House hunters prefer internet to agents

Most Australians are turning to the internet in search of a new home, according to research by Slater and Gordon’s Conveyancing Works.

Of 2,000 people surveyed, 58.5 per cent said they would use real estate websites if they were hunting for a house.

Just 11.0 per cent of respondents said they would contact a real estate agent directly, while 7.9 per cent would look in an agent’s windows and 7.6 per cent would search their local newspaper.

Only 5.5 per cent said they would drive around the streets looking for homes with ‘For Sale’ signs, while 2.0 per cent said they would use social media.

Robert Kern, a lawyer for Slater and Gordon’s Conveyancing Works, said he was not surprised by the survey results.

“House hunting can be time consuming and a lot of us don’t have much spare time. By getting a sense online of what’s out there, people can narrow the field and decide what they want to see and where,” he said.

“It’s also the convenience of being able to search when you want to, such as during a short break, on public transport or outside of business hours.”

What was interesting about the results is that the online trend was not just confined to Generation Y, according to Mr Kern.

In all age brackets more than 50 per cent of respondents said they would search online first. Those between 35 and 44 years of age are the most likely – at 68.8 per cent – while 53.7 per cent of people over 55 years said they would most likely use the web first.

“Buying a house is a big commitment, so it makes sense that people want all the information they can get – and where better than a site that is a one-stop shop?” Mr Kern said.

“The research certainly suggests that any decision by companies to invest in and expand their online [offering] is the right one.”

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