Consumers are increasingly turning to estate agents to help them purchase their homes.
The number of people in the U.S. who said they used an estate agency jumped from 24% to 40% last year, according to the Association of Realtors.
That’s the most rapid increase in nearly two decades, according the association.
That could be a reflection of the surge in buyers.
An analysis of estate agents by The Wall Street Journal showed that the number of agents in 2017 rose 4% from 2016, according a report released by the association on Monday.
There were 1,829 agents in the country last year.
“The trend of buying directly through an agent is also showing signs of slowing down,” said the report by RealtyTrac, a real estate research firm.
Consumers increasingly want to avoid buying through the financial aid department of a big-name real estate agent.
But estate agents say they don’t necessarily have the expertise to do a good job of helping buyers navigate the financial assistance process.
In the past, buyers were able to bypass a financial aid agent with their own money, said Andrew Lott, president of the Association for Realtor Certification and Education.
“We still have some work to do to make the agent experience as accessible as possible to all people who are in this market,” Lott said.
The number of Americans who use an estate planning company for home buying went up from 3.4% in 2015 to 3.6% in 2017, according TOI data.
Some states have enacted laws to require estate agents, like Realty Trac, to use technology and data analytics.
In Illinois, lawmakers in June proposed requiring the state’s financial aid agency to provide financial aid advice, and in Florida in September, lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the state to require the agency to use data analytics, such as real estate analytics and geographic data to help clients determine where to buy homes.
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