When it comes to buying and selling a home, clicking a mouse can be just as important as pressing the flesh.
Ninety-two percent of home buyers search online during their home-buying process and more than half use mobile devices or apps in the home research process, according to the National Association of Realtors.
“With mapping technology and the ability to zone in on a neighborhood and do perimeter searches, it’s much easier to do your searches and identify the area you want to be in,” said Pete Galbraith, president-elect of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors.
Online resources and apps such as realtor.com can help locate potential homes and even local Realtors. Other tools feature amenities in proximity to a house, like Walk Score or Transit Score to understand commuting options.
Apps can assist prospective buyers in deciding how much home they can afford. And when it’s time to move, apps such as Moving List, Moving Planner and HouseLogic can help consumers get organized.
Virtual tours can even replace open houses for those who prefer an online experience, cutting down on open house safety risks and potential theft issues.
Galbraith, president of Coldwell Banker Select, said Coldwell Banker last year invested in Matterport technology, which gives prospective buyers a 360-degree view of a home.
“It’s is like Google Streetside meets The Sims,” he said. “It’s just phenomenal technology. You can actually walk through a home as if you are right there.”
Matterport costs an extra $100 per listing, but the feedback has been tremendous, Galbraith said.
“It’s a total game-changer when it comes to online experience with a house for sale,” he said.
Millennials, people born from 1980 to 2000, account for 68 percent of all first-time homebuyers and are the largest group of overall buyers at 35 percent, according to NAR. But brokers have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to reaching that group, Galbraith said.
“There are a lot of millennials living in the basement still,” he said. “And there’s a small group of them that they are calling the boomerangers that went out on their own for a little bit, maybe lost their job. Now they’ve moved back home.”
“They are kind of the Uber generation. They don’t want to commit to purchasing a home. They don’t want to be tied down.”
The key is education, Galbraith said.
“Especially in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is cheaper to own a home than to rent an apartment,” he said. “Along with that comes the building of wealth and the opportunity to let your asset grow. There are significant tax benefits. You have to educate.”