The internet has changed the real estate industry. It’s changed the way sellers showcase their properties and has helped perspective homeowners hone in on exactly what they are looking for. The rules of being a REALTOR® in the online world have completely changed. The combination of social media and technology has made real estate a “make or break” industry for many agents and brokerages. These are just a few examples of how the real estate market is impacted by technology, social media, and the internet.
1. Impact of Technology
According to NAR, “50 percent of agents and 47 percent of brokers spent between $501 – $2,000 on technology for their business in the last 12 months.” To me, these numbers seem low. I personally know many brokers who spend upwards of $100K per year on technology to remain competitive.
The same study revealed that the top three purchases people plan to make in the next year are a smart phone, iPad and digital camera. It also revealed that over 90 percent of REALTORs® now maintain a social media presence.
2. Home Buyers and the Internet
If you don’t see the impact technology is making yet, they you’re probably still doing business based primarily on referrals. I’m here to tell you that there are a lot of opportunities out there for the motivated agent. Check out the results of a result NAR consumer poll says. It reported that 74 percent of potential home buyers in 2012 began their home search online. These are also national statistics, and I can say with a high degree of certainty that in Austin, this number is probably closer to 95%.
3. More Independent Searches
The same NAR poll showed another trend. When potential buyers find a property they like, they’re more likely to contact the seller directly before hiring a REALTOR®. Nearly half of those polled said they had done just that. Twenty-nine percent said they found their agent through an online home search and 21 percent said they did a drive-by on homes they saw online.
4. Realtors in Cyberspace
Most REALTORs® have done an above-average job of acclimating to the overall online climate. Over the past decade, they have increased their online presence and have made excellent use of the capabilities of the Internet. One perfect example of this is in the propagation of listings on MLS (multiple Listing Services) to many sites at once. This alone has made it easier to find a better buyer’s agent than ever before.
5. The Tools of the Cyber Realtor
The vast majority of today’s REALTORs® have their own web sites. The most successful brokerages also utilize other online tools. Most keep an up-to-date blog. Many have sought the help of search-engine-optimized (SEO) content writers for those blogs to increase their visibility in search engines. Many distribute online press releases to inform the public of the latest news in the real estate industry, as well.
It is no secret that online technologies now drive many offline behaviors. Just ask online giants like Google. Technology is only going to continue to unfold new opportunities that will connect homeowners with perspective buyers and realtors alike. In the mean time, take advantage of some of the real estate social media tools that are already available to you today.