Real Estate Agent vs. Internet

real estate

Is the Internet replacing a real estate agent?

It should come as no surprise that NAR didn't track buyer and seller data on Internet usage in 1981. With the World Wide Web not gaining mass popularity until the 1990's and realtor.com introduced in 1995, the ability to view listings online and then contact a Realtor was non-existent.

When NAR first began asking questions about the Internet 21 years ago, only 2 percent of buyers used the Internet during their home search. By 2005, usage soared to over three-quarters of buyers; since 2012, 90 percent or more have gone online during the house hunt.

Despite the Internet's ascending popularity over the past 20 years, however, buyers and sellers continue to seek a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. In NAR's 2015 survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home, and for-sale-by-owner transactions fell to its lowest share ever (8 percent). After peaking at 14 percent in 2003 and 2004, for-sale-by-owner sales haven't risen above 9 percent since 2011 (10 percent).

"Realtors are the source of online real estate data, and they continue to use their real insights and local market knowledge to help bring buyers and sellers together," says Salomone. "The preference to use a Realtor has never been stronger."

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