How Do Customers Find a Realtor in Hawaii?

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Two interesting surveys passed my inbox today: One from the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2014 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, and an online survey from

Both surveys showed that buyers and sellers who closed on a real estate transaction in the last year did so through a trusted referral — about 70 percent of respondents in the NAR research pointed to word-of-mouth as THE key referral source. That’s something that has been important in the industry since, well, forever.

Search engines, newspaper ads, Yellow Pages, home book ads, mobile apps, direct mail pieces and chotchkey logo items accounted for less than 1 percent of the closed seller or buyer leads in the NAR survey.

However, you should NOT discount your internet marketing. Among all generations of homebuyers, the first step in the buying process is looking online for properties for sale. You can see the rest of the survey, here.

What does this all mean? For one thing, real estate agents should forget about spending time and money on unnecessary marketing items, and focus on building their reputations (through good work, of course) and broadcasting online. We’re reaching a point where offline word-of-mouth and your online presence intersect, and you have to do both. Our own Jaymes Song — who is credible online in his own right — was recently contacted by a buyer in China, who found him on Twitter. Three weeks after FaceTiming the client through an open house, Song says he’s in escrow on a $1.3 million condo.

What do you think? Does the national research reflect trends here in Hawaii? How did you find your realtor?