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How Homebuyers Find their Homes – a Radical Change

by Peter Thomas Ricci

The manner in which prospective homebuyers locate their new residences has changed quite a bit in just 10 years time.

The year was 2004, and real estate agents and yard signs were the prevailing method for consumers to find their dream home; in fact, between those two options, 54 percent of prospective homebuyers located their new residence.

That was then, however – nine years later, the Internet is the dominant method for home searches, with 43 percent of homebuyers going to the Web to find their home (that’s up from just 15 percent in 2004, an increase of nearly 200 percent!).

And all the while, the more traditional forms of advertising in real estate, such as print ads and word of mouth, have fallen by the wayside. Take a look at our graph below, which uses fresh numbers from NAR to demonstrate just how dramatic the changes have been to the home search process – and stay tuned for our follow-up story, which will look at how search behaviors have changed at the state level.

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