REALTOR Survey Shows 90 Percent of Buyers Use Internet To Search for Homes; What is Best St Louis site?

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-Annually, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) conducts a survey of people that bought and/or sold a home in the past year to learn about their shopping habits, what motivated them to do what they did, etc.  The NAR “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers” for 2012 was just released and shows, among other things, that 90 percent of home buyers used the internet in finding the home they bought and, of those, about half used a local MLS site and/or agent/company site.

What’s the best local St Louis website for searching homes for sale?  For it’s ease of use, accuracy of content and and relevant information, “one-click” searches and the fact a real, live, professional agent is nearly always ready to respond to questions, I would have to say*

Highlights from the survey:

  • Sixty-five percent of all buyers are married couples, 16 percent are single women, 9 percent single men, 8 percent unmarried couples and 2 percent other; percentages of single buyers were slightly higher in 2011.
    • Two years ago, 58 percent of buyers were married, 20 percent were single women, 12 percent single men and 7 percent unmarried couples; the overall market share of single buyers declined a total of 7 percentage points over the past two years
  • First-time home buyers made up 39 percent of the market this past year, up from 37 percent the year before.
    • Long-term survey averages show that four out of 10 buyers are typically first-time buyers, who are critical to a housing recovery because they help existing home owners to sell and make a trade.
    • The median age of first-time buyers was 31 and the median income was $61,800. The typical first-time buyer purchased a 1,600 square-foot home costing $154,100, while the typical repeat buyer was 51 years old and earned $93,100. Repeat buyers purchased a median 2,100-square foot home costing $220,000.
    • 76 percent of first time homebuyers obtained their downpayment from savings; 24 percent received a gift from a friend or relative (normally their parents); and 6 percent received a loan from a relative or friend. Eleven percent tapped into a 401(k) fund, and 6 percent sold stocks or bonds. Ninety-three percent of entry-level buyers chose a fixed-rate mortgage.
  • The median downpayment for all home buyers was 9 percent
    • First time home buyers had a median downpayment of 4 percent
    • Repeat buyers had a median downpayment of 13 percen
  • Seventy-eight percent of recent home buyers said their home is a good investment, and 46 percent believe it’s better than stocks; 92 percent were satisfied with the buying process.
  • The typical buyer began their home search online and then contacted a real estate agent. Buyers who used an agent searched a median of 12 weeks and visited 10 homes, down from 12 homes in 2011.
  • 90 percent of homebuyers used the Internet in finding the home they bought, 87 percent use real estate agents, 53 percent yard signs, 45 percent attend open houses and 27 percent review print or newspaper ads.
  • When buyers were asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 42 percent said the Internet; 34 percent from a real estate agent; 10 percent a yard sign or open house; 6 percent from a friend, neighbor or relative; 5 percent home builders; 2 percent directly from the seller; 1 percent a print or newspaper ad; and less than 1 percent from other sources.
  • Ninety-one percent of home buyers who used the Internet to search for a home purchased through a real estate agent, as did 71 percent of non-Internet users, who were more likely to purchase directly from a builder or from an owner they already knew in a private transaction.
  • Local metropolitan multiple listing service websites were the most popular Internet resource, used by 54 percent of buyers; followed by, 51 percent; real estate agent websites, 47 percent; real estate company sites, 39 percent; other websites with real estate listings, 27 percent; search engines, 19 percent; mobile or tablet apps, and for-sale-by-owner sites, 13 percent each; mobile or tablet websites, 12 percent; and mobile or tablet search engines, 11 percent; other categories were notably smaller.
  • The biggest factors influencing neighborhood choice were quality of the neighborhood, cited by 61 percent of buyers; convenience to jobs, 43 percent; overall affordability of homes, 39 percent; and convenience to family and friends, 35 percent. Other factors with relatively high responses include neighborhood design and convenience to shopping, 26 percent each; quality of the school district, 25 percent; convenience to schools, 22 percent; and convenience to entertainment or leisure activities, 19 percent.
  • Seventy-nine percent of respondents purchased a detached single-family home, 8 percent a condo, 6 percent a townhouse or rowhouse, and 7 percent some other kind of housing. The typical home had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
  • Eighty-nine percent of respondents used real estate agents and brokers to purchase a home, 6 percent purchased directly from a builder and 5 percent directly from the previous owner; 59 percent of buyers working with real estate professionals had a buyer representative arrangement.
  • Sellers typically found a real estate agent through a referral by a friend, neighbor or relative, or used the agent in a previous transaction; 84 percent are likely to use the agent again or recommend to others.
  • Like sellers, buyers most commonly choose an agent based on a referral, with trustworthiness and reputation being the most important factors; two out of thee buyers interviewed only one agent. Eighty-nine percent of buyers are likely to use the same agent again or recommend to others.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I am a principal in MORE, REALTORS, the company that provides St Louis Real Estate Search.  Having said that, I still feel it’s the best site and wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t so just because it’s mine. I’ll be the first to let you know when I think something I am involved in is sub-par.

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