You have all seen numerous surveys on REALTORS® usage and expenditure on technology tools for improving their business. We got curious last month and decided to ask some more controversial questions on the topic to confirm or debunk some commonly held beliefs about technology usage in this vital industry.
We surveyed 542 REALTORS®, gathering basic demographic information and asking about their use of technology. Some revealing answers are below…
We suppose we had better define “it” a little better. The conventional wisdom suggests that men use more of their left–brain, and that women are more prone to be right–brained. A left–brained person is predisposed to be more analytical, logical, and objective — skills that also happen to correlate with the use of technology. This leads to the common assumption that men are more adept at technology usage and are quicker to adopt new technologies than women. With 57% of REALTORS® being women1, the disparity between gender and technology usage could pose a hurdle to the advancement of technology in the real estate industry.
Well, our survey debunks this theory, at least in the real estate industry. When asked to rate themselves on “tech–savviness”, most agents labeled themselves somewhere between average (updates his or her website, handles email, etc.) and above average (pretty experienced and uses a lot of technology in his or her business). These are seen as ratings of 3 and 4, respectively, on the left graph below. As you can see in the graph, the difference between men and women is minimal, with a difference of only .12 points.
Similarly, when asked to rank his or her approach to adopting new technology, there is little difference between men and women. Both genders claim to be about average, meaning they hear about new technology at the same time as most people. Respondents also claimed to be willing to try new technology as soon as they hear about it (a rating of 4 on the right graph below) rather than waiting to see what other people say (a rating of 3).
The generally accepted wisdom is that the older you are the more likely you are to be a Luddite. It’s widely believed that older individuals find technology hard to use, and are more resistant to incorporating it into their lives and businesses.
Our survey shows that there is some truth to this assertion in the real estate industry. As seen in the chart below, tech-savviness and adoption of new technology do decline steadily as the age of REALTORS® increases. Not surprisingly, younger agents (in the 20–29 age group) are the most facile with technology and are very willing to adopt new products and services.
We all know that you have to invest some money to make even more money, but that indiscriminate spending will never get you the return you want. If we assume that our REALTORS® respondents are rational and spending technology marketing dollars wisely, then our survey shows that investing more in technology and online marketing can and does make you more successful.
In terms of number of transactions, it is clear that higher monthly spend on online marketing tools such as websites, IDX, email marketing, paid search advertising, etc. has a positive impact on the number of transactions an agent completes in a year. The average agent who spent $0 monthly on online marketing completed 6.7 transactions. By upping marketing spend to $51–$100 a month, those agents could increase their number of closed transactions to 10.7. That’s a 60% increase!
In terms of total dollar value of transactions, it is also clear that a greater investment in online marketing tools yields a higher total transaction value, or in other words, higher income. For example, the average agent spending $0 on online marketing tools completed $1.03 million in transactions last year. As mentioned above, if that agent spent $51–$100 a month on marketing tools, she could increase her number of transactions by 60% and her dollar amount of closed business would DOUBLE to over $2 million. In other words, by investing $600–$1,200 a year, the agent could earn at least $20,500 more (assuming a 2% commission).
Forgive our curiosity, but when we saw the effect that online marketing tools have on transaction numbers and values, we wanted to know how the numbers above compare with the same statistics for our own iHOUSE customers. So do our iHOUSE customers outshine the competition in a head–to–head comparison
Well, we don’t want to tout our own horn, but the simple answer is YES.
A direct comparison of iHOUSE REALTORS® versus non-iHOUSE agents shows that iHOUSE customers outperform their counterparts in both number of closed transactions and the total value of those transactions. This is true across the board, whether the agents in question spend $50 a month on online marketing tools or $1,000. At any given marketing budget, iHOUSE agents do it better. On average, iHOUSE customers completed 31% more transactions and 45% more in total value of closed transactions.
iHOUSE Web Solutions has been providing REALTORS® with innovative online marketing tools for over a decade. Through continued development of state–of–the–art technology for real estate professionals, iHOUSE Web Solutions now has a user base of 30,000 agents and a network of over 400 MLS’s nationwide.
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Robert Warner started with iHOUSEWeb back in 2009 in the Customer Service Department helping over 10,000 clients with all of their Real Estate Website questions. After launching the YouTube training videos for iHOUSEWeb he moved up to the marketing department where he helps design and write marketing materials as well as managing the Social Media side of iHOUSEWeb.