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Cover of the Real Estate in a Digital Age report

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. Some of the report's findings include:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.


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