Most home buyers begin their search for a new home on the Internet and then contact a REALTOR® to assist them, according to the 2011 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Homebuyers use a wide variety of resources to search for a home: 88 percent use the Internet, 87 percent work with a real estate agent, 55 percent follow up on yard signs, 45 percent attend open houses and 30 percent browse newspaper ads.
Four out of 10 homebuyers say they first learned about the home they eventually bought from the Internet while 35 percent learned about it from a real estate agent, 11 percent from a yard sign or open house, and 6 percent from a friend or family member.
Neighborhood quality is the most important factor in choosing where to live, cited by 67 percent of buyers followed by the neighborhood’s proximity to jobs (49 percent), overall affordability (45 percent), and convenience to family and friends (39 percent). Neighborhood design, convenience to shopping, schools, and area amenities and entertainment are also important, while commuting costs continue to factor into buyers’ choice of location, according to the survey.
Despite the difficulties in the housing market in recent years, most buyers still believe in the long-term value of homeownership. Nearly eight out of 10 homebuyers say their home is a good investment, and 45 percent believe it’s a better value than owning stocks.