While buyers are turning to technology more and more, their internet searches are no match for their real estate agent.
According to NAR’s Real Estate in a Digital Age, 87% of buyers said they would turn to their Realtor® for home search information, compared to 76% who turn to the internet. Still, don’t underestimate the power of open houses or yard signs, 53% and 41% of buyers respectively said they relied on them as well. However, 97% of buyers do turn to the internet when looking for a home. In fact, 43% said their first step was to look online for homes for sale, while 18% contacted a Realtor® first.
What is most important to consumers looking for a home online? Both photos and detailed information about the property were of the utmost importance, not surprisingly, followed by floor plans and the real estate agent’s information. Still, 83% said they found virtual tours either very or somewhat useful. Fifty-one percent found the home they purchased online, while 28% found it via their real estate agent. On average, consumers are looking at nine homes, with five being virtual, for about eight weeks before buying.
For agents, the technology tools that pay off the most in leads were social media, customer relationship management and the MLS site. Over the next year, Realtors® said they think the technological tool they will use the most is their eSignature (73%), followed by social media (53%), local MLS apps (47%) and CRM (44%). Facebook is by far the most popular social media site, 90% of Realtors® use it, followed by Instagram at 52% and LinkedIn at 48%. Using social media for business is expected, said 54%. Still, 49% use social media to build or maintain relationships with clients and another 49% said they use it to promote listings. More than one-third of agents use social media to find new prospective clients.