More home buyers are increasingly utilizing the expertise and knowledge of Realtors® even though they often begin their home search online, according to the Real Estate in a Digital Age report by the National Association of Realtors®. While buyers and sellers have more technological tools available to them than ever before, most understand the great value that Realtors® provide at every step of the buying and selling process. “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,” said Chris Polychron, president, NAR.
According to the NAR report, finding the right property is the most difficult step as far as home buying process is concerned. Given that the Internet is where most consumers begin their property research, it is not surprising that four out of ten buyers search for properties online as a first step in the home buying process, a nearly 36 percent increase from 2010. In 2014, an over whelming majority, 88 percent of buyers, had assistance from real estate agents when buying their homes, an increase from 83 percent in 2010.
Not surprisingly, most baby boomers and millennials searched for homes online, 88 percent and 94 percent, respectively. And more than half of seniors, aged 69 to 89 years old also went online to find properties. However, online visits drop considerably when it comes to using a mobile device. Only thirty percent of seniors between 60 and 68 searched for properties using a mobile device, half the rate of millennials. But baby-boomers and seniors spend less time looking for properties. Millennials typically spend eleven weeks finding a home, while baby boomers and seniors typically spend eight weeks looking for a home.
Moreover, the report noticed a greater use of technology by real estate firms and Realtors®. “Realtors® constantly strive to find ways to make the home buying and selling process easier for and more accessible to their clients,” added Polychron. Email and text messaging are the technology of choice among most agents, with ninety-three percent preferring to use email and eighty-five percent using text messaging to communicate with clients. Also, most Realtors® have a social media presence and while seventy percent of female agents are active on social media, only fifty-eight percent of their male counterparts are active on this platform. Among social media use, Facebook and LinkedIn are the leading platforms of choice at eighty percent and seventy-one percent, respectively. Real estate firms and agents use social media for different reasons. While most are using social media for exposure and marketing, only fifty-one percent are using social media to promote listings.
With home buyers increasingly relying on Realtor® expertise and technology, an important part of a real estate agent’s job is adopting technology that will help them work more efficiently, increase their exposure and better serve the needs of their clients.