More Home Buyers Turning to Social Media

Social media is playing a bigger role in home-buying decisions, with over three quarters of homebuyers using it during the process of searching for and buying a home, up from 52% in 2011, according to a new survey of homebuyers by the California Association of Realtors. 

Overall 44% of homebuyers said they used social media to get buying tips and suggestions from friends, and the same proportion said they used it to gather information about neighborhoods from their friends and 42% looked for an agent’s Facebook page. Meanwhile 35% used social media to get agent referrals, 33% to gather information on a neighborhood’s “lifestyle,” and 31% researched neighborhood amenities. A somewhat smaller proportion, 20%, looked for an agent’s YouTube page.

In terms of devices, 91% said they used a mobile device to access the Internet during their home purchase, with 78% checking comparable home prices, 45% looking for homes, and 43% taking photos of neighborhoods, homes, and amenities. Among buyers who used a real estate agent, 65% said they found their agent online, up from 38% in 2003.

Renters are also turning to social media in their search for housing, and online reviews are actually playing a bigger role than referrals from friends and family, according to a separate survey of around 30,000 renters from Kingsley Associates. 

The Kingsley study found that 70% of prospective renters researched community ratings and reviews before settling on an apartment, and 11.4% cited these as the most important source of information during the apartment search process, compared to 9.5% who cited friends and family.

Renters deemed anonymous reviews less trustworthy, with 53.1% of respondents saying they were either less likely or much less likely to trust an anonymous review over a certified review. 39.6% said they would trust them the same and a mere 7% said they were more likely or much more likely to trust anonymous reviews. However they trust their own ability to identify fake reviews, with 69.5% saying that it is easy, moderately easy or very easy to spot a fake review.

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