Home buyers using the Internet are younger, wealthier, better educated and more likely to be married than traditional buyers, according to an industry survey released Thursday. Internet buyers also reported greater satisfaction with the home-buying process compared with traditional buyers.

However, these two types of buyers have started to converge over the last few years, according to the California Association of Realtors’ “2006 Internet Versus Traditional Buyer Survey,” which examines their characteristics.

The Internet buyer has become the “typical” home buyer, C.A.R. said, though important distinctions between Internet and traditional buyers remain. Since 2001, the share of home buyers using the Internet as an integral part of the home-buying process has nearly doubled to 70 percent.

“The Internet is changing the dynamics between buyers and their agents, as well as the way business is conducted throughout the real estate industry. However, while the Internet has become an important research tool for home buyers, it has only enhanced the Realtor’s role in the transaction,” C.A.R. President Vince Malta said. “Buyers continue to rely on their Realtor for help with interpreting the information gathered from the Internet and to guide them through the home-buying process.”

According to the survey, more than nine out of 10 Internet buyers indicated that the Internet helped them better understand the process of buying a home. Additionally, Internet buyers are accustomed to receiving more frequent communication and faster response times from their Realtors.

“More and more consumers have high-speed Internet access at home, enabling them to gather information on all types of products and services both quickly and easily,” said Malta. “This trend has carried over to the process of buying a home. As a result, home buyers are more informed, have a greater sense of control over the process, and hold high expectations concerning how quickly they receive information.”

Internet buyers and traditional buyers expressed significant differences in how they conducted their home-buying research. Internet buyers conducted more research at the onset of the home-buying process, while traditional buyers relied more on their agent as their source of information. 

Other key findings from C.A.R.’s survey include:

  • The median age of Internet buyers was 39 years compared with a median of 42 years for traditional buyers.

  • More than nine out of 10 Internet buyers were married, while nearly eight of 10 traditional buyers were married.

  • Seventy-three percent of Internet buyers had at least a four-year college degree and 11 percent completed post-graduate work. By comparison, 72 percent of traditional buyers held a college degree and 5 percent completed post-graduate work. 

  • Internet buyers had an annual income of $184,900, compared with $148,910 for traditional buyers.

  • Internet buyers spent an average of 5.8 weeks considering buying a home before contacting a Realtor, nearly three times more than traditional buyers, who spent 2 weeks in this stage of the home-buying process.

  • Internet buyers spent 2.2 weeks looking for the home they ultimately purchased, compared with 7.1 weeks for traditional buyers.

  • Fifty-four percent of Internet buyers said the information that they gathered from the Internet was less useful than that provided by their Realtors; none considered the information gathered from the Internet to be more useful than that obtained from their Realtors.

  • All first-time buyers typically spent 5.3 weeks considering buying a home and 4.3 weeks investigating homes for sale before contacting a Realtor. They then spent 3.2 weeks previewing eight homes with their Realtor. 

  • All repeat buyers spent 3.3 weeks considering buying a home and nearly three weeks investigating homes for sale on their own. They spent 5.4 weeks previewing 13 homes with their Realtor.

C.A.R.’s “2006 Internet Versus Traditional Buyer Survey” is available for purchase in electronic format for $19.95 for C.A.R. members and $39.95 for non-members and in hard copy format for $24.95 for C.A.R. members and $49.95 for non-members by calling (213) 739-8227 or logging on to http://www.rebs.com/.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Keep up-to-date on tools and tactics to impress your clients and outshine your competition with the 2022 virtual bundle.Register Now×
Agent Appreciation Sale: Inman Select for only $85.CLAIM OFFER×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription