Homebuyers more likely to use real estate agents, even as Internet usage hits an all-time high

Nov. 4, 2013
Inman News

Agent and clients image via Shutterstock.

Use of the Internet among consumers in the homebuying process continues to grow, but those buyers are more, not less, likely to use a real estate agent, according to an annual survey from the National Association of Realtors.

NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers includes survey responses from 8,767 people who purchased a home between July 2012 and June 2013. The seller information in the report is from those buyers who also sold a home.

For those who purchased a home during that time period, the highest share ever – 92 percent — used the Internet to search for a home, up from 90 percent in last year’s survey and 71 percent in 2003.

use_of_internet_home_search_NAR_2013

Source: National Association of Realtors.

Just over 4 in 10 buyers (42 percent) started the homebuying process by looking for properties online (up from 35 percent in 2011) followed distantly by those whose first step was to contact a real estate agent (17 percent). Online websites and agents tied as the most common information sources homebuyers used in their search with 89 percent using each. Yard signs followed at 51 percent.

Seventy-six percent of respondents considered online websites “very important” as information sources in their home search, compared with 68 percent who said real estate agents were “very important.” Nearly equal shares, 81 percent and 78 percent, respectively, said online websites and real estate agents were “very important” in terms of usefulness.

usefulness_of_info_by_source_NAR_2013

Source: National Association of Realtors.

Last year’s survey found that homebuyers were more likely to use multiple listing service websites when searching for homes than any other source of online information, including third-party listing sites and mobile apps.

That finding, along with a claim that buyers used realtor.com more often than unspecified “other websites with real estate listings,” was met with some skepticism.

On last year’s survey, consumers could check boxes indicating that they used realtor.com or homes.com, among other sources, when answering the question, “Did you use any of the following real estate websites in your home search?”

While consumers on last year’s survey could check “Other websites with real estate listings (e.g., Google and Yahoo),” the survey did not offer Zillow and Trulia — the most visited real estate search portals, according to third-party monitoring data — as choices. At least one Inman News reader commented that the wording of the question, and the choice of answers provided, was likely to skew the results.

This year’s profile does not break down the types of online websites used by homebuyers in the home search process.

“[I]t’s fairly normal to drop some questions from the survey when new ones are added to track market developments. With growth to nearly 1 million real estate sites online, including individual agent sites operated by two-thirds of NAR members, consumers typically go to multiple sites,” NAR spokesman Walt Molony told Inman News.

“There are better resources for ranking websites, which isn’t the intent of the survey. For such data, you could use resources such as [comScore's] Media Metrix.”

Regardless of the specific source, an ever-increasing share of buyers found the home they purchased online: 43 percent this year, compared with 8 percent in 2001. The share of buyers that found their home through an agent has been dropping since 2010 when it stood at 38 percent, and clocked in at 33 percent this year. In 2001, 48 percent of buyers found their home through an agent.

Among those who used mobile search (45 percent), 22 percent found their home with a mobile app. Only 4 percent found their agent with a mobile app.

Among those who searched for homes online, three-quarters later drove by or viewed a home and 63 percent walked through a home they saw online. Thirty percent of buyers found the agent they used to search for or buy a home online and one-quarter requested more information online.

The typical buyer who used the Internet in their home search is 41 years old and had a median 2012 household income of $84,500 compared with 61 years old and a median income of $66,000 for the typical buyer who did not use the Internet to search for a home. The typical buyer who used the Internet to search had triple the search time length than the typical non-Internet searcher, perhaps suggesting non-Internet users know the home they would like to buy or have a specific area in which they target their search, the report said.

Among buyer respondents overall, 88 percent purchased their home through a real estate agent, but among those who used the Internet to search for homes that share goes up to 90 percent. Only 69 percent of those who did not use the Internet to search bought through an agent.

“While the vast majority of buyers use the Internet during the homebuying process, the Internet does not replace the real estate agent in the transaction. In fact, buyers who used the Internet were more likely than those who did not use the Internet to purchase their home through an agent,” the report said.

“Buyers who did not use the Internet to search were more likely to purchase through a builder or builder’s agent and through a previous owner of the home.”

Among both buyers and, the most common way they found their real estate agent was through a referral from a friend, neighbor or family member: 42 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Among sellers, a quarter used an agent they had used previously to buy or sell a home.

Keller Williams Unveils New Logo, Launches Campaign

Posted on October 18, 2013 by adminkwblog                                            —                     4 Comments ↓

Keller Williams Realty, Inc. announced today that it is launching an international rebranding campaign featuring a redesigned logo and brand identity.

“We knew that the day we officially celebrate our 30th anniversary was the right time to unveil a completely new look for our associates,” CEO Mark Willis said. “It’s an exciting, more relevant brand for a company that’s growing and changing the entire industry – a company that’s attracting the next generation of real estate professionals.”

