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How real estate agents play into online home shopping

November 16th, 2012 by John Kirchner

It’s no secret today’s home shoppers are spending less time driving through their dream neighborhoods and more time searching listings online. Searching for a home is never easy, of course, but the Internet has given prospective buyers the opportunity to view — in great detail — up to hundreds of homes in a short afternoon.

The National Association of REALTORS recently surveyed 8,501 buyers and sellers to find out the online sources they most visit when searching for homes. The winner? Local multiple listings sites (MLS), which aggregate all of the real estate listings in a given area.

The online shopping trend might be great for shoppers, but what does it mean for real estate agents? According to Inman News,

“For the second year in a row, more buyers first saw the house they eventually purchased on the Internet (42 percent) than heard about it from a real estate agent (34 percent). Yard signs clued 10 percent of buyers in to the house they eventually purchased, while 6 percent found out about the house they closed on through a friend, relative or neighbor.”

Rather than feel threatened by shoppers searching online, real estate agents should leverage their expertise by inviting shoppers to inquire with questions whenever they see a home online they may be interested in learning more about or viewing in person. Real estate agents — for now, at least — have more information access about listings than most websites do.



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