Get on the Net to maximise your chance of selling

“This is very clear,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, “from the latest statistics released by the US National Association of Realtors (NAR) following its 2011 survey of more than 80 000 homebuyers.

“The results showed that while prospective homebuyers used multiple sources of information in their search for a property, far and away the most used sources were the Internet (88%) and estate agents (87%).

“What is more, the majority of home seekers (35%) went to the Internet as a first step in the search process, visiting property portals more than individual real estate company websites. Only 21% contacted an estate agent first, while 8% began by driving around their preferred areas looking for home for sale.”

Even more telling, he says, is the fact that 40% of the homebuyers surveyed by the NAR said they had found the home they actually ended up purchasing on the Internet, while 35% said they had found their property through an agent. Thus only 25% found their homes by other means.

“And although such exact statistics are not yet available for SA, we believe the preference for Internet searches is very similar, although print advertising does still have an important role to play here because easy and regular access to the Internet is somewhat less widespread among prospective buyers.”

Meanwhile, a just-released study by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) shows to what extent buyers are still driving the market, despite a lack of access to finance.

Entitled “The Great Recession and Attitudes Towards Homebuying”, the study reveals that almost 80% of US households think that now is a good time to buy property, even though the country is battling high unemployment and slow economic growth, Everitt notes. Home sellers, on the other hand, are very negative about the market, with only 7% believing that this is a good time to sell.  

“The study also shows that the positive sentiment towards home buying is particularly strong among young, well-educated households and attributable mostly to low home prices and low home loan interest rates. And once again, we believe we have a very similar situation in SA, with lots of demand evident and a significant increase in sales only being curtailed at the moment by the difficulties many prospective buyers are experiencing in obtaining home loans.

“This suggests that sales will spike as soon as SA consumers have completed the process of cleaning up their credit records and cutting their debt loads, which many have already been doing diligently for the past few years.”

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