By Marianne Guenther Bornhoft
A new study just released from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism indicate that half of American adults have mobile Internet access via a tablet or smartphone. This is a major shift on how we as REALTORS® might want to review how we price our listings. Now more than ever, it is important to identify how potential buyers are using new technology to find their dream home.
At the center of this growth phenomenon is the tablet computer. The report states that nearly a quarter of U.S. adults — 22 percent — now own a tablet device-double the number from a year earlier. Another 3 percent of adults regularly use a tablet owned by someone else in their home. And nearly a quarter of those who don’t have a tablet, 23 percent, plan to get one in the next six months. In addition, 44 percent of U.S. adults have smartphones, which, according to the survey, is up from 35 percent from May 2011.
Most buyers start their home search by looking at listings online, or most often, on a real estate app specifically designed for a smart phone or tablet. This search tool allows the person to search for very detailed criteria. For example, the app will prompt the buyer to select the price grid they desire. For example, on the REALTOR.com® app, a typical price starts from a no minimum amount up to $300,000 with a $25,000 price spread between the two different price brackets. Most apps follow this rule. Some are only $25,000 between the price brackets and some real estate apps use a $50,000 price spread.
So let’s say you’re a seller and you would normally price your house at $224,999, now with the specific price brackets in mind, you might want to price it at $225,000 exactly. That way it will show up in both searches. Specifically, the search criteria a buyer might pick has house prices that go up to $225,000 or some would rather start from the $225,000 price bracket and search higher.
Remember, the real estate app only gives you exactly what you ask it to produce. So a seller might actually be losing a buyer who could afford a higher price home by pricing it out of targeted range. It would have been better if they would have priced it precisely the amount of one of the specific price brackets on the desired real estate app.
Rethinking how we expose the listings to the public is crucial as technology becomes more advanced and different ways to search for a house develop. We must learn to adapt to this change or be left behind.
Marianne Guenther Bornhoft is a broker at Windermere Manito in Spokane, Wash. Connect with her at www.SpokaneHouse.com , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marianneguentherbornhoft or on Twitter @spokanehouse or www.linkedin.com/in/marianneguentherbornhoft.