Technology touches our lives daily and in endless ways. Whether it makes our lives easier, improves our productivity, or opens new opportunities and communication, technology has become a staple in our daily lives, and it is no different in the world of real estate.

When the National Homebuying Survey was conducted in 1981, the most important rated information source in the home search, after agents, was newspaper ads. In 2020, 97% of homebuyers used the internet in their home search. With social distancing and health guidelines coming from the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has played an even larger role in the buying and selling of homes.

In this report, we take a look at how technology is used in the home search, by real estate firms, and by REALTOR® members, and how social media and other trends are shaping real estate moving forward.

Key Findings

Tech Use During Home Search

  • While the expertise of REALTORS® remains vital to the home buying and selling process, the internet serves as a tool for all generations of home buyers; 97% of all homebuyers used the internet in their home search
  • 76% of homebuyers used a mobile or tablet search device in their home search; Millennials used mobile devices nearly twice as often as the Silent Generation
  • Younger Millennials conducted 65% of their mobile search on mobile devices, while Older Boomers conducted 75% on a desktop/laptop
  • Buyers typically searched for eight weeks, viewing nine homes, five of which were viewed solely online
  • All generations except the Silent Generation were most likely to have first found the home they ultimately purchased online; the Silent Generation were most likely to find their home first from their real estate agent
Stacked bar graph: Frequency of use of information sources

Real Estate Firm Technology Use

  • The most common feature on firm websites is property listings, followed by agent/staff profiles, and customer reviews
  • The software tools most often provided or encouraged by firms are e-signature (83%), comparative market analysis (82%), electronic contracts/forms (80%), and multiple listing (79%)
  • While inventory and affordability have come front stage this past year, keeping up with technology is seen as a challenge to 41% of firms
Table: Firms' encouragement of use of software

REALTOR® Technology Use

  • 96% of REALTORS® use a smartphone with wireless email and internet capabilities on a daily basis
  • 95% of REALTORS® use e-mail daily, and 57% use social media apps daily
  • 69% of members have a website, and their sites are typically five years old
  • When communicating with clients, REALTORS® most often prefer text messaging (93%), followed by telephone (90%), and e- mail (89%)
Bar graph: Tech products used daily by REALTORS®

Social Media & Tech Trends

  • The top three tech tools that provide REALTORS® with quality leads are social media (52%), Customer Relationship Management (31%), and MLS sites (28%)
  • Looking ahead, REALTORS® believe they will use eSignature the most in the next 12 months (73%), followed by social media (53%), and local MLS apps & technology (47%)
  • 90% of REALTORS® use Facebook, followed by 52% on Instagram, and 48% on LinkedIn
  • The most desired tech tool not currently offered by members’ brokerages is cyber security, followed by lead generation, and eNotary
Bar graph: Top lead-generating tech tools

Download the full report


Related Content

REALTOR® Technology Survey

January 3, 2024
The top tech tools that have produced the highest number of quality leads in the last 12 months were social media, CRM, and local MLS.

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