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Whether you’re browsing for homes out of interest or in the market for one today, chances are, you’ve logged on to look for a property. Most of us are enlisting help, however, to locate “the one,” according to findings by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Despite 44 percent of homebuyers searching on the web, 87 percent—close to double—bought with the help of a REALTOR®, according to NAR’s Real Estate in a Digital Age report, which explores the intersection between REALTORS® and technology and the consumers they serve.

“Consumers have the ability to do more home-buying research online than ever before,” says John Smaby, 2019 NAR president. “Still, REALTORS® present tremendous value to buyers from every generation and every background. While consumers have more technological tools at their fingertips, REALTORS® continue to be a large part of the home-buying and -selling equation.”

Ninety percent of millennials, notably, relied on a REALTOR® in their transaction. Buyers cited “finding the right property” as the most challenging part of the process—in fact, the average buyer was on the house hunt for 10 weeks.

Boomers are more likely than millennials to search on their smartphone or tablet, the report shows, and more likely to value virtual tours. By comparison, Gen Y is focused on images and information when looking to purchase.

Given that the internet is so pivotal in property search—and, that consumers are demanding immediate response—REALTORS® are relying on technology, as well, according to the report. Close to 50 percent of brokerages are challenged by “keeping up with technology,” and believe they will continue to be challenged by it in the next two years. (According to RISMedia’s 2018 Power Broker Report, brokers are heavily investing their resources in technology.)

For client communications, the most common are emailing and texting (favored by 93 percent and 92 percent of REALTORS®, respectively). Lockboxes, the MLS and social media are also top tools, the report shows. Facebook is the most commonly leveraged platform, with 97 percent of REALTORS® using it, followed by LinkedIn at 59 percent and Instagram at 39 percent. When it comes to generating leads, REALTORS® are getting the highest-quality prospects from social media (47 percent), as well as business from their brokerage, MLS and online portals.

Drones, which have the ability to capture midair photography and video, are flown personally by 5 percent of REALTORS®; 23 percent hire a professional.

“REALTORS® continue to find ways to make home-buying and -selling more efficient and accessible for their clients,” Smaby says. “As technology use continues to transform and modernize the real estate industry, REALTORS® are focused on adapting to and remaining at the forefront of this change.”

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Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark