How Technology is Changing the Home Buying Process

The digital era has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including the way we buy homes. The time and effort saved using the internet is something today’s consumers heavily rely on. Fortunately for new movers, it’s never been easier than it is today to search for and buy a home online. With the plethora of online information and the increasing number of digital tools geared to simplify the home search process, homebuyers can take more control than ever before.

Digital Home Search

Consumers have several online tools available to make the home search process faster and easier. Websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com enable homebuyers to house-hunt more efficiently. For example, based on listing search history, buyers can receive notifications on similar homes that enter the market. They can also see how a home’s value has changed over time because of improvements or renovations, which is useful when buyers are getting ready to negotiate pricing with sellers. Check out these statistics on how the digital world is transforming the way consumers look for homes.

  • In 2020, the share of home buyers who used the internet to search for a home increased to an all-time high of 97%. (NAR)
  • 89% of people interested in the process of purchasing a home research the process online first. (IPropertyManagement)
  • In 2020, 9.6 billion visits were made to Zillow listed properties. (Zillow)
  • 80% of US homes have been viewed on Zillow. (Zillow)
  • Buyers typically search for 8 weeks and look at a median of 9 homes and view 5 of these homes online only. (NAR)
  • Only 29% of homebuyers found a home using an agent. Most people found a home online and then located an agent to show them the property. (NAR)

Virtual Home Tours & Digital Tools

Not only are homebuyers heavily relying on the internet for their home search, they are now able to complete the entire home buying process online if they want to – including attending home tours and open houses. For buyers who are unable to view properties in person, virtual home tours have become increasingly available. Virtual home tours are interactive and provide buyers with a 360-degree view, giving them a better sense of a home’s space.  Buyers can virtually “walk through” a home and view the areas they want to see.

Not only have virtual tours become popular, 54% of homebuyers won’t even consider looking at a home unless virtual images are available. According to a Realtor.com study, listings with virtual tours received 87% more views than those without virtual tours. Check out some of the other digital tools buyers say they would like to use when searching for a home.

Source: Zillow

During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Redfin saw a 494% increase in requests for video home tours.

Source: Redfin

Virtual Home Inspections

While many homebuyers generally want to attend the home inspection so they can see any problems firsthand, circumstances may not permit it. A virtual home inspection shares photos and videos of their findings with buyers, along with a detailed report – without the buyer needing to be present.

Due to the strict social distancing guidelines at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many home inspections went virtual. But even as the world transitions back to normal, the convenience of having this option available remains in demand by homebuyers and inspectors alike.

Finding Mortgages Online

The mortgage industry is going digital. According to Ellie Mae’s recent Borrower Insights Survey, borrowers continue to move away from applying for loans in person, as they look for a process combining both high-tech and high-touch elements. Researching mortgage lenders online has become more prominent over the last five years, with almost all recent borrowers conducting some sort of online research. Today’s first-time home buyers, particularly in the millennial generation, expect to be able to start the mortgage process online and have in-person communications for important portions later on. Check out some of these interesting statistics about how the mortgage application process shifted to be more digitally focused.

  • 66% of homebuyers would prefer to handle their mortgages entirely online. (Fortunly)
  • 92% of new mortgage borrowers do online research prior to speaking to a lender. (The Mortgage Reports)
  • 72% of all borrowers researched where to find the best rate, while 59% researched their loan options and how much cash they qualified for. (The Mortgage Reports)
Source: Ellie Mae

As you can see, the home buying process is drastically changing, with a huge focus on the digital experience. To reach this new generation of movers, paying close attention to these trends will help inform more effective marketing strategies. Download the Mover Marketing Success Kit to learn more about how we can power your mover marketing campaign’s performance.

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