Jonathan Gropper, COO, OnlyOpenHouses.com
A recent article on eMarketer reports on a study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) which reveals that the Internet is fast becoming the most popular aid for home buyers searching for a new home. From a mere 2% of home buyers using the Internet to search for homes in 1995 to over 77% in 2005, the Internet has really permeated and changed the real estate industry and how Americans go about buying and selling homes.
Interestingly, the use of the Internet does not really circumvent the middle-man, the real-estate agent. In fact, a high proportion of the people who use the Internet to do their initial search for homes online end up buying a home through a real estate agent. Realtors seem to have taken cognizance of this fact and are investing accordingly in information technology so that they are found and selected by prospective homebuyers. This is a race in which each realtor is looking to out-do or at least, be on par with his/her local and national competitors.
A couple of implications of the NAR study:
There is considerable value in Internet sites that offer homebuyers detailed information on properties to buy. In fact, multiple listing service sites (MLS), eg (OnlyOpenHouses.com), are among the most popular sources for homebuyers to find out about property to buy. They rank much higher than real estate company websites, real estate agent websites, or even the local newspaper websites. What seems to be obvious is that homebuyers want detailed information and variety. Not to mention unbiased choice.
As homebuyers become more sophisticated and comfortable with using the Internet, they expect more content, features and functionality in helping them through the home buying process. It is precisely this need and expectation of home buyers that we strive to fulfill and exceed with www.OnlyOpenHouses.com, a niche site that helps home buyers to search for and find open houses through out North America. Home sellers and realtors benefit by being able to list their open houses, and cost-effectively reaching target buyers.
Homebuyers value knowledge and expertise. When they search for homes (and open houses) on the Internet, they are also looking for real estate agents, mortgage companies and ancillary service providers. It is in a realtors' business interest to get listed on relevant real estate sites, and make themselves visible- effectively.
Strategically, this is a necessity as realtors are competing against an increasingly more focused and smaller base of realtors targeting the same buyers and sellers canvassing specific neighborhoods and cities. Realtors are forced to keep up with the times and actively target buyers and sellers where they shop for homes. This means getting to the right nexus and targeting the right audience at the right time. Niche websites like OnlyOpenHouses.com play a vital role here by allowing an almost one-on-one targeting of realtors, homebuyers and sellers.
To summarize, the benefits of the Internet in buying and selling of homes are quite clear, and the latest results by the NAR validate those. Homebuyers, sellers and realtors will do well to maximize these benefits to their advantage, and save time and money (and many hassles too) in the process.
About the Author
Jonathan Gropper is the COO of OnlyOpenHouses.com LLC, the only site for live open houses throughout North America. If you looking to visit an open home or list an open house, there is only one site you need to visit. OnlyOpenHouses.com offers detailed content and sophisticated features and functionality to help home buyers to find and prepare to visit an open home. Sellers and realtors benefit immensely with the cost-effective means to list and advertise their open houses. Service providers looking to target an active community of home buyers, home sellers and realtors have this excellent platform to advertise their products and services and reach their target audience. Our geo-targeting capabilities ensures that your advertising dollars are spent only on reaching your target audience.