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“With this evolution of our brand, we’re really staying true to our brand philosophy,” said Ellen Curtis, executive director of marketing and communications for Keller Williams. ”We stand behind our agents, not in front of them – and our new identity reflects that. It’s purposefully simplified to complement our agents’ brands – not compete with them.

“We also believe that it’s a look that will resonate with tomorrow’s home buyers and sellers and reinforce our agents’ position as forward-thinking, sophisticated and savvy,” Curtis added.

Keller Williams President Mary Tennant said, “The original Keller Williams logo has certainly withstood the test of time, and we knew it was time to revitalize, revamp and rethink our brand position in the industry. We’re thrilled to celebrate our 30th birthday this way.”

The company will immediately begin rolling out the new branding across its platforms, products and tools, including its proprietary marketing system, eEdge, and its new mobile app, which powers more than 90,000 agent-branded real estate search apps – one for each of its agents.

“We’re introducing the world to the next evolution of Keller Williams,” Willis said. ”We have always been an industry thought leader, a maverick, and we want our entire identity to reflect that.”

US home prices jump 12.4 percent in July from a year ago, most in 7½ years

By Associated Press,

 

Published: September 24

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rose 12.4 percent in July compared with a year ago, the most since February 2006. An increase in sales on a limited supply of available homes drove the gains.

The Standard &Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index reported Tuesday improved from June, when it rose 12.1 percent from a year ago. And all 20 cities posted gains in July from the previous month and compared with a year ago.

Sep 17, 2013

Keller-Williams

Keller Williams Realty, the 30-year-old Austin, Texas-based franchisor, claims to have more agents affiliated with its brand in the U.S. and Canada than any other real estate franchise — thanks in part to a net gain of 12,000 agents over the last year.

The firm announced at its midyear “Mega Camp” meeting that it now has more than 90,000 agents in 700 offices across the globe and recently opened shop in the United Kingdom. Currently, it also has franchise agreements in Austria, Germany, Indonesia, southern Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and Vietnam.

Keller Williams launched its global business with a “master franchise” agreement in Vietnam in February 2012.

“Being No. 1 in agent count in the United States was our first domino,” said Keller Williams Realty CEO Mark Willis in a statement. ”We’re on our way to knocking over bigger and bigger dominos until we’re No. 1 in agent count, transactions and volume all across the world.”

Some question how much agent count really means. Other metrics like per-agent productivity are important, too, pointed out real estate consultant Rob Hahn in a commentary on Inman News in February in response to Keller Williams’ announcement that its U.S. agent count had passed Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s.

- See more at: http://www.inman.com/2013/09/17/keller-williams-claims-north-america-agent-count-throne/#sthash.CCRL1Tlg.dpuf

INSPECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT

Having read this article, I thought that it was and is so important to home buyers and sellers alike to always have inspections prior to buying or selling any property.  As a Real Estate Professional , I always give my clients an opinion that Inspections are important and disclosures to their home are vital to both parties for peace of mind. This article gives insight why we must protect ourselves as Real Estate Agents and Home buyers and Sellers  with legal contracts that are approved by the State where you are residing.

 

Inspection Challenges in Court

 

  A seller’s nightmare affirms the value of inspections and contracts.

I was approached a few months ago by clients of mine, real estate agents who were in the midst of a legal dilemma. They had been served with legal documents because the buyer they had sold their home to had decided to sue them two years after the sale. The buyer claimed that there was mold in the attic and that the seller was responsible for its repair.

The first question I asked my clients was whether or not there had been an inspection done on the property. My clients confirmed that there was an inspection and that the buyer waived the inspection contingency. The buyer proceeded to closing and as far as my clients knew they had sold their home, but had they?

This appears to be a simple case where a buyer has a professional inspect the property, they then waive the inspection contingency and buy the home. While the buyer did waive their inspection contingency they were clearly upset to find mold 2 years later and wanted someone else to pay for its repair. That is where the real estate agent sellers come in. The buyer decides to sue and even though the sellers have not done anything wrong they are facing a law suit. The buyer had an inspection; that was part of the agreement. They could have walked away, but they didn’t. The buyer wanted the home, they bought the home, and now they are serving a lawsuit against the seller two years after the sale has closed. How can this be?

Anyone who has ever been involved in a law suit knows that there is a lot of work and emotional stress that goes along with being sued. The work involved is laborious as judges like well-documented proof and facts; and preparing a defense is very time consuming. If you are a real estate agent it will take you away from doing what you do best, which is helping people buy and sell real estate.

I was eager to supply my clients with hope about the case, telling them that they had nothing to worry about because of the legal forms and contingencies that are in place to protect sellers. Can you imagine my shock when they told me that the judge had ruled both the buyer and seller at fault and told them to settle in the middle? I thought I was going to be sick, how could this have happened? We have forms for this! We have laws for this! How could the judge make such a fundamental error? The decision the judge made could not have been made on the facts of the law that govern real estate transactions. I knew at that moment a huge mistake had been made. Yes, even judges can make mistakes, but unless you challenge those mistakes you will never reverse them.

