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Survey: Mobile technology dominates home buying process

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 6:20 am

Demonstrating the proliferation of mobile technology into nearly every facet of our lives, more than eight out of 10 home buyers are accessing home information on their smart phones and computer tablets, according to the California Association of Realtors’ 2013 Survey of California Home Buyers.

This information shouldn’t come as a surprise with 90 percent of media consumption being screen based. Seems like the “trend” is becoming a lifestyle.

“With more and more consumers using mobile devices and mobile technology, such as apps and social media platforms, buyers are increasingly using their smartphones and computer tablets to view comparable house prices, search for properties, take photos, and create videos of homes and amenities, as well as research communities and real estate agents,” said C.A.R. President Don Faught. “As a result, home buyers today are more informed and have a greater sense of control over what could be a daunting process.”

The survey found 85 percent of buyers used a mobile device during the home buying process, with the majority of buyers (70 percent) accessing the Internet from their smart phones and 15 percent accessing it from their tablets.

While the majority of buyers (61 percent) found their home through an agent, the percentage who found their home online more than doubled from 16 percent in 2012 to a record high of 37 percent in 2013.

Almost one-third of buyers rated as the most useful website. Broker and agent websites were also helpful in the home buying process as buyers increasingly seek local expertise and information.

The survey also found that buyers spent nearly six months considering a purchase before contacting an agent, nearly twice as long as last year. They took more time investigating homes and neighborhoods before contacting an agent, spending just over seven months on researching, compared to about 1.5 months last year. Additionally, buyers spent nearly 10 weeks looking for a home with their agent, a week longer than last year. More than eight out of 10 buyers (85 percent) made offers on other homes, and one-third said they settled for the best option given the limited supply of houses.

“The lengthier consideration time and home search illustrates the impact of low housing inventory and increasing home prices,” said Faught. “These factors caused buyers to weigh their options more carefully before making their home purchase.”

Additional findings from survey include:

• Reflecting the prevalence of tight lending standards, buyers experienced extreme challenges in obtaining financing. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being extremely difficult, buyers rated their difficulty in obtaining financing at 8.6 on average, the highest in the survey’s history.

• Higher down payments are the market norm these days, with buyers putting an average of 25 percent down on their home purchase. The average down payment has been greater than the traditional 20 percent since 2009.

• Leading the way ... in California real estate for more than 100 years, the California Association of Realtors is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 155,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. If you’d like to connect to some of the latest and greatest screen applications for your home search consult your area expert.

Sheri Aguilar is the president of the Lodi Association of Realtors and can be reached at