Erika Goyzueta recently searched, toured and purchased a two-bedroom cottage — all via her iPhone.
Goyzueta and her husband, Jason Velez, of Irvington, N.Y., had been searching for a vacation home on Cape Cod for four months. When their real estate agent, Maureen Green, found a cottage listed for $199,000 in November, Goyzueta didn’t want to wait to see the property in person. Instead, she took a video tour led by Green the next day.
“I was a little on the fence and wondered if I’d really see all the little minute details,” says Goyzueta, a 35-year-old film and television freelancer and mother of three. “But I loved the property. I loved the location. I was shocked that after the tour, I was ready to make an offer.”
She made an offer that day.
Goyzueta is part of a growing force of homebuyers who use a mobile device, such as a smartphone, as a primary information-gathering tool. More than half of all page views of listings nationwide now occur through a mobile device, as opposed to a desktop computer, according to an analysis by realtor.com (realtor.com is an MSN Real Estate partner). Of mobile searches, more than twice as many listings are viewed via iPad and iPhone than via Android devices. Searches with iPhones are nearly three times as high as Android searches.
Realtor.com examined listing page views by desktop and mobile device in the most-expensive and least-expensive markets in the second quarter of 2013 as compared with the same period in 2012.
Overall, high-price homes — those listed for $1 million and up — made up a small proportion of total mobile usage: less than 6 percent of total mobile searches. But in high-price markets, iPad and iPhone searches are significantly more common than Android searches compared with lower-priced markets, according to realtor.com. Mobile searches overtook desktop searches in four of the most expensive markets by median price: Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.; Bergen-Passaic, N.J.; Orange County, Calif.; and Oakland, Calif.
“These are the markets where you’re seeing the highest real estate recovery and homes are selling very quickly,” says Errol Samuelson, president of realtor.com. In expensive markets, homebuyers want to know about a property’s status immediately so they don’t miss an opportunity. A mobile user typically submits five times as many property inquiries than a Web user, he adds. Searches from Samsung’s Android-based devices skew toward lower-priced homes, perhaps because Samsung devices are generally less expensive than Apple devices, Samuelson says.
Cassie Daughtrey, a real estate agent with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty in Seattle, who owns an iPhone and an iPad, says working on the same devices as her clients makes communication easier.
“My assistant uses her iPad and iPhone. All my clients have those, too, and we all have the same apps, and it goes from there,” she says.