Thursday, March 5, 2015

The use of digital technology in the real estate industry has evolved considerably over the last few years, helping both buyers and realtors score what they want in a quicker, more streamlined sales process. Consumers regularly turn to online sources when buying or thinking of buying, well, anything, and also do research “on the go” through their mobile devices. According to the National Association of Realtors, 9 out of 10 of today’s home buyers use the Internet as their main research source, with 52 percent utilizing the web as a first step.

Real estate searches on Google alone have increased 253 percent over the last four years, and buyers tend to use specific online tools during each phase of the buying process. For example, buyers perform an average of 11 searches before selecting a real estate site to utilize, with 52 percent of the “action” on real estate brand sites coming directly from a local search on Bing, Google, or another search engine. Additionally, 89 percent of new home buyers use a mobile search engine at the beginning and throughout the duration of their research. And these are just some of the statistics regarding the digital real estate eruption.

The role of digital in real estate will only get stronger. Both new and existing real estate shoppers rely on digital options while performing research, with new home buyers using virtual tours and videos to help them make decisions. Existing home buyers, in comparison, are more likely to take the research they found on the Internet and use it for offline research, such as walking through or driving by a home that piqued their interest online. Even senior home buyers are looking to the Internet, as 75 percent of older shoppers now go online to search for property.

The future of digital in the real estate industry also extends to vacation homes, as 93 percent of vacation home shoppers use the Internet when researching options. Out of those, 56 percent of vacation home buyers began their search online.

With more and more people from nearly every demographic “going digital” when shopping for real estate, it’s up to agents to make sure that information about their properties are available online, which includes web sites and mobile versions. The ability to scan a QR code on a ‘For Sale’ sign, for example, is a fantastic way of ensuring more leads and buyers read about the property. And providing text message short codes for real estate signs increases mobile engagement.

Consumers shop anytime, anywhere, and the real estate industry is one leading the digital parade to make information available everywhere.