The way potential buyers search for homes has changed over the past few years as we come to rely on our mobile devices for more of our Internet needs. While the Home Buyers and Seller reports from the National Association of REALTORS® has revealed a growing trend in the past two or three years of buyers using their smartphones and tablets to search listings, recent studies from Google seem to drive the point home. While NAR surveys buyers and asks if they’ve used their mobile devices in their searches, Google has been able to add a new layer to this research by analyzing key search terms.
Buyers Are Taking Their Home Searches Mobile
Many of us are attached to our smartphones and tablets, and potential buyers are no different. In June 2014, mobile phones made up 27% of total searches related to home buying. This figure is up 19% from last year. Not only do buyers use their mobile devices to search for listings online, they also use it to get directions to a home, search for more information about a listing, call or email the agent directly and to watch a video while looking for a home.
Millennials Lead the Way
It comes as no surprise that Millennials lead the way in searching for information with their mobile devices. In fact, they’re more than twice as likely as the average person to search for real estate information on their mobile devices.
Timing Is Everything
While it may appear as though mobile devices are glued to our hands, buyers are not always online looking at homes. Searching peaks on smartphones at 6pm, and peaks on tablets at around 11pm.
Similarly, online home searches pick up over the weekend that people are more likely to be out looking at homes and attending open houses.
Real Estate Isn’t All They’re Searching For
Although buyers are searching for listings online, they’re also learning more about their financing options. One-quarter of Google searches for mortgages were made on mobile devices, with “mortgage calculator” being the most popular search term.
Searching For Their Dream Mobile Home on Their Mobile Phone?
The economist E.F. Schumacher once said “Small is beautiful,” and according to the latest search results about what buyers are searching for, buyers seem to be taking this sentiment to heart. According to Google’s data, there’s been a shift from searching for large, sprawling estates to searching for smaller properties. In fact, the original small homes—mobile homes—have seen a rise in searches since 2011.
Whether these buyers are retirees who are interested in downsizing or younger buyers who don’t want to be latched to a big house with an even bigger mortgage, more people are interested in mobile homes. Mobile homes are becoming more upscale and customizable, and are attracting wealthier buyers who are looking to customize the spaces with hardwood floors, granite countertops and high-end appliances.