In 1964, 40 percent of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home and seven percent drove around looking for an open house. In 2014, 43 percent looked for properties online first.
The world we live in today is a digital one and searching for a home is no different. Buyers now have apps that let them search by location and neighborhoods. Online listings have virtual tours so viewers can look at a bunch of potential homes while narrowing down their search to a select few in the effort to save time. Online searching maximizes the ability to compare and contrast homes on the market by selected features. Most of this is done before a potential home buyer connects with a real estate agent.
Also in 1964, 61 percent of home buyers contacted agents they knew. In 2014, buyers worked with an agent 87 percent of the time to find their home, so trust in a REALTOR® is still king. While the initial process may start online, home buyers turn to the advice from a trusted real estate agent. The difference is that home buyers are entering the process more educated about the market before they speak to a home seller or an agent.
In addition to the home buying process, REALTORS® also utilize technology in their everyday business practices. Staying up to date with new technology is important, but also cited as one of the biggest challenges for firms in the next two years.
Over 90 percent of real estate firms have websites, and the most common feature on their websites were property listings. Along with web use, REALTORS® are also using their mobile devices for a multitude of different activities, with the primary being to communicate with their clients. In the Real Estate in a Digital Age report, we examine the process home buyers go through in the initial online search and how REALTORS® are connecting with customers in the digital space.
A Day in the Life of a Home Buyer
How Home Buyers find a home …
The typical buyer used a mobile device to search for properties online. S/he looked at websites with photos, home listings, and information about the home buying process. S/he then contacted an agent and visited a median of 10 homes over 10 weeks in 2014 before purchasing a home.
The typical home buyers is a Millennial 25-35 years old, married without children living at home, and has a median income of $84,500. They make up the largest group of homebuyers at 68% followed by GenX at 29%
First Step Taken During the Home buying Process;
43% Looked online for properties, 15% Contacted a REALTOR, 12% Looked online for information on the home buying process, 7% Talked with a friend, 6% Contacted a lender, 6% Drove by homes and neighborhoods.
It is an exciting time when you are looking to purchase your first home. It is fun, exhilarating, it can be stressful. As I have mentioned before, always have a TEAM in please to help you with your searches. And yes, your mobile device is part of that team. Your agent will have access to all of the same information as you are finding online. Often times our information is more updated. So keep your agent informed. Utilize all the websites and apps available to you. Your agents website is usually a good place to search. And your agent will also set you up on a client portal with criteria specific to your needs and wants.
Happy House Hunting.