Rentals Sales Blog

NYC Broker Response Time Leaderboard (2016)

Originally posted on July 11, 2016 10:04 pm
Updated on August 20, 2016 3:23 am
The Early Bird Gets the Worm

A minute difference in an agent’s response time can decide who gets and closes a rental deal in New York’s fast paced real estate market. Using inquiry response rate data collected from the site, RentHop has discovered the fastest responding brokerage firms and what type of firms have historical success when it comes to keeping a high response rate.

How Response Rates are Measured

When a listing inquiry is submitted by a renter, RentHop sends a real-time email and text with the renter’s contact information directly to the listing agent who posted the apartment. While¬†RentHop highly encourages agents to respond as soon as possible to leads, agents are allowed up to 9 business hours, during the period from 8am to 11pm EST to respond to a renter inquiry.

RentHop tracks agent response rates through the following three ways:

  • Through the RentHop account messaging portal (desktop & mobile app)
  • Through the emails RentHop sends to an agent’s personal email account *
  • Through the texts RentHop sends to an agent’s cell phone *
* Emails and text messages are embedded with tracking codes. Agents must respond directly to the email/text without copying and pasting a renter’s contact information to start a new conversation thread. Agents who have a lower response rate will have lower¬†HopScores for their listings which lead to less listing exposure on RentHop’s site and therefore less leads overall for the individual agent.

The RentHop Response Time Leaderboard shows real-time average response rates for firms that have received a minimum of 30 leads within the past 96 hours. Average firm-wide reply rate on the leaderboard is measured using response rate data from the past 96 hours. Managers at each firm receive a daily leads report that allow them to manage and track agent’s response rates allowing them to quickly determine which agents are best/worst at responding promptly to renter inquiries.

Best Firms at Responding

response-time-leaderboard

Using response rate data collected from May 2015 to June 2016, we determined that the average response rate for firms advertising on RentHop in the past year to be around 70.54%. Around 52% of firms had a response rate above this average.

Seasonality

average-response-rates

Firm response rates were highest at 75.37% during April and lowest at 64.82% in September with a small dip in response rates in December at 70.73%. Contrary to popular belief, firms did not have higher response rates during the summer or fall season, most likely due to the saturation of inquiry requests from college students, interns, and renters looking to find apartments during the summer. Firms however, performed relatively well throughout winter and spring, perhaps due to their inability to pick and choose clientele due to the dry rental season.

100% Commission vs Traditional Firms
traditional-firms

commission-firms

Generally speaking, traditional firms operate with far more management in comparison to 100% commission firms. Mosttraditional firms operate with full-time, dedicated agents whom work in small teams that are overseen by multiple managers. 100% commission firms are saturated with a high percent of part-time agents who mainly operate individually. Although agents working in a 100% firm have equal incentives as those working in traditional firms to respond quickly to an inquiry, there are far more sanctions put in place by managers in traditional firms, especially for agents who lack quick inquiry response rates.

As evidenced by our data, traditional firms are shown to have higher response rates than 100% commission firms. In general,traditional firms had an average of 71.07% while 100% firms had a response rate of 68.16%.

Larger vs Smaller Sized Firms

There’s a clear correlation between response rates and firm size as well. Currently the top performing largest and smallest firms are as follows:

larger-firms

smaller-firms

A quick glance at the leaderboard confirms that smaller firms have an advantage when it comes to maintaining faster response rates. On average, smaller firm response rates outperformed larger firms by around 17%. This correlation could be attributed to the fact that managers at smaller firms have more control and easier access to individual agents. Managers at a larger firm may have less time to communicate/educate its agents on behaviors that work to bring in leads.
In Conclusion…

While it isn’t easy to maintain an 100% firm-wide response rate to renter inquries, RentHop has discovered that smaller-sized and/or firms based off of the traditional commission split model are more likely to achieve this goal compared to firms that are larger-sized and/or offer 100% commission to its agents. Renters looking during off-peak season in winter and spring were also more likely to receive a response compared to renters looking for an apartment during summer.

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