Tech’s Bigger Role in House Hunting: What Agents Rely On

December 13, 2018

Consumers increasingly rely on the web in their home search, and real estate pros are finding it’s vital to meet them in that digital space.

The top technology tools that pros say provide them with the highest quality of customer leads are: social media (47 percent); MLS suite (32 percent); a brokerage’s website (29 percent); and a listing aggregator site (29 percent), according to a new report, Real Estate in a Digital Age, published by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Tech used more in house hunting

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Real estate pros acknowledge that staying up-to-date with technology is important, but cited it as one of the biggest challenges for firms over the next two years, according to the survey.

The typical buyer in 2018 used a mobile device to search for properties online, looking at websites with photos, home listings, and information about the homebuying process. Then, they contacted a real estate agent and visited a median of 10 homes over 10 weeks before purchasing a home, the survey found.

“Consumers have the ability to do more homebuying research online than ever before,” says NAR President John Smaby. “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 equation.”

Buyers surveyed ranked finding the right property as the most difficult step in the homebuying process. Forty-four percent of buyers say they looked for properties online as their first step. However, 87 percent of buyers bought their home with assistance from a real estate agent; for millennials, that percentage stood even higher, at 90 percent.

Millennials ranked photos and online property information as being the most important for website listing features. Virtual tours and direct contact with a real estate agent were most important for the baby boomers surveyed. Older buyers tended to find virtual tours more useful than younger buyers, the survey found.

REALTORS® and their firms are embracing more technology to serve clients, the study found. Real estate pros surveyed say they prefer to communicate with their clients via email (93 percent), text message (92 percent), and instant messaging (37 percent).

Pros are also very active on social media for connecting with clients. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most used social media platforms, at 97 percent and 59 percent, respectively. Instagram is used by 39 percent of real estate pros.

Real estate firms provide their agents and brokers with specific software. The following are the most commonly used software by firms:

NAR tech survey

© National Association of REALTORS®