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Posts Tagged home sales

Home Buyer Research Says Home Buyers Research (more than agents think)

home buyerMy office is literally littered with research.  Ask anyone who walks in.   Research studies on real estate advertising, home buyer trends, and home seller stats.  Consumer media usage.  Email marketing trends.  Social media for real estate studies.   Real Estate Book advertiser studies.  Real estate lead tracking studies.  The list goes on and on.   

It’s overwhelming at times.  But, one of our core corporate values is that we make fact-based decisions.  Recently, we partnered with Josh Gordon, an independent media consultant to track the habits of home buyers.  We then compared that data to the assumptions of real estate agents on buyer habits.  In other words, we asked buyers how they shopped for homes and agents and then asked agents how they thought buyers shopped. There were some similarities and some disconnects.

For example, generally home buyer and agents agree on the reasons that a buyer chooses a specific agent with whom to work.  Both believe that the #1 reason is trust, followed by knowledge and experience. 

However, a disconnect lies in the reasons the agent was NOT chosen to represent the buyer.  Buyers said that, in most cases, it was simply too early in the process.  Buyers today spend more time looking at neighborhoods and homes  (12 weeks in total according to the 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers) and are loaded with information prior to selecting an agent to represent them. 

Where do they look for information?  They did not select a single media  for research, but used multiple sources of information to make their decisions.  Websites that feature multiple agents was chosen most often, followed by referrals from a friend or a previous relationship with the agent, and then real estate magazines.  Social media outlets were used the least followed by newspaper advertising.

One misconception agents had was that buyers relied less on these information sources after they’d chosen an agent.  However,  66% of buyers indicated that they made no change to their search habits at all.  They continued to consult all areas of information just as they had done prior to selecting an agent.  They looked through homes on multiple websites and 63% said they continued to use real estate magazines throughout their entire home search. In fact, most still consulted the same sources they had before selecting an agent.

What does this tell us?  Buyers use multiple media for their entire home search.  They research longer before engaging an agent.  They continue to seek information afterward and they choose an agent when they are ready based on what they’ve seen and to whom they’ve spoken.   This is why top agents keep their personal brand and listings in front of buyers across multiple media platforms to create top of mind awareness when the buyer is ready to act.

Stay tuned for more insights from the buyer study and from our seller study. More to come . . . .

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CONFESSIONS OF A REAL ESTATE JUNKIE/HOME SELLER

I’ve read a lot lately in the real estate industry press about the Internet replacing print. The key advantages to the Internet appear to be ease of posting content, wide distribution and a very low cost. All pretty compelling advantages, without a doubt.

But if we stop for a moment and think about this from a home sellers perspective, the story gets more interesting. And after all, the home seller is paying the real estate commission that essentially funds the marketing of the home, so we do need to listen carefully.

As it turns out, home sellers have high expectations that the agent they engage to sell their home at the highest price possible and as quickly as possible, will avail themselves of all the tools available to reach local and out of town buyers. And they can get very serious about it. I call it the “home seller zone”. Once they get in the zone, it consumes them. It dominates their thoughts, their conversations with others, and as time passes their expectations of their agent.

Those expectations include Internet exposure, but in a recent survey by a firm out of New York, it also includes the use of open houses, ad placement in local home magazines, flyer’s, direct mail etc. In other words, marketing.

Industry insiders know what NAR just confirmed in their 2009 Home Buyers Report, that more than 80% of buyers move less than twelve miles. There is a strong chance the buyer will live very close by and will be influenced by many local outreach vehicles, as well as the Internet.

Home sellers seem to intuitively get the fact the buyer of their home may live around the corner, or a town or two away. As such, these buyers can be guided and influenced by locally distributed housing magazines as they go about their business of shopping, working and playing.

I believe smart agents understand this too. This home seller research will be available by the middle of February for anyone who wants it. Just drop me a note and I’ll be more than happy to send it your way.

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CONFESSIONS OF A REAL ESTATE JUNKIE/THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME

christmas-doorIt’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us and we are flooded with sensory experiences, like no other time of year. From the sound of holiday songs, to the smell of baked cookies, the taste of eggnog and finally the visual presentation of cards arriving daily from family and friends. You can’t help but think back to years past. To when you were a child, to the home you grew up in and the people that mattered most to you.

Whether those memories were good or not so good, we all go home mentally, at least for a while, during this time of year. The impact that a home has on our lives is so much greater than just providing shelter.  The memories created in our homes last a lifetime and provide the most important gifts that life has to offer.

As Real Estate professionals or marketers serving this industry, we have all just experienced a few of the most challenging years imaginable, from a business perspective. I find it helpful to keep in perspective the fact that our core purpose has not changed; we are fortunate to be in the business of connecting people to their dreams.

Suburban or urban, ranch, colonial or contemporary; modest or extravagant. Every dream matters and we help make them a reality. We have much to be thankful for.

 
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