The National Association of Realtors®, America’s largest trade association, is giving us insight into exactly how things are changing. Its 1 million members are acquainted with the residential and commercial markets all over the country. So when these members speak up about what’s going on where they live and work, take heed.
The 2012 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile and the 2013 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends are two polls giving us insight into the buying and selling process around the country.
How are buyers searching for their dream homes? Their two biggest avenues, by far, are the Internet (88 percent) and their agent (87 percent). Yard signs (55 percent) and open houses (45 percent) were popular, as well. Newspapers (30 percent) and magazines (19 percent) trailed in the poll; indeed, a paltry 2 percent of buyers said they found the home they ended up purchasing in the newspaper. By contrast, 40 percent of buyers found the home they purchased online.
You can translate these numbers this way: Advertising a property online is about 20 times more effective than advertising it in the newspaper. Talking to agents is still important, especially in the over-30 crowd. The first step for many home buyers, regardless of age, seems to be conducting online research. When it comes to actually finding the home they’ll eventually purchase, young people are finding their dream home online. Older folks are finding their homes through their real estate agent (though they’re doing a lot of their preliminary homework on the Internet).
The polls show sellers like to make up their minds quickly when it comes to finding an agent. By and large, sellers end up working with the first agent they contact. 66 percent of those polled spoke with a single agent before deciding to list with them. 16 percent contacted two, 13 percent contacted three and 2 percent shopped around by contacting four or more.
The lesson for agents to take from this statistic? Be responsive. The first agent to respond to that email or that voicemail will probably be the one who gets the listing.
Real estate agents are marketing homes online (92 percent), with yard signs (77 percent) and with open houses (58 percent). Interestingly, they aren’t depending on their own, personal website to do this marketing. 32 percent say they don’t use a personal website or that “zero” business was generated from their personal website. 26 percent of them say 1-5 percent of their business comes from their personal website.
So how are they marketing online if they don’t depend on their own website? Considering how much you probably use social media and video home tours, you probably already know the answer: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You can’t argue that technology gives you an edge.
Only 14 percent of agents create listing videos (for YouTube or for their own websites). But videos are an option you, as an agent, should consider offering if you don’t already. 73 percent of home sellers report they’re more likely to list with you if you offer to create a video showing off their home.
In addition to multimedia sales tools, sellers and buyers say technology helps their agents stay competitive and stay in touch with their clients. So even if you don’t think technology trumps personal interaction (and of course, it doesn’t), there’s no denying that it generates leads and makes it easier to stay in touch.
Technology is also a way to get your real estate continuing education. Why? Online courses are easy and convenient. No matter where you are and no matter when you set aside time for the coursework, 360training.com delivers CE credit to your computer. These accredited classes meet all the requirements for state-specific real estate training.