Buying a home is not the same thing now as it was when your parents did it, and it’s certainly a far cry from what your grandparents did. Everything from buyer demographics to home shopping has changed. Today, first-time homebuyers are both younger and older than they were. Millennials make up the largest portion of first-time buyers, but older buyers are getting older, with the median age of buyers has shifted from 33 to 44 years old. And these changes have only accelerated in the last few years. To keep up, as a buyer, you need to know how the home buying landscape has altered. So take a look at these 4 important ways of buying a home in has changed over the past 5 years.
1. Digital Revolution
To put it bluntly, the Internet has forever changed the real estate industry and buying a home in , a change that daily moves faster. Here are some of the major changes:
Until fairly recently, even digital listings were updated on a limited basis, maybe once a day at most, which meant that buyers and their agents often wasted time chasing after unavailable homes. But “today’s online MLS database supplies nearly instantaneous updates, meaning agents and buyers don’t waste time.” In addition, “thanks to the advent of third-party real estate sites like Zillow Trulia, Realtor.com, and Keller Williams, buyers themselves have easy access to a worldwide inventory of homes.”
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Marketing in real estate has changed dramatically as well. Although traditional marketing still works, social media marketing is by far more important because more effective. It provides a wider reach to a more targeted buyer audience and, as a result, allows buyers to shop more efficiently. (Contact your local agent to discover how to shop via social media. 866-593-7012)
The importance of mobile devices for buying a home in can’t be overstated either. For example, statistics “from the National Association of Realtors have shown that 58% of Millennials and 46% of Generation X found their home on a mobile device.”
2. Price Increases and Stagnant Incomes
Another way of buying a home in has changed over the past 5 years revolves around the ever-increasing home prices. Home prices have been steadily increasing for years, and though those increases have slowed their pace, they still continue. Incomes, though, haven’t kept pace with these price increases. The result is lower homeownership rates over the past 5 years – about 63.7% in 2015, according to Census Bureau statistics. The upshot is that first-time homebuyers find it more difficult to enter into homeownership.
3. Down Payments
Helping to offset that is the fact that down payments are decreasing and low down payment options are becoming more numerous. In the past, the typical down payment was 20% of the sale price. Today, that figure averages closer to 10%. So while home prices are increasing, this hurdle to homeownership has been lowered. But lower down payments also mean higher monthly mortgage payments, which presents a challenge to buying a home in while incomes remain stagnant.
4. More Information for Agents
Another aspect of the Internet revolution that is good news for anyone buying a home in is that both buyers and agents have so much more up-to-date information available at their fingertips. According to market watchers, “the most obvious change is the increased availability of information thanks to the explosion of technology. . . . Now purchasing a home is just a click of a button away. . . . Real estate agents can show buyers 20 homes at a time on the Internet without having to go through the old -fashioned way of paper.”
What Hasn’t Changed
These are indeed some profound changes in the real estate industry. Buyers can begin their home search online, and the buying and selling process has been made vastly more efficient for those who want to use the online possibilities. Still, buying a home in remains much the same as it has always been. In fact, while 82% of buyers in the past used an agent, today the figure has increased to about 87%. One recent study found that buyers work with an agent 88% of the time. The reason? Most buyers said finding the right home was the most difficult part of the whole process.
So although there has been an Internet revolution in real estate, a greater percentage of people than ever work with an agent when buying a home in . A lot of this phenomenon is owing to the simple fact that there are so many options today. A good real estate agent can help you narrow down those options to a manageable level.