When it comes to buying real estate, buyers are still taking the time to walk through the door of a prospective home and look around in person realtorbefore they make an offer. But, before they get to that point, these folks are busy researching online. Google studies show that about 90% of consumers are using the Internet to find real estate information. That’s not the only place they look though, so today’s real estate marketers should be considering the whole picture when they put together their ad campaigns for hot properties.

Google research shows that consumers who use the Internet to shop for real estate turn to the following sources for information:

  • Internet 100%
  • Realtor 89%
  • Yard sign 53%
  • Open house 46%
  • Print newspaper ad 28%
  • Home book/magazine 19%

In terms of Internet research, 68% of consumers are using mobile apps and 49% rely on these apps at the beginning of their search process. These consumers aren’t just looking at specific homes. They want to know more about a specific community (86%) and like to price compare (46%) and they find videos especially helpful in this process. In the age of smartphones, mobile devices are growing more popular with consumers using them at home and in the car as they consider various properties.

The added convenience of online information has done little to speed up the buying process, though. For 40% of buyers there’s a long lead time, 120 days, between the time research begins and a purchase decision is made. This extra time gives real estate marketers additional opportunities to influence prospective buyers.

Realtors are beginning to diversify their ad spending. Last year, newspapers captured 27.7% of total real estate advertising or $563 million. The next most popular category for these marketers is online which scored $487 million or about 23.9% of the total. BIA/Kelsey analysts believe that online is poised to make big gains in this sector by 2017 as the following data shows:

  • Online 40.8%
  • TV/Cable 11.6%
  • Direct Mail 7.9%
  • Out-of-home 7.5%
  • Mobile 12.6%
  • Newspaper 6.9%
  • Radio 4.3%
  • Magazine 1.1%

If you’re working with real estate marketers, let them know that spending on digital channels is expected to surpass traditional print this year. They may want to adjust their media mix to connect with more buyers before the new year begins.

To learn more about new home seekers, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.

[Source: Digital House Hunt. Realtor.org. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013; Ackley, Suzanne. Newspaper is Still the Medium. Blog.biakelsey.com. 15 Aug. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013]