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33 Must-Know Stats about Modern Real Estate Customers: 02/12/2012

33 Must-Know Stats about Modern Real Estate Customers

By contributor Matthew Ferrara

4.8 out of 5 by 5 User(s)

Matthew Ferrara Go to Profile Matthew Ferrara
Published: 02/12/2012
Posted by: RET Staff
We love to remind our clients of Peter Drucker's critical insight: Know the customer so well, that your products and services virtually sell themselves. So, here's are 33 things you need to know about them if you want to grow your business!

Let's talk real estate consumers, not houses, for a moment. If you want your sales, marketing and customer-relationship strategy to be as effective as possible, make sure you've understood just who you're trying to connect with this year. In fact, of the top 10 reasons people bought a home last year, most were "personal" reasons. So stop spending as much time worrying about housing inventory and make sure you have mastered the research about the housing consumer. Here are some to get you started, courtesy of multiple sources, including the National Association of REALTORS, Pew Research, Nielsen, Morgan-Stanley and a few other pieces we've brought together.


  • 37% of recent buyers were "first time" buyers – a drop from 50% in 2010
  • They typical buyer was 45 years old – up from 39 a year ago
  • 37% of buyers were under the age of 31; 32% were over 55
  • While all buyers use the internet to search for homes, for 35% of them, it was the first step in the process; 21% started by contacting an agent
  • 21% of buyers were single females; 12% single males
  • 64% of all buyers had no children under 18 at home
  • Buyers found real estate agents (83%) slightly more useful than the internet (81%)
  • 92% said open houses were very- to somewhat-useful sources of real estate information
  • Buyers found the home they purchased in the newspaper 5% of the time
  • 58% of buyers wanted to see videos when looking at property online

Comments on: 33 Must-Know Stats about Modern Real Estate Customers
by Dwight Goodwin 2012-02-13 08:52:06
If 35% of buyers use the internet to begin their buying process, but only 3% of sellers select an agent from the internet, this would indicate two very different marketing plans are needed for the agent who wants a balance of buyers and sellers.

by Matthew Ferrara 2012-02-13 17:48:40
Dwight, the internet affects different behaviors differently. Shopping for a commodity - like a house - is far more likely to be influenced by internet marketing, than shopping for a professional who will walk you through it, such as the agent themselves, where the data shows a much greater reliance on "people" to "people" referrals. So indeed, your marketing plan has to be sophisticated: One strategy will not fit every form of your business development needs.

by Victor Lund 2012-02-13 10:52:26
There are liars, damn liars, and statistics. If someone sends an email, they have used the internet to begin the buying process. If they went to a broker website to look up information from a listing they saw, they used the internet. Moreover, just because a person replied to a survey and said that they started their buying process online, it does not mean that they really did :-)

by Matthew Ferrara 2012-02-13 17:50:54
Victor, looking behind the data to the questions asked can indeed reveal some ways in which the "answers" might reflect generalities. And, like all surveys, respondents can tell fibs, however, I think that people who conduct surveys know how to take into account these possibilities these days. Like all surveys, it's important to look at the data, then find out
each for ourselves
what the trends are in our own local markets and personal business spheres...

by Victor Lund 2012-02-14 06:45:59
Disclosure: WAV Group is a company that provides research and survey services to the real estate industry.

The question asked by NAR and CAR (WAV Group clients) in their consumer surveys reads something like: Where did you begin your search for a new home
1. Internet
3. Newspaper
4. etc.

It is not a great question.

They also ask a question like: Where did you find the home you purchased:

2. Internet
3. Yard sign
4. etc.

And the Question: Did you use the internet in the process of buying or selling a home:

1. Yes
2. No

Guess what - a lot of people use the internet.

by karen A Martin 2012-02-18 15:55:09
Thank you this is helpful information in addition an agent may want to go over their own sales for the year determine where they came from and use that information to determine how, where & how much time & money you spend on marketing

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