By Peter Ricci
As we’re reported on numerous occasions, the Internet is one widely-used resource, with 90 percent of homebuyers beginning their home search online.
However, all homebuyers behave differently when home shopping, and how they response to that online experience is no exception, as the National Association of Realtors found in a recent survey it conducted with Google.
The Age of the Internet Home Shopper
In short, NAR and Google found that the home shoppers who took action on a major real estate brand site were an altogether younger group:
- In 2011, 31 percent of home shoppers who took action on a real estate site were between the ages of 25 and 34.
- That’s an increase from 24 percent in 2010; interestingly, for home shoppers aged 18-24, the portion declined from 15 percent in 2010 to just 8 percent in 2011.
- But what of the older folks? Home shoppers in the two oldest age brackets, NAR/Google found, increased their online action; both home shoppers in the 45-54 and 55-64 brackets were a more active bunch, with their shares increasing from 18 to 19 percent and 10 to 14 percent, respectively.
- So with so many age groups increasing their share, which age groups decreased? Well, along with the 18-24 group, the 35-44 age bracket saw their share fall, from 27 percent in 2010 to 21 percent in 2011.
An Age-Centric Marketing Strategy?
So, what does this data mean for agents? Should real estate agents target their marketing efforts to homebuyers aged 25 to 34, considering that they make up such a large portion of Internet home shoppers. Well, not necessarily.
By all means, be an active, Internet-savvy agent, but ask yourself one question before you redirect your marketing efforts to that 25-34 age group – what kind of homes am I actually selling? You could have the most clever marketing approach since Tickle Me Elmo, but if you’re selling real estate that is not typical for that age bracket (a more rural property, for instance, or a more expensive luxury residence), all that work could go to waste.
Dianne Moore, the managing broker of United Real Estate in Houston, said that though the 25-34 age bracket is active, an “equal or even larger percentile” of Internet home shoppers are older than 34, but regardless of age, a number of core tenets should be followed when dealing with home shopper on the Web.
“My experience over the years in being successful in working with Internet customers and clients is, and has always been, speed and healthy content,” Moore said. “The fastest usually wins, and the one supplying the most relevant information the fastest always wins in receiving responses that ultimately result in closings.”