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Social Media and Home Buying

More home buyers turning to social media in home-buying process, REALTOR® survey finds (1)

mt diablo in the distanceSurprised by the C.A.R. findings? Even those of us who live and breathe social media were a bit startled to learn what the California Association of Realtors® found: that home buyers are making social media part of the home-buying process.

We use social media for everything else. Why not home buying?

The survey showed that over 75% of home buyers used social media as part of their search in 2013, compared to 52% who used it in 2011. Buyers who were surveyed said they used social media to find buying tips and suggestions from friends. They also viewed their realtor’s Facebook page and looked up neighborhood information.

Buyers also revealed that they used a mobile device to get on the Internet as part of their home search. They searched for properties and compared home prices, neighborhoods, and amenities. 91% of buyers used a mobile device at some point during the search and purchase process.

Interestingly, only half of buyers Googled their agent in the period covered by the survey, compared to 68% in the previous year. The more recent buyers preferred to go straight to real estate agents’ Facebook pages. In another change, fewer recent buyers felt satisfied with their home purchase, compared to 66% the previous year. The other half felt they had settled for less than what they hoped for. On the other hand, the vast majority believed prices would continue to rise.

Was this due to a lower inventory of available homes? Low inventory has been the norm for several years, though. Rising prices? Or perhaps a lack of trust in the information gleaned through social media?

What are the lessons here for buyers, sellers, and real estate agents? For agents, it certainly is worth your while to have a Facebook page. Many people hope they can wait out Facebook, thinking it will be swept away by newer and better BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects.) In the area of California home buying at least, that doesn’t seem to be happening. For sellers and their agents, a Facebook page for your home could be a huge benefit in the coming year. And a quick double check of your website, to make sure it is compatible with mobile devices. For buyers, perhaps keeping in mind that relying on social media in addition to tried and true methods may produce more satisfaction with the end result.

(1) http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/2014releases/2014buyersurvey

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