I was reading through the National Association of Realtors Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report for 2015 and 2015, which profiles home buyers and sellers. The research pretty much confirmed what I already knew about home buyers in this digital age.
The report indicates that 43% of all home buyers did an online search for properties for sale before contacting a REALTOR@ or anyone else. Additionally, 15% did some online research regarding the actual home buying process prior to contacting a REALTOR@ or anyone else. So, 55% of all home buyers started the home buying process by themselves, with their own smart phone, tablet, or computer. Again, this is not at all surprising to me.
Only 15% contacted a real estate agent, and only 7% reached out to a friend or relative for help right out of the gate. A whopping 6% aimlessly drove through neighborhoods, while another 6% contacted a bank or mortgage broker. Print advertisements are not even listed in this part of the study, which indicates that the number of home buyers searching for new homes in newspapers, magazines, or other types of print media is statistically insignificant.
I am a REALTOR@, so why am I not alarmed by this?
First, the study also indicates that 87% of all home buyers still ultimately used a realtor to either find their home or help close the transaction. Therefore, the services provided by real estate agents are still in demand.
Second, digital marketing is something I am extremely familiar with. I can use my skills in that arena to the benefit of my clients. Therefore, I welcome technology and the advancement of the internet shopping.
Let’s go back to the second paragraph and the 55% internet home shoppers for a second. During their research, home buyers might end up on websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and real estate broker sites. However, they will invariably begin their search with Google like everyone else. This, along with the data from the aforementioned NAR report, is why I always emphasize the importance in making sure a seller client’s home is listed on the very first page of Google for search terms that are relevant to his or her home. Having said that, it’s also imperative that the seller’s home is listed on all of those other real estate websites as well. I believe in putting the seller’s home anywhere and everywhere a home buyer may roam on the internet.
In conclusion, this research proves that REALTORS@ must be versatile with their service offerings. It’s not enough for an agent to just knock on doors and post yard signs. It’s insufficient for a realtor to rely solely on their local sphere of influence, or digital marketing for that matter. Buyers and sellers need and deserve REALTORS@ with full arsenals at their disposal to make the buying and/or selling experience as lucrative and enjoyable as possible for the client.