In 1981, 22% of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home and 8% use their friends, family, and neighbors as an information source. In 2016, 44% of home buyers searched for properties online first. Home buyers now have the ability to use apps to search for homes based on location, criteria, and neighborhoods. Online searches help maximize the ability to compare and contrast home on the market by specific features important to each home buyer. Most of the research is done before a potential home buyer ever connects with an agent.
In 1981, most home buyers found agents through friends, family, and neighbors. In 2016, 88% of home buyers worked with an agent, meaning the need for an agent is still very strong. Most of the buyers start online, however end up turning to advice from agents and 89% of them end up working with the first agent that they have a conversation with.
A Day in the Life of A Home Buyer:
In 2016, the average home buyer used a mobile device, either their cell phone or a tablet to search for properties online. The home buyer looked at websites that had professional photos, featured home listings, and information about today’s home buying process. The average home buyer would then contact an agent and visit an average of 10 homes over 10 weeks before purchasing a home. According the NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report 2017 & 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers the average home buyer is 44 years old, married without children living at home and has a median income of $88,500.
Information Sources Home Buyers Used in Home Search:
99% of Millennials (1980 — 1998) search online websites compared to 89% of Baby Boomers (1946 — 1964) and 77% of the Silent Generation (1925 — 1945). Only 63% of Generation X (1965 — 1979) visited an open house in 2016. The most surprising statistic that I noticed was that Baby Boomers used online video sites more frequently when searching for a home than any other generation! 58% of all buyers found their home on a mobile device, such as cell phone or tablets while only 14% of all buyers found agents with their mobile device!
Value of Online Website Features:
89% of home buyers found photos the most useful feature when searching for a home. 85% of home buyers found that the detailed information about properties was very useful. 50% of home buyers found virtual online tours useful, but said they weren’t 100% sold on the home until actually seeing it in person.
From 2001 to 2016 the number of weeks the average home buyer is actively looking for a home went from 7 weeks to 12 weeks in 2009 and now at 10 weeks in 2016.
Most Difficult Steps of the Home Buying Process:
52% of home buyers across all generations found that finding the right property was the most difficult step in the home buying process. 24% of home buyers said that the paperwork was the most difficult part of the process and Millennials said that the paperwork and understanding the process was more difficult than any other generation. 27% of Baby Boomers noted that there were no difficult steps in the process compared to 9% of Millennials.
We are in the one of the greatest technology shifts in our generation. The mobile phone is becoming more and more important the ‘end consumer’. Searching for homes is something that almost every buyer does on their mobile device. As an agent, it’s important to be able to market yourself to home buyers on a mobile device.
This information was gathered from NAR Research.