Friday, May 12, 2006

Realtors using more technology: Nar Survey

Well, the good new is as an industry we are adapting. According to this most recent survey from NAR the number of people using technology in their business has drastically increased, but in my opinion, still pretty low.

NAR Technology Survey Reveals Heavy Tech Investment By Realtors®
CHICAGO (May 11, 2006) – The number of Realtors® with Web sites has increased 129 percent over the past five years, and many of the sites display property listings, according to a new survey by the National Association of Realtors®.

The 2006 Realtor® Technology Survey, conducted by NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology, reveals that the Internet ranks third in generating leads, behind referrals and repeat clients, and ahead of community involvement. The survey also shows that there is a clear connection between technology spending and Internet-generated leads, and that getting leads from the Internet continues to grow.

Realtors® have invested heavily in Internet technology and security, through Multiple Listing Systems and individually, in the past several years. For example, the survey showed that thus far in 2006, 56 percent of agents spent more than $1,000 apiece on technology and that 30 percent spent $2,000 or more. In addition, 16 percent of agents and 28 percent of brokers are now spending more than $1,000 annually on their Web sites. Realtors® with personal business Web sites – not including an area on a broker’s site – was 71 percent in 2006, compared to 31 percent in 2002, showing a jump of 129 percent.

“Consumers are able to use information portals to look for homes to buy because Realtors® have invested huge amounts of resources in technology to make accurate information available on secure sites, thus bringing added value to the transaction. All this information is available to consumers, free of charge, 24 hours a day,” said Thomas M. Stevens, 2006 NAR president and senior vice president of NRT Inc., from Vienna, Va.

The survey also showed that the amount of investment in Web sites has a direct relationship to the number of leads coming from the Internet. Thus, 40 percent of those who spent more than $5,000 on their Web site showed that more than 60 percent of their leads come from the Internet.

Realtors® are also reacting more quickly to online inquiries. In a surprising change from past surveys and findings, over half the survey respondents indicated that it takes them less than two hours to respond to an Internet inquiry, and only 2 percent indicated that it took them more than a day to respond. That compares with a 2004 survey showing that only 27 percent of practitioners responded within eight hours to an online inquiry and 46 percent of inquiries received no responses.

“While the survey indicates that the vast majority of Realtors® take steps to protect themselves and the listing information provided by their clients and customers, more work remains to be done,” said Mark Lesswing, NAR vice president and director of CRT. “Less than a third of respondents have received information security education from their MLS or brokerage. Only one-third are aware of written security policies that they must follow and less than half have a written privacy policy. Programs like CRT’s REALTOR® Secure can definitely play a role here.”

The survey shows that use of automated transaction management systems, used to electronically monitor each step of the real estate process, continues to rise, moving from 13 percent in 2005 to 26 percent in 2006, with 70 percent of users saying they are satisfied with their applications.

The survey was based on data from field research conducted in April of this year. CRT e-mailed the survey to 20,000 NAR members, including agents and brokers and generated 719 usable responses. The 2006 study is available at http://www.realtor.org/crtweb.nsf/pages/CRTsurvey?OpenDocument.

NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology was established to provide technology leadership, guidance and assistance for NAR members; CRT makes available informed industry insight, research and open-source applications through its mission of implementation, advocacy and information. Information about CRT is available at http://www.realtor.org/crt.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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