Rapidly changing technology is impacting real estate, specifically, the search process for buyers and sellers. Gone are the days that consumers need to go to a real estate broker for market or listing information. There are many sites ranging from nationally “branded” sites, such as Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com to small, local blogs by agents with good, quality hyper local content.
The question of “how consumers search” has been tracked by online giants such as Google and the National Association Of Realtors. Most recently, they completed a joint study called: “The Digital House Hunt,” which outlines search behavior of a typical real estate consumer.
Here are some of their findings:
- House hunters are increasingly becoming digital.
- They are looking across multiple channels to secure information or to learn about a neighborhood, financing, or specific listings.
- The bounce back and forth at their own speed and switch devices to suit their needs including laptops, smartphones and tabliets.
- 90% of all home buyers searched online during their home process.
- Real estate related searches on Google.com have grown 253% over the past 4 years.
- 36% of new home shoppers utilize a mobile device while they are watching TV.
- 89% of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine at the onset and throughout their research.
No doubt that consumers have access to many valuable resources before, during and after the home search (or sale) process. With the increase in digital usage, the unintended consequence is that buyers and sellers may actually need more local counsel from Realtors. Sifting through the massive amounts of information (and misinformation) and helping them through a very complicated process becomes a large role of a Realtor. There are also nuances to every market that sites simply cannot capture. Digital information has optimal value when used with a competent, knowledgeable and effective local real estate agent.