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Referrals from past and repeat customers still generated the greatest number of inquiries for real estate firms in 2020 with 30% of brokerage business coming from this source, the same amount as in 2018, when the survey was last completed.

On the flip side, interest generated from traditional open houses declined from 2018, according to the National Association of Realtors2021 Profile of Real Estate Firms. In 2018, 1% of surveyed brokerages said their business came from open houses. In 2020, less than 1% did, likely because the pandemic put a damper on in-person open houses. Interest generated from websites and social media, however, remained steady from 2018.

Brokerages are thriving

Where brokers are finding business has changed slightly; however, the volume of sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to the report, which is based on data from the 2020 calendar year and collected through a random sample of 6,253 Realtors who were executives and senior management at real estate firms, found that residential real estate firms had a median sales volume of $6.6 million in 2020 as compared to a median of $5.3 million in 2018. In contrast, brokerages in the RealTrends 500 had a median sales volume of $1.3 billion in 2020.