Viewing online home listings when you’re supposed to be working? You’re not alone

online home listingby Dan Rafter

If you’ve been around long enough, you remember a time when home buyers scoured real estate listings in thick magazines published each month or in the classifieds sections of their local newspapers. Buyers can still do this, of course, but it feels pretty old-fashioned.

Today, most consumers browse for homes through online listings. It’s safe to say that the Internet — which has changed so much of the way we lead our lives — has completely disrupted the home-selling industry, in a way that’s made consumers more powerful and informed.

A new survey by Discover Home Loans illustrates just how much of an impact technology has had on residential real estate. According to the survey, 89 percent of home buyers use some form of technology to help them through the process of finding and buying homes. The survey found, too, that 76 percent of buyers felt smarter thanks to this technology, while 69 percent added that it made them more confident in the home-buying process.

That’s the good. There’s a flip side to all this, too. Browsing online home listings has become a bit of an addiction for many people, even those who aren’t even ready to buy a new home. According to the Discover survey, two-thirds of buyers say that looking at online home listings has reached the point of becoming addictive.

And many of these home-listing addicts are scanning Realtor.com and other sites during their work hours. A total of 78 percent of survey respondents admitted that they spent time at work looking at online home listings.

Don’t expect this to stop anytime soon. Most home shoppers report that technology has been a help to them as they search for a new place to live. The Discover survey found that 47 percent of home buyers reported that using technology saved them money. A total of 92 percent said that technology saved them time.

With numbers like that, don’t be surprised if you catch your co-workers glued to Realtor.com later today, it is Friday, after all.

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