 10% points to a positive evolution of the public’s perception of the value of REALTOR® representation.


In 2016, 74.8% of respondents said they did intend to use a REALTOR, compared to 73.3% in 2014. This is consistent with the idea that buyers and sellers remain interested in REALTOR® representation.

The shift among those who either did not plan to use a REALTOR or were unsure (15.5% in 2016 compared to 6.7% in 2014), also exposes the potential to capture business from potential buyers and sellers. Among those who are undecided about using the services of a licensed REALTOR®, the majority (31.3%) of respondents cited cost as the deciding factor. Furthermore, a majority of respondents in both 2014 (50%) and 2016 (42.9%) said they did not use a REALTOR® for their last real estate transaction because they believed it was less expensive to do it themselves.

These survey responses are likely due to the public’s misconception that they can save money or retain more profit from the sale of their home if they choose to forgo working with a licensed REALTOR®. According to NAR’s Field Guide to Quick Real Estate Statistics, the average FSBO home sells for $210,000 compared to $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales. The evidence is simply in favor of REALTORS® netting their clients more money. (Looking for related talking points to discuss with uncertain prospects? This post has you covered.)

While many survey responses remained consistent year-to-year, we did find that participants shared some different reasons unrelated to cost behind their decision to work with a REALTOR®. To explore these reasons, check out our infographics, below. Click on each one to view it in full.

infographic-4  infographic 2   infographic 3

Understanding these underlying priorities will allow us to shape targeted messaging for future consumer outreach programs, to continue promoting the value of REALTORS® and help ACAR members capture business across the region.

To access the full survey and its results, click here.


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