What Services Do Buyers Feel Are the Most Helpful in Home Buying?

Posted by Judy Orr on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 at 4:30am.

I recently read an interesting article from the IAR (Illinois Assoication of REALTORS).  I have added a couple of the survey responses
that I thought were pertinent.  This is the first in a 3-part series I'll be posting.

The survey results below are from the IAR Homebuyer Benchmark 2009 and comprises recent homebuyers with a 3.09% margin of error.  My thoughts are written below the results in blue ink.

The survey question was: "Which one of these services did you find most helpful in your home buying?"

WORKING WITH A REALTOR® ....................................... 54.6%
I would have hoped "working with a REALTOR" would have been higher than 54.6%, but it is the highest number, so that's good.  Of course, unless a buyer purchased a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), I'm assuming more than 54.6% actually used a REALTOR or agent to purchase their home.  Maybe some weren't happy with their agent so did not feel that their agent was the "most helpful service" in buying a home.

SEARCHING THE INTERNET ........................................... 25.3%
The small number of 25.3% answering that the Internet was the most helpful service might make sellers think that the high numbers we're giving them of 85% or more buyers searching the Internet as being incorrect.  But keep in mind, that was the number of buyers that felt their Internet search was the most helpful service.  Many Internet searchers end up using a real estate agent and might have voted for that as being the most helpful service.

LOOKING IN THE NEWSPAPER ........................................ 2.0%
I'm actually surprised at the high percentage of 2% of buyers that actually chose the newspaper as being the best service available to help them buy a home.  Again, I realize that not everyone uses the Internet, but I expected this number to be smaller.  Even if a non-Internet user searched newspapers for their home purchase, I cannot imagine that anyone would choose this as the most helpful service at all.  These might have been buyers that purchased a FSBO through the paper.  Which shows you why newspaper advertising doesn't work very well and why around 90% of FSBO's end up listing with a REALTOR.  Newspapers might have worked for a small percentage of buyers, but many in the industry are ending their relationships with newspaper advertising because it doesn't work well enough and isn't worth the high costs involved.

DRIVING AROUND THE AREA......................................... 10.8%
I'm also surprised at the high response rate of 10.8% for driving around an area as being cited as the most helpful service!  In my opinion, it is not a service at all.  We know that there are many sellers that don't use For Sale signs and many condo/townhome associations don't allow them.  I currently have a Tinley Park condo for sale that I cannot use any kind of sign located at 18001 S. Oak Park Ave.  With the price of gas today, driving around trying to find a For Sale sign is a waste of time, money and resources.  A buyer cannot tell the price of a home, how many bedrooms it has or other information unless there is a brochure box with brochures in it or some kind of 800-number.  Unless you really have nothing better to do and are interested in a very specific area, I cannot imagine that this would be chosen by many buyers as one of the most helpful services in their home buying transaction.

HOMES MAGAZINE............................................................ 0.5%
Another surprise was the very low percentage (0.5%) for homes magazines.  I honestly thought these magazines did a better job than newspapers, although print advertising is a very low response marketing technique today, which is why less and less agents and brokers utilize either.  They are very high priced for the little to no response generated.

If you're interested in purchasing a home, I would hope you enjoy working with a full-time, experienced REALTOR like myself.  Feel free to search the Chicago suburbs MLS or better yet, fill out the Automated Home Finder Form and get new listings sent directly to your e-mail - no more need to search and possibly miss the perfect home.  My search includes foreclosures, short sales and regular seller resales.  The home page of this site & the sidebar on the interior pages show the main Chicago Suburbs real estate areas I work in personally, but if your area does not appear please contact me as I have a great referral network. Feel free to call me direct at 708-536-8200 or use my Contact Form.

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