The digital age has revolutionized the way we buy and sell homes. With the advent of the internet, homebuyers are now empowered with a wealth of information at their fingertips, leading to a more satisfying home buying experience thurner kaarst. A study conducted by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) reveals that internet homebuyers are twice as satisfied as traditional buyers, thanks to the convenience and wealth of information available online.
The Digital Advantage in Home Buying
The C.A.R. study, titled “Internet vs. Traditional Buyers,” conducted in the fourth quarter of 2000, found that internet homebuyers typically find their realtors online, while traditional buyers often find a realtor through chance encounters or by calling for information on a “For Sale” sign.
The study also revealed that traditional homebuyers viewed an average of 15.1 homes with a realtor before making a purchase, while internet homebuyers only viewed 7.9 homes with a realtor before buying. This discrepancy is attributed to the fact that internet buyers spend more time researching the real estate market online. According to Gary Thomas, C.A.R. president, internet buyers spend an average of 6.3 weeks researching the real estate market, compared to traditional buyers who spend just 2.2 weeks before contacting a realtor.
The Informed Internet Homebuyer
By the time internet buyers contact a realtor, they have a clear understanding of what they want. They know where they want to live, they’ve researched neighborhoods, and they understand their mortgage options. This level of preparedness leads to a higher level of satisfaction with the home buying process. The C.A.R. study found that 96% of internet homebuyers were “completely satisfied” with the home buying process, compared to just 44% of traditional home buyers.
Internet homebuyers also reported higher satisfaction with their realtors (73%) compared to traditional buyers (34%). Additionally, internet buyers typically purchased more expensive homes ($403,752) than traditional buyers ($321,950), and they generally achieved a higher level of education.
The Power of Real Estate Portals
Real estate portals like Realtor.com and HomeAdvisor.com are popular among internet homebuyers. These sites provide valuable information on the home buying and selling process, as well as listings from the national Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Internet buyers can view homes in any community they wish online, 24 hours a day, without feeling pressured by a real estate agent. However, to get a home’s address, they will need to contact a real estate agent.
One real estate portal that provides addresses of all homes in San Diego County on the MLS is HouseRebate.com. This site also offers information on the home buying and selling process, as well as discounts to homebuyers and sellers in the form of cash rebates.
The Rise of Online Discount Brokerage Firms
Online discount brokerage firms offer significant advantages to buyers and sellers. Buyers can now obtain rebates up to 1.5% of the purchase price of their home, and sellers can list homes for up to 4.5% vs. the traditional 6% commission. With the average home price in San Diego County now over $400,000, such discounts are worth considering.
Another San Diego-based real estate site, EfreeMLS.com, provides an opportunity for “For Sale by Owner” sellers to list their property on the MLS for a flat fee of $299 vs. 3%, which is one-half of the traditional realtor fee. EfreeMLS rebates the $299 to the seller if they then buy a property through their service.
The Future of Home Buying
With the power of the internet, the knowledge base has shifted to the consumer. Homebuyers can now expect to be rewarded for their time spent researching potential properties online. Armed with this information, they can walk into a traditional real estate firm and ask about discounts. Even traditional firms like Coldwell Banker are getting into the discount brokerage business with Blue Edge Realty, currently being tested on the East Coast. The future of home buying is digital, and it’s here to stay.