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NAR: Realtors used more tech in 2019

​WASHINGTON – The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2020 Member Profile reveals Realtors had begun using more technology and online tools even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 90 percent of members use a smartphone and a computer on a daily basis, while just about all members regularly e-mail clients. Most members use social media apps (typically Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram) to communicate with clients. Seventy percent of members said they have a website for business use.

Text messaging is the preferred means of communication for Realtors (94 percent), closely followed by email (91 percent) and telephone calls (89 percent).

​In 2019, 37 percent of Realtors were paid under a fixed commission split. Median gross income was $49,700 in 2019, up from $41,800 in 2018. Total median business expenses was $6,290 in 2019, up from $4,600 in 2018.

Most members are sales agents, who for the most part specialize in residential brokerage. On average, members have nine years of experience in the real estate industry. 

Only 17​ percent of Realtors have less than one year of experience, continuing a downward trend and suggesting members are remaining with real estate as a career choice for a longer duration. Eighty percent said they were certain they will remain active in the industry for two more years.

Of those surveyed, 65 percent hold sales agent licenses, 22 percent have broker licenses, and 15 percent have brokerage associate license​s​​. 

Insufficient inventory has hindered the ​market, ​leading residential specialists to reference “difficulty in finding the right property” as the top reason why potential clients may not complete a given transaction. This is the seventh consecutive year where this reason exceeded housing affordability as the greatest factor limiting potential clients from buying. 

Still, the typical member recorded a higher sales volume in 2019, with a median of one additional transaction than in 2018.

​The typical member generated 15 percent of business from past clients and customers. ​Realtors earned 20 percent of their business from referrals.

The demographic profile of a Realtor hasn’t changed much from 2018. Here’s a run-down:

  • ​The typical member was a 55-year-old w​hite woman who attended college and owns her home.
  • 64 percent of Realtors were women, down from 67 percent in 2018.
  • 80 percent of Realtors were White, followed by Hispanics/Latinos (10 percent), Blacks (6 percent), and Asian/Pacific Islanders (5 percent).
  • 82 percent of members were fluent only in English. Agents under 50 years old were the most likely to be fluent in another language. Spanish was the most common second language.
  • 13 percent of members were born outside of the United States. 

Research gathered for this report was obtained prior to the coronavirus outbreak and before subsequent nationwide stay-at-home orders were instituted. A total of 12,464 responses were collected. Information about compensation, earnings, sales volume and number of transactions is characteristic of calendar year 2019, while all other data are representative of member characteristics in early 2020.

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