Realtor.com chief economist Johnathan Smoke loves the HGTV show House Hunters, but as entertaining as it and shows like it can be, it glosses over the reality of the real estate business and what the process of buying a home is really like.
The shows make finding a real estate agent look easy, when really 42% of all buyers and 38% of millennials say they first turn to the internet to look for property listings, according to the 2016 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends. The internet is used throughout the entire process by 89% of buyers and 93% of millennials. After starting their search online, 13% of all buyers and 18% of millennials can actually take up to three weeks to contact an agent.
Once they have an agent, buyers will look at a median number of ten houses before finding one that suits them. On House Hunters, they are only shown looking at three. Smoke writes:
You want reality? Here’s reality: You’d have to be a master of perception to intuit what you and your family truly need after looking at only three homes. And most people today buy a home that they found on the Internet. There will be trade-offs: No two homes are alike, and what is available for sale at any given time is typically a subset of the features most buyers think are important.