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Your Next Customer: Report on Internet Buyers vs. Traditional Buyers

Real Estate Technology

I came across an amazing presentation put together by the California Association of Realtors called Realtor 2.0: The Next Big Thing.

The report, published in October 2007, details the changing nature of today's real estate customer -- more connected and more self-sufficient. Understanding the findings in this report will help you attract more customers that require less effort and learn about the changing dynamics of the real estate market.


  • 72% of all real estate customers are now "Internet Customers"
  • Internet Buyers look on their own for a while, then use an agent. They look at half as many homes with an agent as a traditional buyer (9 vs 20)
  • In 2007, 49% of agents got at least half of their business from the internet. In 2003, that number was just 5%.
This is a great presentation you can read in its entirety in about 15 minutes.
Rob Graham
Windermere Real Estate - Seattle, WA
Rob Graham

fantastic link.  Thanks.


Apr 12, 2008 11:21 AM
Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker
https://teamcoker.robertpaul.com - Falmouth, MA
Heath Coker Berkshire Hathaway HS Robert Paul Prop
Sounds good.  But who did the study, what are the actual stats.  I find many customers are Internet savvy, but are misled about their "new" real estate savvy.
Apr 12, 2008 11:22 AM
Alan Pinstein
Decatur, GA

The study was done by the California Association of Realtors. I believe that their survey participants are in CA only, so that may skew the results a little, but what happens in CA doesn't stay in CA, it ends up that way everywhere else, too. So the CAR reports are a great heads-up to what's coming to other markets in the near future.

Certainly most internet tools are very immature, and I bet you do often find that consumers have bad information.

But I think the salient point to take from this survey is that customers WANT to do things on their own more, and that WILL have an effect on the real estate marketplace.

Apr 12, 2008 11:26 AM
Lew Corcoran
Better Living Real Estate, LLC - East Bridgewater, MA
Real Estate Agent, Home Stager, & Photographer
Buyers today shop online for a home BEFORE they set foot in a real estate broker's office. Buyers who use the Internet in searching for a home are more likely to use a real estate agent than non-Internet users - some 81 percent of online home searchers bought a house through a real-estate agent. In addition, home buyers sited photos as the most useful online feature when searching for a home online. So, if your listing is not online and if it doesn;t have a bunch of photos, you could be missing out on a potential sales opportunity.
Apr 12, 2008 11:28 AM
Anthony Stokes-Pereira
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty - Nanuet, NY

Hi Alan;

Very Good information, I thank you very much.


Apr 12, 2008 11:36 AM
Bill Byrd
Byrd Property Group - Charleston, SC
Charleston SC Real Estate Expert
Great information...NAR has a similar study that I've seen but I don't know the link. However CA is always on the cutting edge of things so it's great to see what the left coast is up to! This type of information is really powerful in explaining your web based marketing program at a listing presentation! Great stuff!
Apr 12, 2008 11:40 AM
Dahl Real Estate Group
Platinum Living Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale Luxury Homes
It is a changing market, the internet will continue be a bigger and bigger part of the real estate business.
Apr 12, 2008 12:10 PM
Scott Guay
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty - Ocean Pines, MD
Associate Broker. Ocean City and Ocean Pines MD
It is a trend that will only increase.  We all need to take this to heart.
Apr 12, 2008 01:33 PM
Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - New Smyrna Beach, FL

Alan, I agree completely... more and more of my buyers are coming from the net and already have a handle on the home and area that they want to purchase in.

Apr 12, 2008 02:24 PM
Stephen D White, E-Pro, ABR Cape Cod Real Estate
SDW Realty of Cape Cod - Falmouth, MA

So what we are seeing is the greater majority- 72% doing their homework on the web, researching listings and narrowing down their wanted neighborhoods before ever contacting an agent. This sounds like us agents should have less work to do, show less homes to their buyers to make a sale? not always. Purchasing real estate is still a "see, touch sometimes even a smell" sale where buyers need to walk in the door and actually see the condition of the property. So hopefully agents will still have a job in the near future. God know that the web is changing a lot of careers- real estate included but not hopefully putting agents out of business. But again the battlecry for agents is to embrace the Web and Technology and its ever changing influence in their business to survive!


Cape Cod Realtor   sdw1

Apr 15, 2008 06:38 AM
Alan Pinstein
Decatur, GA

These are just averages... did you ever hear about the person who drowned in a river with an average depth of only 6 inches?

On the whole, an average customer should be less work. But still nearly 30% are still "traditional" clients but this number will go down to almost 0 over the next 5-10 years.

I think the business model for agents will change from the way it is now to a more fee-for-service model.

It's not fair to agents to spend lots of time (and money for listings) working with a client only to have them not close a transaction. I think over time that agents will get paid directly for their work. The agents making the most money will make far less, but the average agent will be more profitable.

Apr 15, 2008 07:35 AM