The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has an interesting article discussing the changes of how homebuyers search and eventually find a home. Homeowners are spending more time on-line looking at homes. In 2001, only 8% of homebuyers found the home they purchased on the Internet, whereas in 2016 that number has increased to 51%.
The Internet is a great place to narrow your search, but you must be aware that all sites are not equal. Many sites like Trulia/Zillow and Realtor.com do not update their data in a timely manner. Homes that are sold or taken of the market can remain in their searches for days or weeks. This is when a real estate professional can save you time. With access to the most up-to-date databases, tax records, and the ability to compare sales in an area; an agent can quickly help you narrow your search. Afterall, buying a home is NOT a process of selection, it is a process of elimination. An astute agent can assist you with eliminating neighborhoods outside of your price range, areas too far from work or schools, and assist with only considering homes that meet your needs and desires.
NAR’s 2016 survey showed that homebuyers that searched mainly on-line ended up, on average, looking at 10 homes over a 10 week period. Those homebuyers that worked with an agent only looked at 4 homes over a 4 week period, on average.
In the end, whether homebuyers spent most of their time searching on-line, or with the assistance of an agent in 2016, 90% of homebuyers worked with an agent through the contract negotiation and closing.
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