Internet Vital Tool For Real Estate

Buyers Look Online First

We made it.  2012 is here and with it comes many new aspirations.  Certainly on most peoples lists are to eat right and go to the gym often, perhaps spending time with the kids or even taking a daily vitamin. Some may in even have “Purchase a home or sell existing home” on that list.  All of these goals are attainable with the right information at hand.

Before you make the financial commitment to join a gym, maybe you’ve read a book, magazine or talked with a friend who has a fitness regimen before deciding that the gym is right for you.  Much like buying the right vitamins for your specific needs, you will talk with someone or read something.

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Whatever the goal is, you will have prepared as best as you can before embarking on it.  Purchasing a home for the first time or even if it is your second purchase, you will do some type of research before you even call a realtor.  That’s smart shopping.  Did you know the number of people that use the internet frequently while searching for a home has nearly doubled from 42% in 2003 to 75% in 2011?  In fact, more than 1/3 of all buyers went to the internet as the FIRST-step in the home hunting process.  Buyers are using multiple sources of information in the process of looking for a home.  Many drive the neighborhoods of the area’s they want to purchase in.  By far, the number one source of home buying information and listing research is the internet (88%), not far behind is the real estate agent at (87%).   This data was collected from the National Association of Realtors November 2011 annual report “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers”.

Aggregate sites such as Trulia and Zillow offer a glimpse of local listings.  The downside to these sites is the accuracy of the data at any given time.  When a listing is uploaded by the Realtor to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) it is immediately syndicated to these aggregate sites.  When changes are then made to the listing it could take weeks and often times months for the changes to be recognized online.  Whereas direct contact with an agent or the agent’s website offers more real time data for a particular listing.

What does this information mean for sellers?   If you are thinking of selling your home this year, now that you know where buyers are looking for their next home it should be obvious where your home should be once you decide to sell it.  Online!  Buyers now head online when searching for their new home. Making your home visible to the widest possible audience by selling it online is therefore vital if you want as many potential buyers as possible to see your property.  Supply and demand drive pricing.  The more people you have looking at your home and potentially writing up offers the better chance you have of garnering top dollar.

This is valuable information when sitting across from an agent and they are trying to get you to hire them to sell your home.  First, if you are interviewing more than one agent, in which I highly recommend, you can ask these agents what are their online marketing presence and can they show you?  Second, selling a house is marketing and your selling agent should have a strategic marketing plan aside from just putting a sign on your front lawn and kicking you out every weekend to hold open houses.

Another useful bit of information for the home buyer and seller is that the length of the typical home search has remained the same at 12 weeks since 2009. While searching,  buyers on average looked at 12 homes before deciding on their purchase.  All these statistics are viewable on the National Association of Realtors website  and are the most recent data provided.

Hope this gives you some perspective whether you are looking to buy or sell in 2012.  Happy New Year.

Chris Vigil is the Broker/Owner of Chris Vigil Real Estate in Whittier and a licensed Real Estate Appraiser. He can be reached at 562-945-4422, , or


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