News Release No. 12, October 2003 - By David S. Jones
Finding just the right house is the hard part. However, that is not the end of the home-buying process; there are many more decisions to make.
In April 2003, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed 35,000 recent homebuyers. Based on 2,703 responses, NAR researchers developed a list of the most-used real estate services.
Home inspectors were the most frequently used home-buying service. In 2003, 92% of buyers used an inspector in connection with a home purchase. There are many reasons to have a home inspected everything from the overall condition to targeted environmental concerns, such as the presence of lead paint, mold or radon. While most new homebuyers did not have a home inspection, four out of five buyers of existing homes did.
Mortgage lenders were the second most used service. Ninety-one percent of homebuyers financed their 2003 purchase with a mortgage.
Any conversation about home buying is bound to lead to talk of insurance. Ninety percent of 2003 home buyers had homeowners' insurance. It is hard to say customers shopped around for their insurance, however, since most received only one rate quote.
Most homebuyers used online search engines in their efforts to find a home. Even those that did not, did use the Internet to obtain information on homeowners' insurance. About half the respondents to the NAR survey said they had an owner's title insurance policy; first-time buyers were less likely to have one than were repeat buyers.
Use of a title company for title insurance ties with insurance as the third most popular real estate service. Other services homebuyers use include appraiser (85%), termite-insect inspector (70%), utility hook-ups (69%), home warranty (59%), mortgage insurance (57%), legal services (50%), settlement attorney (48%), environmental inspection (48%), land surveyor (43%) and home improvement retailer (31%.)
Today's homebuyers do their homework. The Internet is an; essential source of information. Real estate agents are another. Repeat buyers often rely on their experience with a service provider they used in a previous home purchase. Listen to family and friends, they often provide valuable experiences and opinions, too.
Information on the home warranty is the service a homebuyer is most likely to ask their real estate professional to provide. Fifty-four percent of respondents to the 2003 NAR survey got home warranty coverage from their agents.
Of course, the majority of buyers use the services of a real estate professional. In 2003, three-quarters of all buyers bought their home through a real estate agent. Also, see first home buyer services.