Let’s be honest: Buying or selling a home yourself is not ideal. In a market that requires a wide range of factors, from tax rates to regulatory measures, every prospective homebuyer and seller requires the expertise and skills that real estate agents possess.

Indeed, the Canadian real estate market has evolved in many ways, from how to bid for a residential property to the digital exploration of homes.

At a time when households are on a stricter budget during their homebuying or selling endeavours, market participants are either acknowledging that they need a real estate agent on their team or they have learned just how crucial these industry professionals have been in this entire process.

But while plenty of anecdotal evidence supports the notion that there is a clear demand for real estate agents, there are also new quantifiable data.

Demand for Expertise from Real Estate Agents

A majority (69 percent) of Canadian homebuyers and sellers say they have felt stressed out by the real estate process, navigating a tumultuous housing marketplace, according to a new report commissioned by RE/MAX.

Because of this, more families are looking to real estate agents to mitigate some of these challenges.

Although there is a clear demand for realtors in today’s Canadian housing market, households maintain pre-defined standards and criteria for selecting a real estate agent.

For example, nearly half (49 percent) of Canadians report that a real estate agent’s ethical credentials are the most important factor in choosing a realtor. This is a heightened feeling for millennials 65 percent) and Generation Z (56 percent).

Indeed, many buyers and sellers want to connect with an agent on a personal level. But they also want someone with years of experience. Ultimately, there is a fine balance between a personal connection (empathy, care, and trust) and professionalism (experience and communication).

The best term for this might be authenticity. “Tell people when things are tough. Tell people the truth. Why is it good to sell my house now? Why is it good to sell in the springtime versus the fall? There’s none of that education process. People just put up a sign, and hopefully, it sells,” said Eddie, a repeat homebuyer in Ontario.

Alisha, a repeat homebuyer in Alberta, proffered experience with her real estate agent, who possessed great empathy.

“[Our real estate agent] was very honest with us when we were doing our inspection. She went through it. She’s a mother of older kids now and went through it as if she was our mom, and she was like, ‘Make sure you ask them about this and do this.’ I felt she really cared,” she stated in the report.

Meanwhile, over the years, you might have heard many stories of clients unable to reach their real estate agents. However, in a climate where active and new residential listings are in considerable demand, half of Canadians note that having a real estate agent who is easy to get hold of has risen in importance, driven by millennials (65 percent) and first-time homebuyers (61 percent).

Of course, there is a divergence between the various categories of homebuyers and sellers.

For instance, 69 percent of Canadians understand where they need a real estate agent’s help. This statistic was driven primarily by Baby Boomers (92 percent) and experienced homebuyers (76 percent).

To summarize, here are the top five factors for Canadians when selecting a real estate agent:

  • Trust and familiarity
  • Quick to respond and easy to get ahold of
  • Good reviews online
  • Ethical credentials
  • Personal connection

Honesty is the Best Policy

Ultimately, real estate agents that embrace the idea of “honesty is the best policy” will be appreciated by households looking to buy a home or sell their residential property.

Undoubtedly, the Canadian real estate market has become more difficult to navigate. Everything from interest rates to residential listings to the bidding process, it is challenging to go it alone in the housing sector.

But the clear demand for real estate agents should not be taken for granted. Industry professionals must understand their clients and balance professionalism and personal connections, whether selecting the right property tailored to families or being available when needed.

Consider this testimonial from Emily, a first-time homebuyer in Ontario:

“[Our real estate agent] was very helpful and blunt about prices, which is good. She was also very clear in terms of things I wouldn’t look for – for example, a well-built building versus a more cheaply built building – so she knew exactly what buildings were better from her experience.”