WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – Consumers retain the internet as a critical tool during their home buying process, while buyers continue to utilize the knowledge and expertise of a real estate agent, according to the National Association of Realtors®‘ (NAR) Real Estate in a Digital Age report.
The report examines the process home buyers go through in the initial online search and the role Realtors play connecting with customers in the digital space.
“Consumers have the ability to do more home buying research online than ever before,” says John Smaby, NAR president. “Still, Realtors present tremendous value to buyers from every generation and every background. While consumers have more technological tools at their fingertips, Realtors continue to be a large part of the home buying and selling equation.”
The report found that “finding the right property” was the most difficult step in the home buying process, and 44 percent of buyers looked online as a first step in the home buying process (the same as 2017). However, 87 percent of buyers in 2018 purchased their home with assistance from a real estate agent, a share that grows higher for millennials at 90 percent.
While 99 percent of millennials and 90 percent of older boomers used online websites in their home search, only 70 percent of the silent generation – those ages 69 to 89 years – did so. Older boomers used a mobile device at over half the rate of millennials (21 percent compared to 58 percent).
When it comes to website listing features, photos and online property 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.
All buyers typically spent 10 weeks looking for a home, but millennials, members of generation X and the silent generations typically spent 8 weeks looking for a home. Younger and older boomers typically searched for 10 weeks.
Realtors and technology
The Real Estate in a Digital Age report also found greater technology use by Realtors and real estate firms. Realtors prefer to communicate with clients via email (93 percent), as well as text messages (92 percent) and instant messaging (37 percent).
Over 90 percent of Realtors use e-mail, laptops/desktop computers and smartphones daily.
“As technology use continues to transform and modernize the real estate industry, Realtors are focused on adapting to and remaining at the forefront of this change,” says Smaby.
Social media continues to be popular with Realtors, with 76 percent of females active on social media compared to 72 percent of males. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most utilized social media platforms among Realtors, at 97 percent and 59 percent respectively, compared to Instagram at 39 percent.
The top technology tools that provide the highest quality of leads are social media (47 percent), MLS suite (32 percent), a brokerage’s website (29 percent) and a listing aggregator site (29 percent).
Realtors found that the three most valuable technology tools used in their business, excluding email and cell phones, were local MLS websites/apps (64 percent), lockbox/smart key devices (39 percent) and social media platforms (28 percent).
Nearly 50 percent of all real estate firms cited “keeping up with technology” as one of the biggest challenges they face in the next two years. For commercial firms, 46 percent cite keeping up with technology as a challenge, while 51 percent of firms with three or more offices said the same.
The report alsolooked at the use of drones in real estate and found that 5 percent of Realtors personally use drones, 23 percent hire a professional and 17 percent said someone in their office uses drones.
© 2018 Florida Realtors®