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Online Resources Vital to Real Estate Agent Selection

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RISMEDIA, July 9, 2008-Yahoo! Inc., released the results of an in-depth study on how online resources influence home buyers and sellers-specifically when it comes to selecting a real estate agent.

Yahoo! found that online resources played a pivotal role in the selection process and was central in helping consumers identify agents. While friends and family are mostly responsible for recommending agents, the vast majority of home buyers and sellers still rely on the Internet to search for potential agents in their local markets as well as to verify their choices.

However, there is a disconnect between advertising dollars and consumer behavior. Based on Yahoo!’s study, 77% of respondents used an online source for information during their research process compared to 34% for print. But, according to a recent analysis by Borrell Associates, Realtor advertising dollars have yet to catch up to where home buyers are going – the Internet. While this year’s online media spend did in fact double from 2005, capturing 32% of the overall advertising spend, newspapers continue to get more share of dollars with 40%.

According to the Yahoo! study, consumers look to the Web to ensure that the selected agent will best meet their specific needs. Key findings include:

- Home buyers and sellers consider approximately two agents on average before making a final decision

- The Internet impacts consumer trust. Forty percent of respondents credited a site in increasing their trust in the agent

- 74% of people who accessed an agent website got there with the help of a search engine

- The online research process is quick and intense: consumers spent an average of 12 hours online researching agents and 75% selected an agent within one week of starting their search

Online resources provided introduction to new agents as well as promotional deals:

- 45% of respondents used the Internet to learn about agents they didn’t know existed

- 41% discovered special deals and promotions offered from an agent through the Internet

The bottom line: As online resources increasingly become more critical in the decision making process for consumers, local agents should maintain a quality online presence as this indicates to potential clients a thoroughness and a commitment to success. By maximizing their online media investments, local agents can benefit significantly and increase their chances for consideration while earning the trust and confidence of consumers.

The companies spoke to over 500 consumers, both recent and potential home buyers and sellers. Consumers were surveyed over a 2-week period in April 2008. Participants consisted of consumers, 18 years or older who selected a real estate agent, service or home within the past 6 months or intend to select a real estate agent, service or home within the next week..

For more information, visit www.Yahoo.com.

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