The First Step In The Home Buying Process

Excerpt From: Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2010

By: National Association of Realtors® /Research Division

When starting the home buying process, the Internet plays an ever increasing role. Thirty-six percent of buyers looked online for properties for sale as their first step. An additional 11 percent began by finding information online about the home buying process and 19 percent started by talking to an agent.

About one-third of first-time buyers first went online to look at properties for sale when starting their home search. First-time buyers were more likely than repeat buyers to look online for information about the home buying process and talk with a friend or relative about the process. Repeat buyers were more likely than first-time buyers to contact a real estate agent and drive by homes and neighborhoods as a first step. 

Buyers in each age group between 18 to 64 were all most likely to look online for properties for sale as a first step in the home buying process. Buyers who were 65 or older were most likely to contact a real estate agent as their first step. In 2010, the percent of buyers ages 18 to 44 that contacted a real estate agent as their first step agent increased from 2009.

Exhibit 3-1   First step taken during the home buying process, first-time and repeat buyers (percentage distribution).

Exhibit 3-2   First step taken during the home buying process, by age (percentage distribution).

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