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Buyers that search for a home online are more likely to use an agent

Many people think web shoppers are less likely to hire a Realtor, but it turns out that the opposite is true.

Buyers using the web have higher incomes

The 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers surveyed 5,708 home buyers and sellers and found that home buyers that use the web in their home search differ in other behaviors and demographics than buyers who do not use the web and the findings may surprise you.

It is no surprise that the typical buyer who used the internet is younger, averaging at 42 years old with non-web searchers averaging 60 years of age. What is surprising however, is that buyers that used the web are actually more affluent, despite the assumption that an older buyer is more affluent – the typical buyer who used the Internet in their home search has a median household income of $83,700 compared to those who did not use the web whose median household income is $60,300.

Buyers who used the web to search for a home searched double the length of time than those who did not incorporate the web in their search. Buyers who did not use the web used fewer sources in their search, as buyers who did use the web to search for a home used various sources with higher frequency with 56 percent also using yard signs (compared to 46 percent of buyers who didn’t use the web), while 46 percent of web searchers used open houses as an additional source (compared to only 34 percent of buyers who didn’t use the web).

Buyers that search the web are more likely to go to open houses and call on yard signs, contrary to the popular belief that web searchers stick to the web – the research shows that typically, buyers that search via the web have an inherent interest in researching deeply.

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Bottom line: web users are more valuable

The icing on the cake is that 90 percent of buyers who used the web to search for homes use a real estate agent as opposed to the 70 percent of buyers who didn’t use the web. The standard belief is that tech savvy shoppers are often anti-agent because of various startups that have launched over the years to supplant Realtors, but it hasn’t worked, in fact, the opposite has occurred.

The bottom line is that web users are extremely valuable – they earn more money, are more likely to look at your offline marketing, are more likely to go to an open house and above all, they are much more likely to actually hire an agent.

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  1. fredromano

    November 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Great article and this is exactly the reason why our flat fee listing services are valuable to sellers. We understand that the majority of buyers "are" using agents to help with their purchase, so getting your home on the MLS is the key to exposing it to the most important group of buyers.


    November 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    It's a process. Today, not many know how the business of real estate works. These numbers may change when these buyers realize that they are paying half of the commission involved in the transaction by using a buyer's agent.

    That's big money. Rep your self, then pay your lawyer about $500 to review the doc's – that's (on average) a savings of $9,500 (5% commission divided by 2 (half to the buyer's agent) less the $500 to the lawyer.

    This may not apply to every state or transaction – but we think that as this becomes more transparent – these stats will change. No small change ($).


      November 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Opps – assuming a $400,000 purchase.

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