Even though more consumers in the United States are using the internet as a tool during their home search and are therefore more connected than ever before, says new research.
It means that home buyers are increasingly utilising the knowledge and expertise of a real estate agent, according to the study published by the National Association of Realtors.
‘Consumers have the ability to do more home buying research online and be more connected during the home search process than ever before, but research proves they are still seeing the value a Realtor® brings to the transaction, from the initial search to well after the closing,’ said NAR president Chris Polychron.
‘Agents bring great value to buyers from every generation, demographic and location as well as in every financial and familial situation. So while consumers have more technological tools available at their fingertips, realtors are now more than ever a part of the home buying and selling equation,’ he added.
The study found that finding the right listing was ranked as the most difficult step in the home buying process. Since the internet is now the first place many people go for information, it’s not surprising that four in 10 buyers looked for listings online as a first step in the home buying process, up from 36% in 2010.
However, the data also shows that 88% of buyers in 2014 purchased their home with assistance from a real estate agent, up from 83% in 2010.
While 94% of millennials and 84% of baby boomers used online websites in their home search, only 65% of those aged 69 to 89 years did the same. Older boomers, those aged 60 to 68 years, used a mobile device to search for listings at less than half the rate of millennials at 30% versus 66%.
When it comes to website listing features, photos and online listing information were more important to millennials, while virtual tours and direct contact with a real estate agent were more important to baby boomers.
Despite visual content growing in popularity and importance, older homebuyers found virtual tours more useful than younger buyers at 45% compared to 36% among millennials.
As for the length of time it takes for consumers to find a home, millennials typically looked for about 11 weeks, while baby boomers and members of the older generation searched for eight weeks.
Internet use also impacted the length of a home search. Those who used the internet to search homes visited more homes and searched for longer, looking at 10 homes over a 10 week period versus four homes in four weeks for those not looking on the web.
While not all consumers use the internet in their home search, a growing number are first finding their future home online. Some 43% buyers first found the home they ended up purchasing on the web compared to just 8% in 2001. In 2001 some 48% of buyers found the home they purchased from a real estate agent compared to 33% today.
The report also found greater technology use by real estate firms to better meet the needs of clients. Some 93% of realtors prefer to communicate with their clients via email while 85% also use text messages and 31% instant messaging.
Social media is also popular with agents with 70% of female realtors being active on social media compared to only 58% of men. Some social media platforms are more popular than others with Facebook and LinkedIn most used at 80% and 71% respectively.
Realtors and firms know that they must adapt to technology to better work with and understand their clients; however, it is not always an easy feat. In fact, 46% of all real estate firms cite keeping up with technology as one of the biggest challenges they face over the next two years. That number is even higher for commercial real estate firms at 53%.
‘Realtors constantly strive to find ways to make the home buying and selling process easier for and more accessible to their clients,’ Polychron said.
‘There is nothing more important than helping people find and land their dream home, and since technology helps realtors do that, it will continue to be a priority,’ he added.
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Source: Property News Spain