2013 Profile of Home Buyer and Sellers: Technology Trends

The 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was released on November 4, and as it does each year the report examined the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans, and experiences of recent buyers and sellers.

One recent trend discussed is how much consumers now embrace technology during the home search process. Did you know that…

  • Fifty-six percent of buyers start their home search online, 43 percent found the home they ultimately purchased online (edging out all other sources), and 92 percent used the internet at some point during their search process.
  • Forty-five percent of recent buyers used a mobile or tablet website or application during their home search and among those who did 22 percent found the home they purchased online.

Here are a few charts from the Profile that highlight the growth in technology usage over the years:

TJ Doyle

Thomas “T.J.” Doyle is the Director of Social Media for NAR’s Communications Division. T.J. Doyle oversees NAR’s social media content, campaigns, and initiatives aimed at building and promoting online communities of value to NAR and its members. In his role, he advises and provides guidance to other NAR departments as how to best capitalize on opportunities for enhanced engagement on issues of interest to NAR and its membership. T.J. monitors and tracks NAR’s social media engagement efforts through a variety of software and programs, providing monthly reports to senior management team regarding engagement trends and relevant online conversations and actions taking place on blogs and other social media sites. Through this analysis of digital analytics the association’s social presence can evolves to best serve membership. T.J. has been at NAR for 10 years, previously serving as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Research Division. In that role, he focused on marketing the products and services the Research Division produces to members and non-members alike, while also overseeing the Research Division’s social media presence, promoting NAR Research to members, state and local associations, the media, Congressional staffers, and other real estate-related industry groups. T.J. is a proud graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and is currently pursuing a Masters from Georgetown University in Public Relations and Corporate Communications.

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  1. It would be great to go further and answer which websites the buyers are using for their mobile devices. Which ones are the most popular and which ones are the most user friendly.

  2. That information already exists. Realtor.com is the clear leader and no one else is even close… yet. I read a great commentary that within 5-10 years Google, Yahoo, Zillow, Trulia and the like will be dominating all real estate transactions and real estate agents will be working for them… bye, bye big box brokerages.

  3. George Morris

    I agree with Julie Lyda’s comments…WHAT websites drive the MOST business (e.g., Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.)

  4. Out of all the people that found their new home on line, I wonder how many used a Realtor to write the offer and negotiate on their behalf? They may have gone straight to the listing agent assuming it was listed with a Realtor. It is easy to find a home on line but not so easy to write and negotiate on your own behalf.

    I would think most people would do a Google search to find a home.

  5. To determine which of the 3 major websites drive the most income and profits to the agents, a major survey would have to be constructed, however, the margin of error could be great, as many agents do not track their data. As far as traffic is concerned, Zillow is at the top, Trulia, then Realtor.com.

    Other than web traffic I have yet to see each portal make the following statement: “We have generated $5 M in commission to our agents subscribers” and the reason is that these companies are only as good as the agents behind them… No one can control the conversion skill of an agent. These companies are just “conversations” vehicles or just responsible for “filing the tank with gas .” It is the agents job to get the client to their destination.


  6. It seems like in the first graph the colors should be switched and people would be increasing the frequency that they are online searching for homes not decreasing.

  7. T.J. Doyle, Marketing & Communications Manager

    Paul, you are correct, and the updated chart is now embedded in the post.

  8. I’m surprised so many people are using mobile devices to search for homes… for such a big investment I use my desktop so I can take notes, bookmark, see photos at large resolutions, etc. Maybe I just consider mobile searches to be for less serious things – I only use my phone for spontaneous searches or when looking for recipes. Clearly I need to change the way I think about mobile devices. Are there mobile apps for home listings?