Thirty years ago, the home buying process has very tedious. A potential buyer would need to contact their local real estate agent, make an appointment to visit the office, look at pictures of homes and visit them one by one.
Mobile technology has disrupted the real estate profession in unexpected ways. A growing number of home buyers are using their mobile devices to find their dream homes and close on them.
Over Eight out of Ten People Use Mobile Technology to Buy a Home
According to a 2013 survey from the California Association of Realtors (CAR), about 85% of home buyers use mobile technology.
“With more and more consumers using mobile devices and mobile technology, such as apps and social media platforms, buyers are increasingly using their smartphones and computer tablets to view comparable house prices, search for properties, take photos, and create videos of homes and amenities, as well as research communities and real estate agents,” said Don Faught, President of the California Association of Realtors. “As a result, home buyers today are more informed and have a greater sense of control over what could be a daunting process.”
The National Association of Realtors has also studied the phenomenon. Their recent white paper shows that homebuyers use mobile technology to:
- Look at how-to videos on finding a home
- Find the best local real estate agents through review sites
- Researching the best neighborhoods to buy a home
- Identifying properties that meet their standards
- Getting advice from friends over social media
Mobile technology is a game-changer for the real estate profession. Sellers, buyers and agents are all adapting to it.
How is Mobile Technology Changing the Buying Process?
Mobile technology is transforming the home-buying process in a number of ways – some expected and some less so.
Surprisingly, mobile technology appears to be leading to people spending more time looking for a home. The CAR study found the average home buyer spent six months looking at properties before closing on one. This is about twice as long as they spent during the previous year.
The reason is simple – people are spending more time researching properties. They have a lot of information at their fingertips and want to make sure that they make the right choice.
While the prevalence of digital technology has benefited buyers, it has created new challenges for Realtors. Customers have found using digital technology makes finding a real estate agent easier than ever. They tend to gravitate to professionals with a strong online presence, which includes a website with excellent SEO, hire an app maker to reach local customers and plenty of reviews on Google Places.
The NAR says this has made it more difficult for Realtors to stand out.
“In today’s complex, rapidly changing, and digitally driven media environment, capturing a home shopper’s attention in order to build a real estate business and personal REALTOR® brand is tougher than ever.”
Mobile technology also appears to be driving up demand for houses in many areas. Since buyers can find properties more easily with mobile technology, they are more likely to engage in bidding wars.
The increased prevalence of mobile technology has forced real estate agents to invest more in their mobile presence. Those that invest wisely do very well, but still find the market can be competitive.
However, there are some things that haven’t changed. Home buyers tend to look for Realtors in specific areas. They generally want to work with one that lives within 50 miles of their desired destination, since they have a much better understanding of the market. Realtors that lack competition in their region tend to do very well in the digitally charged climate.