How Technology and Millennials are Changing the House Hunt

How Technology and Millennials are Changing the House Hunt

Posted 02/11/2016

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A newspaper’s real estate section. Automotive transportation. And, a real estate agent who communicated primarily through phone calls.

Twenty years ago, these were the tools of the trade for most home shoppers. These days, the newspaper most likely has been replaced by a computer, the vehicle enters the scene much later in the process thanks to virtual-touring abillities, and the real estate agent communicates more often through texts than phone calls to a new generation of buyers that is molding the home-buying journey to suit its own distinct set of preferences.

Technology and the Millennial generation certainly are altering the residential real estate industry in ways no one could have predicted two decades ago. Yet, at its core, a successful home-buying experience still relies on two enduring principles: a superior product and friendly, efficient customer service.

Here are three ways technology and a new breed of shoppers are forcing the sales process to evolve while remaining true to its roots:

Home search starts online

According to data from the 2015 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 42 percent of recent buyers reported their home-buying journey started at the computer, up from 36 percent in 2010. While 94 percent of Millennials and 84 percent of Baby Boomers used online websites in their home search, only 65 percent of the Silent Generation – buyers ages 69 to 89 years old – did the same (which is still quite impressive). In many cases, virtual touring begins months before the buyer ever actually steps foot inside a home.

Mobile takes on new meaning

Twenty years ago, the mobile aspect of the home search centered around having transportation to and from listings. Today, more than half of younger buyers reportedly used a mobile device during their home search, according to NAR’s generational preferences research. Among those who did, 31 percent of Millennials and 26 percent of Gen Xers found the home they ultimately purchased via a mobile device.  

Agents are still relevant

Although most home searches started online, 87 percent of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent, and nearly 10 percent purchased directly from a builder or builder’s agent, the NAR report states. Buyers may not need as much help finding properties as they once did, but they still appreciate expert advice throughout the house-hunting process.