Hacker Connect January 16 in New York
An event for and by the real estate tech community

When the Internet was new, some real estate professionals embraced its potential right away, while others only gradually learned the mechanics of online content creation and lead generation. There’s a similar pattern at work now that mobile devices and high-speed broadband are available from most places in North America.

My company’s analysis of 11,000 real estate websites strongly suggests that it’s time for all real estate professionals to ensure that their sites are ready for mobile users. Here’s what we learned:

Home_Buyers_Going_Mobile

When we compared desktop real estate website desktop access with mobile, we found that:

  • The average desktop visitor spends 5 minutes, 17 seconds on a website and views four pages.
  • The average smartphone visitor spends 2 minutes, 30 seconds on a website and views two pages.
  • On average, tablet visitors spend 4 minutes, 2 seconds on a website and view three pages.

The top three mobile devices used are:

  • iPhones
  • iPads
  • Samsung Galaxy phones

Our research found that 1 in 4 users visit websites with mobile devices. Of those users, about 75 percent are using smartphones and 25 percent are using tablet devices.

The takeaway here is that mobile may not yet equal desktop use, but it has gained share in real estate website visits. And it’s a good bet that more people would use mobile if more of those real estate sites were mobile-responsive.

What’s mobile-responsive, anyway?

A mobile-responsive website site adapts the content of the page to display in a readable format for a mobile screen and also makes navigation possible on the mobile screen. Mobile-responsive sites detect which type of device is being used and reformat pages for each type of device.

So it’s not surprising that tablet users spend more time on each page and view more pages than smartphone users. The tablet’s larger screen makes it easier to view a website that’s not necessarily mobile-friendly. Nonresponsive sites are extremely difficult to navigate with the much smaller screen of a smartphone.

How buyers use mobile devices

You may be familiar with the National Association of Realtors’ survey of homebuyers that reported that 89 percent of home shoppers use a mobile device for the duration of their property research. A lot of these searches are done via mobile apps such as those from Zillow and Trulia — further evidence that a mobile-friendly website is a cost-effective solution for getting mobile traffic and prospects.

Whenever a business challenge like mobile-responsiveness arises, it’s good to imagine how the customer might view you. Try this: Visit your website on your mobile device and different devices belonging to friends, family and associates. Don’t just look at the home page to see if it’s readable on the screen. Navigate to buyer and seller sections of the site, search for information and search for listings.

If you become frustrated — even a just little — you’ll know that you need to take some corrective action.

Many real estate website providers design websites with mobile in mind, so obtaining a mobile site is relatively easy.

So get mobile-responsive and enjoy your new traffic and leads!

Peyman Aleagha is CEO of WebsiteBox, a Toronto-based company that offers real estate websites and tools.

Email Peyman Aleagha.