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Realtor.com Chief Marketing Officer Mickey Neuberger
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Realtor.com backs buyer agency for underrepresented groups 

CMO Mickey Neuberger explains why buyer representation is so important, and how agents and industry partners can help.

July 2, 2024
5 minutes

Everyone deserves an equal shot at achieving homeownership, and buyer representation is a critical part of that equation. Without access to an experienced professional who can guide them through the home search and purchase process, many buyers will be at a disadvantage — especially those in underserved groups.

And that's why, says Realtor.com Chief Marketing Officer Mickey Neuberger, it's more important than ever for consumers to understand the value of buyer's agents. The company has launched a campaign to do just that, with a particular focus on underrepresented buyers.

Here's what Neuberger had to say about the motivation behind the campaign and other ways Realtor.com is working to help more buyers fulfill their dream of homeownership.

Why are you putting such a big focus on buyer's agents?

Post-commissions settlement, the value of buyers' agents is being questioned, even from within the industry by some of our competitors. Yet, 9 in 10 homebuyers say they'd use their buyer's agent again, and an overwhelming majority say buyer's agents are paid appropriately. Consumers want and need their own representation given the complexity and high stakes of buying a home. That's why Realtor.com feels a responsibility to educate would-be homebuyers and help agents demonstrate their value to potential clients.

Our initial campaign, launched on April 18, was a big success, racking up nearly 40 million impressions and 20,000 downloads of the agent toolkit. But our work didn't stop there. In this next phase, we're focusing on empowering historically underserved and underrepresented buyers, to make sure these buyers receive equitable opportunities in the housing market and aren't put at an even greater disadvantage. Let's not make it harder for the very homebuyers who need the most help.

Why did Realtor.com choose to highlight the issues that underrepresented groups face and how the commission settlement might impact them?

With all the industry changes happening, there's a real risk that vulnerable individuals, particularly those with limited experience or means, could struggle to access or pay buyer's agents during the homebuying process. That could close the door to generational wealth for BIPOC, AAPI, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, first-time, Veteran, and lower-income buyers.

We want to make sure these buyers aren't further disadvantaged. By focusing on these underrepresented groups, the campaign aims to make sure that all buyers, regardless of their background or financial status, have access to knowledgeable and dedicated buyer's agents who can expertly guide them through the complexities of purchasing a home. We don't feel like this is being talked about enough and it's getting lost in the conversation, so we wanted to shine a light on it.

What role do agent and industry partnerships play in the campaign, and how do these collaborations enhance Realtor.com's efforts to support underrepresented buyers?

We're excited and grateful to have these partnerships that helped us craft the campaign. They are critical in expanding our reach and support for underrepresented buyers. It's important for us to work together, given statistics such as one in four Hispanic individuals completes the homebuying process entirely in Spanish, and the gap between Black and White homeownership is widening — and worse today than in 1968 when the Fair Housing Act was passed. By collaborating, we can have a more meaningful impact in ensuring equal opportunity and closing these gaps.

As part of the campaign, several prominent real estate organizations signed on to a joint letter in support of buyer agency, including the Asian Real Estate Association of America, Homeownership Council of America, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, National Homeownership Conference and Veterans United Home Loans. The letter has been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Washington Post, and digital campaign ads are also appearing on the Wall Street Journal and New York Post websites and across social media.

Agents and industry partners can join in and support the campaign with ready-to-use assets available in Realtor.com's Buyer Agent Toolkit and help promote the value of buyer's agency within their own networks. The new campaign is already a fast success, with nearly 10,000 downloads in the first weeks since launch.

How does Realtor.com plan to sustain the momentum of this campaign and ensure support for underrepresented homebuyers?

Our commitment extends beyond the campaign. This is part of our company DNA! We will continue to innovate and expand our efforts, whether through more campaigns like this, promoting down payment assistance on all home listings, offering resources in Spanish, or providing guides and content tailored to different buyer segments. We want to help more buyers achieve homeownership so they can access generational wealth, and these initiatives are integral to our marketing and product strategies.

Additionally, we'll keep collaborating with professional organizations to develop campaigns and conduct research. This approach helps agents understand the needs of buyers from different communities and adapt their services accordingly. We'll also continue to offer webinars, articles, and success stories focused on diversity and inclusion, equipping agents with practical insights and examples of inclusive practices.

Our work here will continue — there's plenty more to accomplish.

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