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NAR Reports

How home buyers are finding their agents, hunting for houses in 2016

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) Are open houses and yard signs still relevant, or do home buyers only use the web to research and refer these days? Find out in this year’s report.

new habits

2016 NAR PROFILE OF HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS

This summer, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed 5,465 home buyers and sellers for the 2016 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The study shows that in the past five years, affordability has tightened, and the time spent home shopping has fallen.

Where are buyers finding their home? Their agent? How strong is the relationship with agents/brokers these days? Let’s dig a little bit deeper.

How are buyers finding agents?

Fully 88 percent of buyers used an agent or broker, 6.0 percent purchased directly from a home builder, and only 1.0 percent purchased directly from the homeowner (representing a 3.0 percent drop from 2011).

Nearly half of all buyers (42 percent) found their agent through a friend, family member, or neighbor, and 11 percent used the same agent from their last transaction.

Historically, buyers hire the first agent they interview, which remains true in 2016 (70 percent of buyers only interviewed one agent during their search).

It should also be noted that the relationship is quite strong, with 88 percent of buyers responding that they would likely use their agent again.

What about the house hunting?

Nearly all buyers (90 percent) that use the web to house hunt also used an agent, while only 70 percent of buyers not using the web to house hunt used an agent.

On average, buyers spent 10 weeks searching for their home (down from the 12 weeks it took just five years ago). On average, buyers visited 10 homes during their search (down from 12 homes in 2011).

What tools were used to find a home in 2016 (versus 2011)? This is where the most exciting changes are taking place:

  • 95 percent of buyers used the web to find a home (up from 88 percent).
  • 92 percent used an agent to find a home (up from 87 percent).
  • 49 percent used yard signs to find a home (down from 55 percent).
  • 50 percent attended open houses to find a home (up from 45 percent).
  • 16 percent found a home through newspaper or print ads (down from 30 percent).

How buyers first learned about the home by ultimately bought (versus five years ago):

  • 51 percent through the web (up 11 percent).
  • 34 percent through their agent (down 1.0 percent).
  • 8.0 percent through an open house (down 3.0 percent).
  • 4.0 percent through a friend, relative, or neighbor (down 2.0 percent).
  • 2.0 percent through a builder (down 3.0 percent).
  • 1.0 percent through a print ad (down 1.0 percent).
  • 1.0 percent directly from the seller (down 1.0 percent).
  • under 1.0 percent through a magazine or home book (down from 1.0 percent).

The takeaway

If you’re marketing to buyers, knowing how they will find you and if they trend toward referring to you can give you the competitive advantage. While trends locally are still the most relevant to any broker or agent’s career, knowing the national trends can help pinpoint adjustments that should be made locally, or affirm decisions already being made.

The practice of real estate is changing given these rapidly altered circumstances surrounding home buyers and sellers, and it is important to be informed!

Click here for hundreds of other stats from this report.

#NARreport

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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