I am not sure where the term “a man who uses statistics is a liar” comes from, but I think if you read the following data compiled and presented by Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist and vice president of the California Association of Realtors® (CAR®) in her analysis of the real estate market in California for 2006 you will start to think maybe these statistics are trying to tell you something.
The Appleton-Young and CAR® (www.car.org) study compare some distinctions between Internet vs. Traditional buyers and the findings are powerful. The report shows undeniable trends and the preferences consumers have for the Internet approach to buying a home. So if you don’t have a web site and/or a blog and you can’t be found by people searching for homes on the Internet, you are completely “missing the boat” in the real estate business.
People Found Their Realtor on the Internet
- 92% of Internet buyers found their agent on a Web site; 63% found them through an Internet search engine; 0% of Internet buyers found their agent through brochures, flyers, yard signs or mailers to their home (does this tell you to spend more on Internet marketing and less on print?);
More People Are Using the Internet
- In 2000, 28% of people said that they used the Internet as an important part of their home-buying and selection process. In 2006, 70% said they did.
They Start With the Internet
- 86% of home buyers started using the Internet as part of their process before they started looking for a specific home; the other 14% did after they started looking, but before they contacted a real estate agent; that means that 100% of buyers surveyed started looking at homes first, agents second. When you combine that finding with the already existing one that fully 81% of Internet buyers stay with the first real estate agent they choose to contact, you can see a powerful case for being able to have consumers find you, first;
Internet Buyers Buy Homes Faster
- Internet buyers spent an average of 4.8 weeks doing research before contacting an agent; traditional buyers only 1.7 weeks. That means an Internet buyer is better prepared and twice+ as less likely to waste your time.
- Internet buyers bought a home on average after spending 2.2 weeks looking for a home with an agent; traditional buyers spent an average of 7.1 weeks.
- Internet buyers previewed an average of 6.7 homes with their agent (they had already eliminated ones they did not wish to see), traditional buyers previewed 15.4 homes; an average of just under nine fewer wasted showings per customer;
Internet Users Move From Farther Away
- The approximate distance between previous residence and new residence for traditional buyers was 25 miles; for Internet buyers, it was 242 miles (you can sell anywhere compared to traditional ways);
Internet Users Are More Satisfied With Their Realtor
- An incredible 97% of Internet buyers said they would use the same agent again. Traditional buyers? 50%. (Twice as likely to be satisfied and twice as likely to give a referral, wouldn’t you think?)
So what are the benefits of working with buyers who use the internet?
- Realtors drive with their buyers less.
- Agents who utilize online marketing and have Internet buyers are more likely to have a repeat sale with the client.
- Agents selling to Internet buyers are likely to work only 2.2 weeks with a buyer before selling a property ( vs. 7.1 weeks traditionally).
- Agents committed to online marketing may be able to expand their market area to an average 242 mile radius of their location and remain effective due to online communication.
Younger People Are Not Reading the Newspaper
Ms. Appleton-Young’s data also show that over 70% of people 65 and older read a daily newspaper, but only 35% of 24 year olds do.
There is far more to achieving success on the internet than simply having a web site, but without one you are going to be left behind. If you do have a static web site with dated information and little content now is the time to start spending time and money on internet marketing. I have worked with a number of Realtors and published sites using templates from Ubertor and highly recommend this as a starting point.