I told my clients that although a judge had ruled against them that they were indeed right and I tried to support them and encourage them to appeal the decision. This would require extra fees and extra time. My clients also had to weigh the time commitment and energy expenditure they would incur because of this appeal. If this was not appealed, then this decision would go against everything we currently do when selling a home in the United States of America. It would mean that you would never truly be finished with the responsibility of owning a home, inspections would have no value, and a lawsuit could be brought by anyone after any length of time post-closing.

For as long as I have been in this industry I have never seen this kind of blatant error made in a court of law in a real estate transaction. But remember, anyone can sue you in court and any judge at any time can make a ruling for or against you despite your evidence. You have to be the one to fight further if you feel that an error was made in your ruling.

My clients agreed to challenge the decision and to appeal the judge’s decision. I told them that they had the law on their side and that they would need to carefully document it. That is exactly what they did and this morning they were notified by the appeals division that the original decision was overturned and that they had not done anything wrong.  The buyer had been given the opportunity to have an inspection, which they did, and they waived the inspection contingency. Therefore the sellers (my clients) were not responsible for this mold damage two years later. Finally, a correct decision was rendered based on the real estate law governing the original agreement and the terms of inspection!

I was thrilled to hear this! If this decision had not been overturned it would have had to be brought to national attention. It could have been a real estate crisis of monumental proportions that would change the way sellers sell their homes. Inspections must have value. Sellers should not be tied to their homes for years after closing.

I want to personally thank these agents who went out of their way to do THE RIGHT THING for the real estate industry and sellers all over the country.

A NOTE TO MY CLIENTS

I realize how difficult this was, how much time and energy it took out of your business and your personal life and on behalf of the entire real estate community and sellers all over the country I want to personally thank you for standing up for the rights of sellers everywhere.

The bottom line is this, without fighting for what you believe in and what you know is right, you could be missing out on an opportunity to prevent further problems for others down the road.

Today has been a glorious and victorious day for real estate!

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI – The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things “real estate”. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

18 Ways to Prep Your Home’s Exterior for the Spring Market

 

 

By Charlene Storozuk, Dezigner Digz

Spring is in the air in some parts of Canada and the U.S., although it hasn’t quite reached my little corner of the world yet. This is the time of year when thoughts turn to spring cleaning; whether or not you’re selling your home. Of course, if you are listing anytime soon, you’ll want to be even more meticulous.

The busy spring market will be upon us before you know it, so here are some tips for getting the exterior of your home shipshape:

1. Remove glass from light fixtures and take out any little critters that may have found a home over the winter.  Be sure to use glass cleaner on the panes before replacing them in your fixtures.

2. Clean your mailbox.  If it hasn’t weathered well over the winter, it’s probably time to replace it.

3. Clean and polish, if necessary, your front door’s hardware. Replace it as well if necessary.

4. Check your house numbers.  Are they still in good shape and visible from the street?  If not, replace them.

5. Wash down your front door and garage door.  If you find that the previous summer’s sun has faded the paint, consider repainting.  (Your garage door should be painted a color that blends in with the brick or vinyl siding on your home.) Before painting, check with the paint manufacturer to see what the optimal outdoor temperature should be. You don’t want to paint when it’s still too cold outside.

6. Wash the windows.  If this isn’t your strong suit, hire a professional.

7. Hose down the porch and driveway to remove any excess salt left over from de-icing.

8. Sweep the porch, driveway and patio to get rid of any rogue leaves etc. left over from the fall.

9. Check your porch, driveway, and patio for any cracking or lifting of patio stones that may have taken place during a deep freeze.

10. Check your roof to make sure no shingles are missing or were damaged during the winter.

11. Remove debris from your gutters and drain spouts.

12. Rake the lawn.  However, before doing that it’s very important to check with your local garden center first to be sure it’s not too early.  If raked too soon before the ground thoroughly dries, you could potentially damage your lawn.

13. Remove winter displays from your urns.  For a burst of color, plant spring flowers as soon as weather permits.

14. Tidy up your gardens in preparation for planting season.

15. Organize the garage. Put away shovels, snow blowers, toboggans, and any other items that made their way into your garage over the winter.

16. If you don’t use your barbeque year round, it’s time to bring it out.  If it’s a built-in unit that will be staying with the house, be sure to clean the grills and wash down the lid.  If you have a cover for it, replace it if it’s worn.

17. Remove the cover from your swimming pool and clean your pool as soon as your pool service company advises that it’s OK to do so.

18. Bring out your patio furniture and set it up.  Although it may be too cold to sit outside just yet, you want potential buyers to see your outdoor living space’s potential.

These are some suggestions to get your started.  What else am I missing?  Feel free to add to the list!