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Internet, Social Media and Smartphones Top Home Buying Tools

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Homebuyers turn to the Internet and Social Media in the Home Shopping Process

A recent survey shows that the Internet and Social Media are increasingly becoming more important tools for prospective homebuyers. This news should light a fire under real estate agents and brokerages who have not yet set up a social media and content publishing strategy.

The 2012 survey by the California Realtors Association Office of Research & Economics shows that 96 percent of buyers used the Internet during the home buying process. This a huge increase since 2000, when 28 percent used the Internet, and 62 percent in 2005 logged onto the Web during the home buying process.

The survey shows the most important information that potential home buyers used the Internet for is to preview homes–on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important, Internet users rated the ability to preview homes on the Web at 8.9. The next two important activities that buyers used the Internet for is to pick out specific homes they wanted their agent to show them (7.5 percent), and to find an agent (7.2 percent).

Social Media Grows in Consumer Usage

social media marketing chart

Social Media as an avenue to reach online consumers is a must for real estate agents and brokerages, as well as any business. The C.A.R. survey shows that 3 out of 4 buyers used social media throughout the home buying process.

Nearly 68 percent of potential homebuyers used social media during the process compared to 52 percent in 2011, C.A.R. says. The type of activity by real estate consumers on social media outlets range from home buying tips and agent referrals from friends, to checking out their real estate agents’ Facebook pages.

The use of social media by homebuyers is expected to grow, C.A.R. says–90 percent of buyers said they would be open to getting information from their agents via Social Media.

Smartphones Top List of Internet Tools

C.A.R.’s survey shows that 70 percent used the Internet on their Smartphones during the home buying process. The next highly used Internet tool was tablets (15 percent), while 8 percent used their laptops, and 7 percent used their desktops.

Regarding Smartphone usage, 78 percent of homebuyers used their mobile phones to compare homes prices, and 47 percent used their devices to search for homes, 45 percent to communicate about the process, and 44 percent used their phones to research neighborhoods and amenities.

The C.A.R. survey also listed Realtor.com, Zillow and brokerage Web sites as the top three most useful online portals among homebuyers.

In a nutshell, to get a leg up on the competition, real estate agents and brokerages should take steps now to increase their presence on the Internet with a effective social media network and blog. Read our posts on ways you can get your business connected to customers on the Web, or sign up now for a free consultation.

Read the original report here via How Buyers Use Technology in the Home Buying Process.

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