According to the California Association of Realtor’s 2014 Home Buyer Survey, 97% of homebuyers are utilizing the internet to search for properties. A staggering 91 percent of buyers are using their mobile devices.
34 percent of buyers stated that Zillow is the most useful site, followed by Realtor.com with 22%, and Trulia with15%.
The survey also indicated that the number of people who actually found their home online tripled from 14 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2014. This behavior shows a new trend developing where buyers are turning to the internet, especially in the early stages of their search, rather than reaching out to an agent or broker. With that said, 88 percent of those surveyed buyers reported that they are still using an agent, down slightly from 91 percent in 2013.
If you haven’t been keeping up on the power of social media, it will be interesting for you to note that the use of social media in the buying process is on the increase with more than 75% of buyers utilizing it which is up by about 52% from 2011.
Not surprisingly, the number one smart phone App – Facebook, also serves as the number one social media site for homebuyers. The survey revealed that more than 8 out of 10 buyers utilize Facebook in their home buying process. This indicates that a good majority of the online real estate research and discussion occurs on social media. Buyers are utilizing this medium for purchasing tips, suggestions from friends, neighborhood information, and for viewing agent Facebook pages.
These numbers are important for sellers too. The use of print media in today’s market is for the most part to placate sellers who still feel the need to have their properties published in magazines and for agents to promote themselves to other sellers and buyers.
The survey went on to reveal that 38% of agents communicate with their agent via telephone but only 11% prefer this method. However, 40% claimed that they preferred to communicate via text
The lesson in the numbers for agents is that we need to invest time in social media and be cognizant of how buyers and sellers like to communicate, not how we like to communicate.
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