How Social Media Is Changing Home Shopping in California

More than 75 percent of homebuyers used social media in their quest for a nest, up from 52 percent in 2011, according to a new survey.

Patch file graphic.
Patch file graphic.

More than 75 percent of homebuyers used social media in their quest for a nest, up from 52 percent in 2011, according to the California Association of Realtors 2014 Survey out today.

In the survey, done by telephone in late 2013 and early 2014, respondents said they primarily used social media to get buying tips and suggestions from friends (44 percent), neighborhood information (44 percent), and to view their agents' Facebook pages (42 percent), CAR reported.

Mobile technology and the Internet continued to be important tools in the home-buying process, with 91 percent saying they used a mobile device to access the Internet during the course of their home purchase.

Buyers used their mobile devices to look for comparable home prices (78 percent), search for homes (45 percent), and take photos of neighborhoods, homes, and amenities (43 percent). Conversely, with the increased use of social media, fewer buyers Googled their agent (50 percent in 2014, down from 68 percent in 2013), turning to agents' Facebook pages instead.

In another sign of recent market competitiveness, more than nine in 10 buyers (91 percent) made one or more other offer, with an average of 3.6 offers in 2014, up from three offers in 2013. Additionally, buyers viewed a median of 20 homes in 2014, up from 10 last year.

Given the limited supply of homes available for sale, fewer buyers were satisfied with their home purchase than last year. Only about half of the buyers were satisfied with their purchase in 2014, down from two-thirds (66 percent) in 2013, according to CAR. Nearly half (46 percent) of buyers felt they "settled" on their home purchase in 2014, up from 34 percent.

Other findings included:

  • Buyers cited price decreases (54 percent), receiving a promotion or raise (34 percent), low interest rates (29 percent), and favorable prices/financing (17 percent) as the top reasons for purchasing a home.
  • Echoing a recovering housing market over recent years, buyer optimism about home prices also continued to improve, with the vast majority of buyers (81 percent) believing that home prices will rise in five years and 60 percent believing that prices will rise in one year. This is an improvement since 2009, when only 35 percent of buyers believed that prices would rise in five years, and only 8 percent who believed prices would rise in one year.
  • Higher down payments are still the norm in this market, with buyers putting an average of 28 percent down on their purchases. The average down payment has been higher than the traditional 20 percent since 2009.
  • More than nine in 10 buyers (92 percent) obtained a fixed-rate loan, a 23 percent increase from 2009, when only 69 percent obtained a fixed-rate loan, reflecting low rates and the desire for certainty as the market gets back to basics.
  • Nearly all surveyed buyers (88 percent) used a real estate agent in 2014, down slightly from 91 percent in 2013. Reflecting a growing use of the Internet, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those who used an agent found their agent online, compared to only 38 percent who found their agent online in 2003.

--City News Service

Brainwashed_In_Church June 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM
Realtors are only needed to get a potential buyer physically inside the house. Even most of the paperwork can be done by the buyer - it's pretty boilerplate, textbook, form filling. The buyer can do 95% of the rest of the work himself online. Buyers are ten times more informed now than they were before the internet: demographics, traffic, detailed school information, planning and zoning, price history, taxes, HOA data, etc are at the buyer's fingertips compared to before when the buyer was at the mercy of his realtor to provide this. Now the buyer has a lot more hard data compared to before when the realtor would have a lot more control over the information the buyer would use to make a purchase.
Beth Moran June 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Buyers have always had the option of purchasing a home without a Realtor...but why would they want to? It doesn't cost the buyer a dime to have a Realtor represent them and they don't have to do any additional work. They are represented without all the emotional input and the experience brought to the table is invaluable (if they choose their agent well). Data is good but knowing the nuances of the market, industry and how to leverage is where the rubber meets the road. Brainwashed...you go for it...represent yourself and good luck!
Herbert Edgard Alamo June 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM
As a local realtor in Los Angeles/Orange County, I am pro social media! The most import factor missing in the entire internet equation is knowing how to protect the client! I fulfill that missing element which makes the entire process clear, precise and transparent! #herbiesocal #realtor #socal
Cindy June 27, 2014 at 01:37 PM
I think it is funny when I hear people say they do not need a Realtor to buy & sell a home...what a mistake. Today's transaction are riddled with disclosures and you need third party to help "you" make the proper decisions because as humans we tend to forget our thoughts and how we process information is extremely limited in scope. When I sell my property the buyers I will be looking for will be represented by a Realtor as I do not want to have any hassles with the misinformed not represented buyer.


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