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Discover Home Loans Poll: Large Majority Of Homebuyers Believe They Are Better Buyers Because Of Technology

November 17, 2014

Most Buyers Report Using Technology Made Them More Confident In the Process

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 17, 2014-- Consumers use technology to do just about everything, including looking for and buying a home. A recent independent poll commissioned by Discover Home Loans shows 89 percent of homebuyers use some form of online technology to help them with the homebuying process. In fact, 76 percent of buyers feel technology made them a smarter homebuyer and 69 percent said it made them more confident.

A Better Buyer

Buyers who use technology during the homebuying process feel smarter, more confident and more satisfied.

  • Almost half of all homebuyers, 47 percent, report that using technology helped them save money.
  • As many as 92 percent say technology helped save time.
  • A significant amount of buyers (90 percent) report an overall positive experience.

Technology Use Addictive

While it’s no surprise nine out of ten buyers, 89 percent, use online resources during the homebuying process, two-thirds say looking at online property listings has reached the point of becoming addictive.

  • The top three ways people use online resources in the homebuying process are:
    • Eighty-three percent look at real estate listings.
    • Seventy-two percent use online maps to explore neighborhoods.
    • Seventy-one percent use email, apps or websites to submit documents to lenders.
  • Among those who looked at online listings, 78 percent say they spent time at work looking at properties.
  • Nearly all, 93 percent, of technology users say technology allowed them to do things remotely they otherwise would have had to do in person.

“Buyers are clearly looking to play a larger role in the homebuying process and turning to the latest technologies to find the information they need,” said TJ Freeborn, senior manager of customer experience at Discover Home Loans. “Technology is a great resource for buyers because it gives them access to online property listings, allows them to preview homes and find reviews on real estate agents and mortgage lenders. It’s truly changing the homebuying process, and the result is a more confident, informed buyer.”

Technology’s Impact on Real Estate Agents

While the real estate agent’s role remains critical, technology has become more important to buyers, and more integrated in the work of both real estate agents and buyers in the homebuying process. Understanding the more informed and confident homebuyer is essential for an effective real estate agent-buyer relationship.

  • The real estate agent’s role is still critical, as 83 percent of respondents reported working with real estate agents to buy their homes.
  • Seventy-four percent of homebuyers feel it’s important for their real estate agents to be tech savvy, with most, 82 percent, saying their agent was tech savvy.
  • In communicating with agents though, nearly all, 98 percent, communicate through phone calls.
  • Of buyers working with agents, 42 percent feel that they did most of the work to initially find properties.

The national survey of 1,003 recent homebuyers was commissioned by Discover Home Loans and conducted by Versta Research, an independent survey research firm (http://www.verstaresearch.com), September 5 to September 17, 2014. The sample was carefully balanced and weighted using AHS (American Housing Survey) and NAR (National Association of Realtors) data to ensure an accurate representation of homebuyers by region, age, marital status, and first-time vs. repeat homebuyer status.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers home loans, private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.

1. When you were looking for a home to buy, did you:

 

 

 

Yes

 

No

a.   Collect ideas using social media? (e.g., Pinterest)   25%   75%
b.   Explore a neighborhood using online maps or map apps? (e.g., Google Maps)   72%   28%
c.   Get opinions about homes from friends or family on social media? (e.g., Facebook)   29%   71%
d.   Look at listings on real estate websites or apps? (e.g., Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com)   83%   17%

e.

Research a neighborhood using local websites? (e.g., local chamber of commerce, local government websites)

55%

45%

 

2. When you were getting a mortgage or home loan, did you:

 

  Yes   No
a. Fill out an online application for a mortgage or home loan?     54%   46%
b. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage through a lender’s website?     47%   53%
c. Read reviews of lenders online?     39%   61%

d.

Submit documents to your lender through e-mail, apps or a website?

71%

29%

 

3. And finally, did you:

 

Yes

 

No

a. Read profiles of real estate agents online?   37%   63%
b. Submit documents to a real estate agent through e-mail, apps or a website?   68%   32%
c. Scan in and submit closing documents electronically after signing them at home?   50%   50%
d. Set up an appointment with a home inspector through e-mail, apps or a website?   42%   58%
e. Use a cell phone to take pictures or videos of a home to show family or friends?   67%   33%
f. Visit a website you got from a newspaper, flyer or yard sign? 35% 65%
 

4. During the homebuying process, did you use online calculators to help you figure out:

 

Yes

 

No

a. Whether you were financially ready to buy a home?   52%   48%
b. What kind of home you could afford?   61%   39%
c. What your monthly mortgage payments would be? 70% 30%
 

5. Do you think using technology helped you:

 

Yes

 

No

 

Don’t know

a. Be a more confident homebuyer?   69%   22%   9%
b. Be a smarter homebuyer?   76%   13%   11%
c. Cut back on paperwork?   68%   26%   6%
d. Save money?   47%   35%   17%
e. Save you time?   92%   6%   2%
 

6. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Looking at real estate listings got addictive for me.

Strongly agree – 15%

Agree – 52%

Disagree – 28%

Strongly disagree – 5%

 

7. Did you ever look at real estate listings while you were at work?

____ Often – 24 %

____ A few times – 54%

____ Never – 22%

8. Did technology allow you to do things remotely that would otherwise have to be done in person?

____ Yes – 93%

____ No – 7%

9. Did you work with a real estate agent to find and buy your home?

____ Yes – 83%

____ No – 17%

10. Did you think your real estate agent was tech savvy, or not really?

____ Yes – 82%

____ Not really – 18%

11. Is it important to you for a real estate agent to be tech savvy, or not really?

____ Yes – 74%

____ Not really – 26%

12. How did you communicate with your real estate agent?

 

Yes

 

No

a. In person   95%   5%
b. Postal mail   13%   87%
c. Phone calls   98%   2%
d. Text messages (SMS)   66%   34%
e. E-mail   93%   7%
f. Instant messages or online chat   12%   88%
g. Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) 10% 90%
 

13. Who did most of the work finding properties: you or your real estate agent?

____ You did almost all of it – 19%

____ You did most of it – 22%

____ You did some and they did some – 40%

____ They did most of it – 14%

____ They did almost all of it – 5%

Source: Discover Financial Services

Discover
Susan J. Diaz de Leon, 224-405-5344
Susandiazdeleon@discover.com