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2008-02-06 14:18:00

Web 2.0 Survey: Median-Age REALTORS Embrace Social Networks

Real estate agents are faced with increasing opportunities to participate on the World Wide Web. New applications and web sites seem to emerge every week. RealTown conducted a survey last month to track the needs and interests of the real estate community. “This survey will help us continue to design a platform and educational tools that will help REALTORS tune their cyber skills and meet the needs of a changing marketplace,” said Saul Klein, CEO of InternetCrusade and also now the new CEO of Point2 Technologies. 

Some 618 real estate agents and brokers completed the survey and shared thoughts about their experiences with social networking tools.

RealTown asked several questions to identify survey respondents: What is your role? What is your age? Are you an e-PRO?

Majority of Real Estate Professionals Are Baby Boomers

Most of the RealTown survey respondents identify themselves as Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), corresponding with figures from the National Assn. of REALTORS: “The median of age REALTORS® is 51 years old. For sales agents, the median age is 49, and the median age of brokers is 51.” (Source: “The 2007 National Assn. of REALTORS® Member Profile”).  A significant number of respondents, 21%, fall into the Silent Generation category (1925 – 1945).  Less than 11% of the survey respondents fall into the Generation X (1965 - 1979) and Generation Y (1980 - 1995) age groups.

Approximately  70% of respondents are e-PRO Certified REALTORS. e-PRO is a certification sponsored by NAR that is designed to help real estate professionals thrive on the Web.

More than half (62%) of the participants are real estate agents, 21% are brokers, 3% are office managers, less than 1% are property managers, and 14% identified themselves as “Other”.

Real Estate Agents Are Gravitating Toward Social Networks

Respondents listed 2.304 social network memberships, amounting to an average of 3.7 groups per respondent. The vast majority of respondents belong to  RealTown community platforms served by e-mail delivery and web platforms. (Disclosure: RealTown conducted the bulk of the survey among its own members.) Some 29% of respondents have a profile presence on the ActiveRain real estate network; the LinkedIn professional network commands the attention of 23% of those responding to the survey; Facebook has a following of 21% of those surveyed; and MySpace followed closely behind with 17% reporting activity there.

Consumer real estate media giants Zillow.com and Trulia.com command 18% and 16% respective shares of the audience. Other social networking sites in the poll received less than 1% - Squidoo, Second Life, RE-Liberation, Zolve, and WannaNetwork.


Real Estate Agents Use Blogs as Entre to Web 2.0 Delivery

One of the most striking aspects of the survey was a 33% affirmative response to the question, “Do you have a blog.” This contrasts with NAR reports that only 4% of REALTORS have blogs. The affirmative response rate correlates with the HIGH percentage rate of e-PRO Certified REALTORS among respondents to the survey (70%).

Survey results point to increased technology use among e-PRO Certified real estate professionals. 

  • 75% report that they use text messaging.
  • 49% report use of Instant Messaging tech, vs. 14% on the NAR Member Profile. 
  • 52% use a Smartphone. 
  • 42% of RealTown respondents use an RSS feeder, compared with 1% of realty pros queried in the NAR Member Profile.
  • 60% of RealTown participants use GPS technology versus 13% in the NAR study.
  • 94% of RealTown participants use a digital camera compared with 23% overall in the NAR report. 
  • 99% report that they use a digital camera.
  • 52% of participants have a video camera.

Real estate bloggers polled rated blog features in order of importance: 

  • 75% of bloggers rated ease of use as the most important blog feature. 
  • 49%  look for the ability to upload photos and documents.
  • 42% look for a full featured editing platform.
  • 40%, rate customization as most important feature.
  • 34% want a choice of templates.
  • 33% want the ability to upload video and audio at the blog platform.
  • 20% want multi-author functionality.

(Frances Flynn Thorsen, e-PRO, SRS, ACRE, is Managing Editor of RealTown.com. She is a Certified e-PRO Trainer and publishes several blogs, including RealTown Report, The REALTYgram Blogger, Web Women Giving Circle, No Blogger Left Behind, and The FAT Lady Blog.)

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