Study finds Internet home buyers happiest.

By Daniel Walker Guido

A recent case study by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) finds that home buyers who let their fingers do the walking through the Internet were happier about their home purchase than buyers who did not use the Internet. The survey interviewed 300 Internet home buyers and 300 traditional home buyers and compared the results.

"This only goes to show that Internet users search the Net to find the homes they like and can afford, in the areas in which they want to live, before they ever go out to look at homes," says Chris Albrick, CEO of iBidCo, an online bidding firm that specializes in selling new homes.

The study found that 96 percent of home buyers surveyed who used the Internet to shop for a new home reported they are "completely satisfied" with the process of finding their new home, compared to 44 percent of traditional home buyers who reported they were satisfied. In addition, 87 percent of Internet home buyers were "very satisfied" with the Realtors helping them in selecting a new home, compared to only 35 percent of traditional home buyers.

"The Internet is altering the expectations of consumers," explains CAR president Gary Thomas. "Internet buyers, on the whole, are better informed and have well-defined expectations" of the home buying experience, he says.

The primary difference in the two groups' buying approach is that "traditional buyers spent a nominal amount of time investigating the housing market, while Internet buyers invest a significant amount of time investigating not only the housing market, but even their financing options before they ever even contact a Realtor," explains Leslie Appleton-Young, CAR's chief economist.

In fact, the Internet home shoppers were so satisfied with their home buying experience, 80 percent could not even name one change or improvement they want, compared to 56 percent of the traditional home buyers who mentioned a desired change or improvement in the home buying process, Appleton-Young says.

Internet buyers were also better prepared. The study found they looked at an average of 7.9 homes before they made their purchase, while traditional home buyers looked at about 15.1 homes before making a purchase.