According to the National Association of Realtors, when asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 44 percent of buyers identified a real estate agent; 33 percent the Internet; 10 percent from yard signs; 4 percent from a friend, neighbor or relative; 4 percent from a home builder; and 1 percent directly from the seller. Not one respondent said they found their home from a newspaper or print ad.
Ninety-one percent of home buyers who used the Internet to search for a home purchased through a real estate agent, in contrast with 9 percent of non-Internet users who purchased directly from a builder or from an owner they knew in advance of the transaction.
Local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) web sites were the most common Internet resource, used by 59 percent of buyers, followed by:
- Realtor.com at 45 percent
- Real estate company websites, 43 percent
- Real estate agent web sites, 42 percent; other real estate listing websites, 41 percent
- For Sale by Owner sites, 15 percent
- Local newspaper websites, 8 percent; and real estate magazine websites 4 percent
You will note that these numbers add up to more than 100%. Survey respondents were instructed to select all answers that applied.
The most valuable web site feature for homebuyers are photos- fully 99 percent of home buyers stated that the photos were Very Useful or Somewhat Useful when surveyed.