The Internet has revolutionized how real estate is sold. This applies nationally as well as in our local Kingsland, Georgia and St. Marys, Georgia real estate markets. Websites are popping up left and right as agents claim to be "the trusted source for real estate" in the community. As potential home buyers research website after website they find so many of the sites start to sound alike.
Research shows that nearly 80% of home buyers begin researching homes for sale in their market of choice by accessing the Internet and browsing homes from the comfort of their home office. I've been following this trend for years and watched the number of home buyers using the web climb from the minority to the current state with 8 out of 10 using the web.
So with this many people using the web to begin their research it raises the question: "Are home buyers influenced by the Internet?"
Before I give you my opinion on the question please let me qualify where my opinion comes from. As a licensed Georgia real estate agent and a long standing member of the Board of Realtors, it is my job to know "Georgia Real Estate" and how to handle "Georgia Homes For Sale". BUT IT IS MY PASSION to understand how to serve home buyers and home sellers through the Internet. I have been studying Internet based real estate information for years and am widely acknowledge as the Kings Bay area Internet Expert for Real Estate by nearly all of my peers and competitors.
Again the question: "Are home buyers influenced by the Internet?"
The home buyers that are looking for guidance and education are influenced by the Internet in a very positive way. They research specific Kingsland, Georgia homes for sale or St. Marys, Georgia homes for sale (or whichever city they are relocating to), learn about financing and why getting pre-qualified is important, find a quality website that gives them an educational view of the process, and find an agent that will take care of them. The impact on these buyers is substantial as they use the Internet to become an informed buyer followed by researching and finding a quality agent that will guide them through the process. The process is less stressful for these buyers and they generally get a better deal on their home purchase.
In contrast, buyers that use the Internet simply to find homes for sale are not improving their personal understanding of the process and get little-to-no benefit...in fact they stand an 80% chance of harming their financial opportunity. These home buyers are much like the buyers from ten years ago; they get in their car (get online) drive neighborhood to neighborhood (surf the web) and stumble across a home they fall in love with. They have made the process more about the home and as a result the agent selection process is left to chance. They use whatever agent happens to be in the right place at the right time. This is surely part of the reason why 80% of home buyers will not use the same real estate agent twice. As a result they pay more, get poor terms on their contract, and often wish they had used a different agent or taken a different approach.
The beauty of this insight is this: You get to decide how you will buy a home. You can go with the old ways and leave your real estate agent to chance, or you can select an agent that is a solid educator, quality communicator, and cares more about your home buying goals than they do their personal income. Bottom Line - You get to decide if the Internet will impact how you buy your next home.
Original Post on Point2.