NAR: Use of Internet for Home Search by Buyers Hits All-Time High at 92%

According to an Inman News article posted on November 4th,2013, “Use of the Internet among consumers in the homebuying process continues to grow, but those buyers are more, not less, likely to use a real estate agent, according to an annual survey from the National Association of Realtors.”  NAR’s study, which  was based on 8767 people who purchased a home between June



Picture 3 2012 and June 2013 , reported that  92% of the buyers used the Internet to search for homes, up from 90% last year  and 71% in 2003.  The report also indicated that 88% of the buyers used an agent.  Interestingly, 42% said searching online was their first step in the buying process, while 17% said their first step was contacting an agent.  In summary, buyers are using the Internet to search and agents to help with the purchase transaction.  As various local markets lead the recovery in the real estate industry, realtors need to match the consumers’ requirements for technology and services.  Consumers understand that purchasing a home is a complex transaction, one  that requires expertise to protect against the risk of mistakes and to guide the process to a smooth and successful completion.  Most homebuyers are tech-savvy enough to use property search applications  to find potential homes to buy.  Successful  realtors  include both requirements in their marketing strategies, and they provide home search (IDX) programs on their websites, so  prospective homebuyers can search MLS listings and generate buyer transaction leads directly to the realtor. Successful realtors also  provide a full set of services for buyers, both to achieve client satisfaction with the purchase, but also to generate future business (81% of the sellers used a full-services broker, and 63% chose the broker via a referral).   Agents who used to think that representing buyers consisted of finding and showing them listings from the MLS  now understand that they can rely on a good IDX system for some of the finding process, and they focus instead on responding to leads generated by the IDX, showing homes, and  managing the purchase process for the buyer.

Blazing Systems helps hundreds of Delaware Valley realtors with marketing strategies, websites,  and an industry-leading

IDX home search.  Please contact us to arrange a free initial consultation.

     Bill Patch








Marketing in Tough Times

“I could chop down more trees in a day, if my ax was sharper, “said the logger, “But I can’t take the time to sharpen my ax because I’m so far behind  my daily quota for trees.” Many small businesses are falling for this twisted logic when it comes to making investments in marketing in today’s tough environment.The result is easily-predictable—-Less marketing leads to fewer sales and less revenue, which just makes matters worse, and things continue to  spiral down.

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In the real estate industry, for example, where buyers are increasingly using the Internet to shop for homes, Realtors who have learned how to tap into that stream of potential clients are benefiting.  They are creating interesting, attractive websites that give potential buyers the information they seek and need.  This translates to leads and revenue.  A great example of an attractive, interesting realtor site is, which features a great blog and the Blazing Systems IDX search of available properties, presented in a user-friendly map format showing the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

Check it out–Even if you’re not in the market for Philly property, you’ll find it interesting, and you’ll probably learn  something along the way.








Housing Headlines

Within the last two weeks we’ve heard from a variety of sources on the ongoing real estate/housing market saga.  The Federal Reserve, Harvard University, and Long & Foster, the largest privately-owned real estate company in the U.S., all weighed in on the current state of the market.

The Federal Reserve Beige Book, June 8th, for the Philadelphia District, says:

“Looking ahead, residential real estate agents expect sales for this year as a whole to be level with last year. An agent who remarked that “we are off the bottom, but it’s going to be a slow comeback” expressed a common opinion.”

On June 10th, the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies released their annual “State of the Nation’s Housing 2011” report.  The headings in the executive summary tell the story:  “The Rocky Road To Recovery,” “Uncertainty in the Homeowner Market,” “Rental Rebound,” and “Affordability Problems Creeping Up the Income Scale.”

The Harvard studies includes lots of demographics–all of which are negative indicators for the homeowner market, which has declined 2% in the last seven years.  Immigration is lower, family formation is lower, utility costs are eliminating some potential home buyers, income is lagging.  Cheerful stuff.

And then there’s the news from Long & Foster.  The Philadelphia Region, headed by Vice President Art Herling, a Blazing Systems client, reported a 12% increase in unit sales in May compared to last year.

“Quite a few of our offices have experienced not only an increase in units this May, but also their sales volume jumped as compared to May 2010.” Herling went on to cite rises in prices in April and May, as a positive sign of recovery.

“Since the year 2000, the median price of a home in the Philadelphia metropolitan area has risen 70%, and has dropped only 7% from the peak year of 2007,” added Art.

Long & Foster attributed some of their success to the use of technology.  (Long & Foster news release, 06/10/11).  Art Herling’s website,, designed, developed, and hosted by Blazing Systems, features the company’s leading map search IDX system for lead generation, and a quick search and rotating featured properties on the Home Page.

****What can we learn from all this?

Effective use of technology can provide competitive advantage, even in the most extreme of market conditions.


REALTOR Lead Generation

About 90% of the prospective home buyers are searching for homes on the Internet.  Looking for homes is by far the leading reason why buyers go to realtor websites.  To capture share in this competitive market requires a simple two-step approach.

STEP #1:  Provide an easy-to-use IDX search of the homes available in the local MLS.  This satisfies the vistor’s need to look for available properties, and it captures the lead for the website.  The website realtor is able to get leads on all the properties in the MLS, not just their own listings.

STEP #2:  Drive traffic to the site.  A common error is to build a site, and then wait for the world to beat a path to your door.  About 50% of the traffic to your site will come through direct channels.  Individuals will type in your URL to go to your site.  The other half will find you through search engines.  You can achieve long-term results with Organic SEO programs and immediate results with PPC (Pay Per Click) Commodity SEO programs.