In our last post, we dissected the National Association of Realtors® Real Estate Digital Report. Specifically, we covered the general gist of technology when it specifically comes to home buyers and how it affects real estate professionals.
The verdict? The digital world is not replacing agents, they just have to live in it. And that means making sure you understand how much home buyers are using technology in their home search, what they are using and why.
In this post, we’ll talk more in depth about the process for home buyers take from a digital perspective and how it impacts the way real estate agents work.
The First Step
The Digital Report provides some interesting data when it comes to the first thing home buyers do.
- 44% – Looked online for listings
- 17% – Contacted a real estate agent
- 13% – Looked online for information on home buying process
- 7% – Contacted bank or mortgage lender
- 6% – Talked with a friend / relative about home buying process
- 6% – Drove by homes and neighborhoods
This information tells a LOT about home buyers these days and gives some useful insight for real estate agents!
First, it shows that home buyers are definitely use the Internet as a primary resource to kick start their searches. Whether they start the process by looking online for listings first or just trying to get their bearings to understand or get some help, they look online.
Second, it shows that agents are still a helpful and integral part of the process for buyers (and even sellers). Nothing beats the personal perspective, expertise and service that an agent can provide to their clients. And people still know and need that!
Sources of Information Used in Home Search
What were home buyers’ go-to resources for their home searches?
- 95% – Online website
- 92% – Real estate agent
- 72% – Mobile or tablet website or app
- 50% – Open house
- 49% – Yard sign
- 36% – Online video site
Notice a pattern? While looking online was certainly a major source of information for home buyers, they still looked to real estate agents to find properties.
Relying on an agent for most of the home search after searching on an online website provides many benefits to home buyers. For one, they can actually see the homes they find online in person and as many as they can in one day. They can also have their questions answered by a pro on the spot. What an agent can provide, too, that an online website just cannot is perspective and advice. All of this builds a level of trust between the buyer and agent, which is important for such a personal and life-changing process.
Mobile Search by Generation
The data on mobile searches by generation was also very compelling. The NAR report broke this down into two areas: mobile usage to find a home online and mobile usage to find an agent online. The findings:
Mobile Usage to Find a Home Online
- 58% of all Buyers
- 58% of Millennials
- 46% of Generation X
- 33% of Younger Boomers
No surprise in terms of usage by generation. We would expect that millennials, having lived most of their lives in the digital age, would use their phones in their home search. What we were surprised by is the actual numbers! It just goes to show that buyers still rely on other sources to find their homes online – including working with an agent.
Mobile Usage to Find an Agent
- 14% of all Buyers
- 13% of Millennials
- 10% of Older Boomers
- 7% of Silent Generation
What we can conjecture from these super low numbers is that referrals probably lead the way when it comes to finding an agent for most home buyers. Purchasing (or even selling) a home is a very personal process, so it’s only natural that home buyers should look to their personal networks for recommended agents instead of leaving it to chance by picking someone they don’t know online.
In this post, we covered the ways that home buyers use technology to supplement their property searches and what they use. While going the digital route is the way to go for many home buyers, agents are still an important part of the process. This means that agents still need to stay on their “A” game online and in person to make sure they are serving their clients well and appealing to leads from the start.