Yahoo! Inc., just released the results of a study they did on how the Internet influences home buyers and sellers and specifically how it influences consumers when it comes to selecting a real estate agent.

No great surprises in the results (which were tabulated from a survey of 500 participants)… Yahoo’s found that… Yes… the Internet plays a “pivotal role in the selection process and was central in helping consumers identify agents”.

The numbers are good brain fodder though.. here’s what Yahoo! found:

  • Home buyers and sellers consider approximately two agents on average before making a final decision.
  • The Internet impacts consumer trust. Forty percent of respondents credited a site in increasing their trust in the agent.
  • 74 percent of people who accessed an agent Web site got there with the help of a search engine. [emphasis mine]
  • The online research process is quick and intense: consumers spent an average of 12 hours online researching agents and 75 percent selected an agent within one week of starting their search.
  • 45 percent of respondents used the Internet to learn about agents they didn’t know existed.
  • 41 percent discovered special deals and promotions offered from an agent through the Internet.

Struck me that maintaining a blog might still be the best way for Realtors to deal with the discovery and introduction process.

But the biggest find reinforces what many of the online search sites are banking on (see Trulia Gets Beaucoup Bucks) – there is still a massive disconnect between Realtor’s advertising budgets and where consumers are looking for information. According to Yahoo! (bias noted) 77 percent of respondents searched the Internet for information during their research process compared to 34 percent for print.

And guess where Realtors are still spending the most of their money? A Borrell Associates report quoted by Yahoo says that newspapers continue to get biggest share of Realtor advertising dollars at 40 percent (though online is catching up – and now stands at 32 percent).

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