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Thursday, January 10, 2013

NAR/Google Study reinforces the importance of the Internet –

A recently released  survey and report by the National Association of Realtors®, in conjunction with Google, once again shows the importance of the Internet in the home-buying and selling process. It’s a must read for real estate agents and a good read for everyone else.

Some highlights of the information contained in this report  include:

·         90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process

·         Real estate related searches on have grown 253% over the past 4 years2

·         Buyers use specific online tools during different phases of the home search process

·         How important “local” search terms and websites are for buyers

·         How mobile technology connects online to offline home buying—including the reading of online reviews

·         How video and YouTube satisfy buyers’ research needs

·         The role of age and gender in driving real estate decisions both on and offline

·         Top states where online searches around first time home buyer tips, senior housing, and foreclosures are happening

·         36% of new home shoppers utilize a mobile device while they are watching TV

I guess it should have been obvious that people would use the Internet for this search; after all, they use the Internet for just about everything else. The more “traditional” means of seeking information about homes for sale have really fallen off as the population becomes more Internet savvy. Statistics from the study show the flowing levels of importance of sources for information about homes for sale:

1 - Internet

2 - Real Estate Agent

3 – Yard Sign

4 – Open House

5 – Newspaper print ads

6 – Home Book or slick magazine

The demographics that were uncovered about who (by age groups) uses the Internet for home searches are also interesting, if somewhat predictable. Surprisingly, seniors indicated a strong preference for using the Internet, with 75% reporting that they used on-line searches as part of their buying process. 52% of first-time buyers reported starting their search for a home on-line. Surprisingly (at least to me), women, more than men, were reported to be using the Internet for real estate decisions – 53% vs. 47%.

What was not surprising is that more and more people are using mobile devices (basically their phone or tablet) to do the searches while they are on the go. Also not surprising is that UTube videos are the most used source of video-based information (a category of research that led the report in terms of information sources).  The most viewed videos were about community information and home interiors, in that order.

What was also not a surprise that the study pointed out is the long lead-time that is normal these days. The majority of buyers reported starting their research at least 12 months in advance of actually buying, with first-time buyers being the most likely to start that far out.

To download and read the entire report, click here.

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