The Impact of Technology on Real Estate Sales

NAR logoNew research put out by the National Association of Realtors looks at the impact of technology on the real estate market. In particular, the study, called Real Estate in a Digital Age, contemplated how technology has impacted the buying process – and how different generations of buyers use technology when looking for a home.

See how technology has impacted home buyers and realtors…

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) set out to study how technology has impacted the home sales process, and most importantly to them, the role of the realtor in the sale of new or existing homes. What the study discovered was that technology has had a significant impact on the process that home buyers go through when searching for a home.

And technology has had a major influence in changing the way that realtors approach the sales process as well. For many decades both sides of the process, the buyer and the realtor, relied on mostly paper-driven resources. The buyer would pull out their local newspaper, searching for homes for sales advertised by local agencies.

Historically, A Paper-Based Process

Likewise, the realtor would place those ads in the local paper, announce open house showings of newly listed homes, and show prospective buyers the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) book, a book with pages and pages of detailed listings of homes available in the area in which the buyer was interested in living. The process could take weeks or even months, with the agent scanning all available resources to find homes matching the desires of the buyer, phoning the client to arrange a visit and a walk-thru.

Cover photo of technology study

The National Association of Realtor’s study on the impact of technology on the home buying process

Now…things have changed. House hunters turn to the internet to search a plethora of websites showing properties available for sale in a given area. They may seek out a particular realty company, visit their website, and send an email to set up an appointment to start the process.

“Consumers have the ability to do more home buying research online than ever before. Still realtors present tremendous value to buyers from every generation and every background. While consumers have more technological tools at their fingertips, realtors continue to be a large part of the home buying and selling equations,” said John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor from Edina, Minnesota nd broker at Edina Realty.

Finding the Right Home is Most Difficult Step

Finding the right property was ranked by respondents to the NAR survey as the most difficult step in the entire home buying process. As you might suspect, 44% of the respondents started their home buying project by looking online as the first step. Yet while the internet was a handy tool to start shopping, fully 87% of buyers in 2018 relied on a real estate agent to assist them in purchasing their home. Buying a home, it seems, is not quite like buying a book from Amazon. Interestingly, that number rises to 90% of millennials, who worked with a realtor to buy their home.

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are generational differences in the use of technology. For example, 99% of millennials and 90% of older baby boomers used online websites to search for potential homes to purchase. But only 70% of the silent generation (aged 69-89 years) took that approach. As well, older baby boomers utilized a mobile device at less than half the rate of millennials – 21% versus 58%.

Millennials Want Pictures & Data, Baby Boomers Want Virtual Tour

Web-based listing features were also valued differently by the generations. Millennials prefered lots of photos and detailed property information on homes being considered. On the other hand, baby boomers wanted virtual tours and direct contact with a real estate agent. The study notes that visual content is growing in popularity and importance, but somewhat counter-intuitively, the older generations wanted virtual tours more than the younger buyers.

The NAR study found that in 2018, the buy/sell process took an average of 10 weeks of looking overall – although generation X and the silent generation took less time with an 8-week search period on average. On average, home buyers looked at 10 homes before making their decision.

Chart of where home buyers get info

From the study: Where home buyers get their information. Yard signs are losing out, it seems

Realtors Use Technology to Show and Sell

The Real Estate in a Digital Age study also found that realtors had ramped up their use of technology for their side of the sales process as well. Agents prefer to communicate with clients via email 93% of the time, by text message 92% of the time, and even instant messaging 37% of the time. More than 90% of real estate agents are using email, laptops/desktop computers, and smartphones daily.

“Realtors continue to find ways to make home buying and selling more efficient and accessible for their clients. As technology use continues to transform and modernize the real estate industry, realtors are focused on adapting to and remaining at the forefront of this change,” said Smaby.

Realtors are also active in social media, with the study identifying Facebook and LinkedIn as the most utilized social media sites in their business (by 97% and 59% of respondents respectively). A smaller number (39%) reported using Instagram in their business. Realtors report that their top tools that provide quality leads are social media (47%), MLS suite (32%), a brokerage’s website (29%) and a listing aggregator site (29%).

Get More Details

You can see more details on this study by following this link…

Learn more about the National Association of Realtors by visiting:

About Ted

A sales and marketing specialist - primarily in the technology industry - I've experienced a sort of "circle of life" in business. I've been a mass merchant retailer, a specialty retailer, a specialty manufacturer, a large volume manufacturer, a distributor, and even represented sales representatives. Now the owner of a marketing company that works with a variety of businesses on improving their strategic marketing and business development - I analyze issues from all angles to develop holistic solutions.

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