By Peter Ricci
Real estate-related searches on Google have catapulted 253 percent since 2008, according to a joint study by Google and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
In addition, the report, titled The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate, uncovered a number of interesting details on how today’s homebuyers interact with the Internet.
Google Searches on Real Estate Terms
Google and NAR both found that the prospective homebuyer’s aims played a very strong role in his or her search terms:
- First-time homebuyers, for instance, most frequently searched for “FHA loan,” “FHA,” “home grants,” “home loan,” and “home buyer assistance,” which can only make sense when four of 10 first-time homebuyers financed their home purchases with FHA mortgages in 2012.
- At the state level, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Wyoming generated the most online queries from first-time homebuyers.
- For homebuyers looking for retirement residences, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington generated the most interest, while for vacation properties, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, and South Dakota were tops.
- In terms of amenities, the numbers of bedrooms/bathrooms, square footage, garages, HVAC systems and swimming pools accounted for 70 percent of all the searched features on Realtor.com.
- And finally, for those prospective homebuyers using a mobile device, 48 percent did so to find directions to a home for sale, while 45 percent went mobile to request more info about a home or service.
We should point out, though Google searches are extremely prevalent, the likelihood of appearing on the first pages of any of the aforementioned terms is unlikely; as we’ve covered before, the more specific the search terms, the better your chances are of getting discovered.
Patrick Grandinetti – Online Technologies “Driving Offline Behaviors”
Patrick Grandinetti, the head of real estate at Google, said that the widespread usage of the Internet in today’s commerce has presented new, targeted marketing opportunities for real estaet professionals.
“With 90 percent of home buyers searching online during their home buying process, the real estate industry is smart to target these people where they look for and consume information – for example, through paid search, relevant websites, video environments and mobile applications,” he said.
Robyn Jones, the broker/owner of Robyn Jones Homes in Houston, said her business had definitely adapted to rising interest from the Internet.
“Yes, we have not only noticed the increase in Internet traffic, we have upped our Internet existence and created a team to take advantage of it,” Jones said. “Three years ago, it was me and one assistant. Now there are 6 of us.”
Those include, Jones said, two assistants who respond to Internet leads and phone calls, a marketing assistance that works on social media and Internet advertising and a client liaison who handles communication with Internet leads and referrals.
“All of our staffing has been done to take advantage of the leads and clients coming from the Internet, and we anticipate more growth in the next 12 months just to keep up,” Jones said.