The 2007 Home Buyer survey was just released by the California Association of Realtors (CAR). This survey includes Buyers that purchased a home in the second half of 2006. This annual survey helps Realtors to adapt their services to how Buyers search for homes these days. Here are some of the results…
72 % of Buyers used the Internet as an important part of their home buying and selection process.
It looks like Real Estate Magazines are now almost completely worthless. Only 2.5% of Buyers even looked at a real estate magazine during their search (this includes the Buyers that didn’t use the Internet!). The problem is that some Realtors are still putting the majority of their advertising budget into expensive print ads (it now costs almost $800 for a full page ad for one issue). The question Home Sellers need to ask is why would you want an agent that wastes advertising dollars on something that is no longer useful. That money should instead be used in ways to help the sale of a home (Internet exposure, brochures, professional photography, presentation, home staging, etc.).
Newspapers ads aren’t much better. Only 4% of Buyers said they looked at newspaper ads for homes.
Open House ads in newspapers did better with 7.6% saying they looked for Open Houses in the newspaper. This makes sense since there is no place online that lists all Open Houses. There are a couple Open House sites that have recently popped up and are advertising on TV, but Realtors can add their Open Houses for FREE to the MLS System and be seen on http://www.centralcoastopenhouses.com/. But even with it being free, many Listing Agents don’t post their open houses to the MLS system. If Realtors posted their Open Houses to the MLS, it would pretty much eliminate the need for a local paper to find them (and save Realtors thousands of dollars in unnecessary advertising).
The importance of Virtual Tours really dropped in this years survey. Multiple photos/slide show was the item most Home Buyers rated was most important.
35% of Buyers visited Google first when starting their search for a home. This means Realtors that show up in Google search results have a big advantage.
When asked “what was the most useful website visited during the home buying process?” Buyers said:
– Individual Realtor web site (31%)
– Realtor.com (20%)
– Real Estate Brokerage/Company site (12%)
– Zillow.com (12%)
– Yahoo Real Estate (5%)
Some other results:
26% of Buyers used a computer at work as their primary place where they searched for homes. This is an important statistic since you don’t want music to play when a web page loads. This is a way to have a potential Buyer NEVER come back to a site since they don’t want music to start playing at the office! Music should always be an option that a visitor can turn on and only if they want it.
90% of the Buyers surveyed used an agent to represent them.
50% of escrows didn’t close on time.
The Intenet continues to be the most important way to market homes to Home Buyers. But, it’s real estate agents that are the ones that Buyers, that don’t use the Internet, find their homes through. Listing Agents need a GREAT Internet Marketing service and a program that spefically targets other agents to really have a good Home Selling Service.