Mobile Technology And Real Estate
Mobile technology is becoming more prevalent in our lives providing opportunities to learn at a faster rate and exchange information instantly. Forty seven percent of U.S. residents own a smartphone and in 2011 smartphone sales exceeded PC sales for the first time in history. Considering housing represents 18% of the nation’s economy (5% for housing sales and 13% for housing services) it makes sense for the real estate industry to incorporate mobile technology in its marketing protocol.
As of 2013 the leading website for the real estate market zillow.com announced record numbers of homes viewed on smartphones and mobile devices. With 38% of mobile users having internet on their phone averaging 36 apps per user home buyers are taking advantage of mobile technology to find a home. For example 168 million homes were viewed in July 2012 at a rate of 63 homes per second. Triple the amount of homes viewed for the same month of 2011 at a rate of 21 homes per second. To accommodate the growing trend zillow has increased their available apps from 5 apps in Q2 2011 to 13 apps in Q2 2012. This has contributed to more homes viewed on mobile devices than desktops in 2012.
When home buyers were polled regarding apps for locating properties 98% found mobile devices to be useful in finding a home and 46% believe mobile technology is essential in the home buying process. The ability to view photos and videos on mobile devices makes the process of navigating homes simple and appealing. Buyers report they use mobile devices to request additional home information, find more listings and search for homes in specific areas.
Buyers also respond favorably to mobile apps because it makes finding homebuilders and real estate professionals easier. Sixty eight percent of users contacted a real estate professional after finding them via mobile searches. Mobile users are 3 times more likely to initiate contact with a real estate agent compared to desktop users. Even 85% of individuals who haven’t used mobile devices to search for a home said they would consider using it in the future.
Mobile Device Usage
The annual surge of home buyers using mobile devices to locate properties and real estate professionals is here to stay. The days of finding an agent in a phone book, calling them and asking to show properties is an antiquated process that has lived its course. With the expansion of mobile technology and broadband availability the housing market is experiencing a marketing shift. It is important for real estate professionals and companies to have an appealing and functional mobile-friendly website to remain competitive. As younger buyers enter the housing market, greater distance between traditional marketing and mobile marketing will widen. This group of buyers represent the generation that conducts the majority of their transactions and inquiries on mobile platforms.