Aug 17 2012
Consumer Online Search Inspiring Growth in Real Estate Industry

Consumer Online Search Inspiring Growth in Real Estate Industry

Internet search has grown to become an integral part of the lives of savvy retail consumers. Many consumers now find it convenient to shop and buy commodities online. While the retail industry still leads the pack in e-commerce, the real estate industry is quickly catching up.

Just a few years ago, it was hard to believe that some of the best leads in real estate would come from consumer online search. Consumers appreciate the simplicity of online resources, making an online search a main means of researching their future home.

Prospective Homebuyers Are Online

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates that 74% of homebuyers are astute in using the Internet to jumpstart their home search. This shift does not mean that offline marketing is dead; it only indicates the growing desire that consumers have for valuable information via the web. Even with the increased prospects of homebuying online, consumers will consult real estate agents to supplement their search for homes. This means buyers still look forward to agents assisting them. The challenge is connecting with them while they are online by making their search as convenient and efficient as possible.

While online real estate search tools have not reduced the business prospects for real estate agents, they have driven consumers away from the conventional sources of real estate information. Some time ago, homebuyers would peruse newspapers and real estate property magazines to get leads to property. The case is now different as the number of prospective homebuyers who still consult newspaper ads and magazines has fallen to about 9% and 6% respectively.

What Homebuyers Do After Conducting Online Property Search

NAR also looked at the course of action of prospective buyers once they conduct their online search. According to the poll, nearly half of prospective homebuyers said that they would conduct a walkthrough of the homes they saw online, while 21% of them admitted to having done so. Another 29% also stated that they found their real estate agent from their online home search.

These figures show that buyers have confidence in the Internet and the information found at their fingertips. Indeed, consumer online search has boosted the options for prospective buyers and eliminated the sole dependence on older methods of research.

Your Competition is Moving Online, Are You?

The tremendous growth and prospective opportunities in online real estate has not escaped the attention of real estate agents. A good number of agents have responded well to consumer online searches by getting involved in web technologies that meet the changing habits of consumers. A separate poll that was conducted about real estate agents by the National Association of Realtors showed that nearly half of them would buy Smartphone’s to stay in touch with customers.

The majority of those polled also said that they would list homes in property search sites like Realtor.com, Redfin, and Zillow or on their personal websites for added exposure. How are you positioning both you and your business online? As the saying goes, “come on in, the water’s fine!”

Amy is the Vice President of Platform Development at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.

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