How are homebuyers shopping for a property?



When home sellers put their house on the market, their tendency is to want to heavily promote it. Some clients want to advertise in national newspapers and magazines. This is a bit like buying a lake because you want a glass of water – overkill!

In reality, according to a 2016 study by the National Association of Realtors (Click here for full report), while 88 percent of homebuyers used a Realtor to purchase their home, this is how they initially found it:

  • 51 percent – On the Internet
  • 34 percent – Through their Realtor
  • 8 percent – Yard sign or open house
  • 4 percent – Through a friend, neighbor or relative
  • 2 percent – Through a builder
  • 1 percent – Other

I would contend that in Boulder County – the home of the very tech savvy – the Internet statistic is probably even higher. All that being said, and from my years of experience, I would also note these buying habits:

  • “Very serious buyers” (for instance, those who have to move out of town for a job) usually hire a Realtor right away and want to buy a house and move within a tight timeframe, such as before school starts. They look at properties online but are already super busy (selling their current home) and rely on their Realtor to comb the area and summarize the best possibilities.
  • “Pretty serious buyers” (for instance, those who have grown out of their current home and are itching for a bigger place) are regularly combing the Internet and may also hire a Realtor early in the process, especially one who has ties to a specific area and may know about properties before they go on the market. This Realtor may also have connections with other local Realtors with potential sellers.
  • “Casual buyers” (those who don’t have an urgent need to move but want to do so “some day”) may incidentally find a home by seeing a print ad, for sale sign or an open house for a particular home, street or neighborhood they’ve always admired.

As you would guess, “very serious buyers” and “pretty serious buyers” make up the vast majority of homebuyers, while “casual buyers” represent a small minority.

In summary, if you’re selling your house, your on-line presence — how well your property is presented and photographed — is of the utmost importance! Having a Realtor with connections to the area and other local Realtors is also imperative. But a nice for sale sign or a chatty neighbor are also good things.