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92% of Buyers Use the Internet & Other Important Home-Search Facts

by Peter Thomas Ricci

News flash! The Internet is as important as ever when it comes to the home search process.

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Here’s an eye-popping stat for you: this year, 92 percent of homebuyers have used the Internet at some point in their home search process, up from 90 percent last year.

That’s an awfully big number, but how fully does the Internet define how homebuyers search for homes, nowadays? To find out, we took a look at the 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors, and found some very interesting trends:

1. Traditional Marketing is Not Dead – True, 92 percent of homebuyers used the Web, and 42 percent used mobile search engines, but 89 percent still used real estate agents. Furthermore, 51 percent still used yard signs, and 45 percent still attended open houses. So the future may be now with Web and mobile technologies, but homebuyers still love them some traditional marketing.

2. Print, though, IS Dead – One percent of homebuyers (yep, just 1 percent) learned about the home they ultimately bought via print or newspaper advertisements. Instead, the Internet (43 percent) and real estate agents (33 percent) are the most common sources, with yard signs/open houses (9 percent), friends/relatives/neighbors (6 percent) and homebuilders (5 percent) far behind.

3. Agents are Going Nowhere – This year is yet another sign that technology will not replace agents, at least in the immediate future. Ninety percent of homebuyers who used the Internet in their home search ultimately purchased through an agent, and 87 percent of all buyers found agents to be a useful source of information.

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