An annual survey from the National Association of Realtors has found that despite the increasing popularity of the Internet when it comes to buying homes, those same users are more likely than not to use a real estate agent, according to an article on

In a NAR survey of 8,767 people who purchased a home between July 2012 and June 2013, which also included those selling a home, the research found that those who purchased a home during that period used the Internet for research the most in recent years. The survey found that 92 percent of homebuyers used the Internet, up from 90 percent the previous year and 71 percent in 2003.

Around 42 percent of buyers started the purchasing process by conducting online research, which is up from 35 percent in 2011 and a huge lead over those who began the purchasing process by contacting a real estate agent—17 percent. Real estate agents and online websites tied at 89 percent each as the most common source of information for homebuyers to use. Yard signs followed behind at a mere 51 percent.

Online resources were considered “very important” by 76 percent of respondents in the survey, while 68 percent considered real estate agents to be “very important.” Nearly the same amount of respondents ranked online websites and real estate agents regarding usefulness as “very important.”

A survey from last year found that homebuyers used multiple listing website services the most in their search for a home, over other sources of online information such as third-party listing sites and mobile apps.


  Source: National Association of Realtors.

That finding and the one that found homebuyers use more often than unspecified “other websites with real estate listings,” didn’t sit well with the editors at Inman News.

On the previous year’s survey the respondents had the option of checking or and other sources when asked, “Did you use any of the following real estate websites in your home search?”

They could also check “Other websites with real estate listings (e.g., Google and Yahoo),” but the popular websites, Zillow and Trulia were not given as options, which Inman News readers felt could skew results.

While this year’s survey found that homebuyers were using the Internet more than ever to conduct research, the survey did not ask which websites they were using.


Source: National Association of Realtors.

Whatever the online source, the survey found that 43 percent of this year’s homebuyers discovered their homes online, a big increase from 2001 when only 8 percent saw their homes online. Many buyers that found their homes online then drove by the home at a later date, and slighter fewer did a tour of the home.

Overall, of buyers that responded to the survey, 88 percent used a real estate agent to make the purchase, and that number goes up to 90 percent of buyers that used the Internet to find their homes. Buyers that didn’t use the Internet for research were more likely to purchase the home through a builder or previous owner.

Both buyers and sellers most frequently found their real estate via a friend, neighbor, or family member’s referral.


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