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Real Estate Online Services Continue to Grow, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Ease of use and convenience encourage virtually all homebuyers to use the internet as a primary house research tool, and many real estate-related searches occur on mobile devices.  This trend was accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic, as many Realtors became extremely creative about virtual house showings, including in-depth videos, that reduce the need for in-person visits.  Among the busiest sites are,, and Yahoo! Real Estate, along with the sites operated by RE/MAX and Coldwell Banker.  
Sites such as and provide home listings as well as tools for calculating mortgages and researching schools in different neighborhoods.  The sites make money by selling advertising, selling customer leads to real estate agents and placing home listings on their sites.
Home finance is also a hot internet area.  A large percentage of homebuyers apply for mortgage pre-approval before deciding upon a house.  Many of those buyers make their applications online.  Sites such as LendingTree,, Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage make applying for a mortgage online simple and competitive, because they maintain relationships with a wide variety of lending institutions and can offer several options.
LendingTree, for example, sends each mortgage application to up to five different lenders.  In return, the lenders offer competing interest rates, closing costs and terms.  LendingTree earns a fee from each loan’s closing.  The site also generates revenue through matching potential homebuyers with realtors.  Meanwhile, major traditional banks run their own online mortgage application pages, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Even eBay is having success selling real estate online.  It’s doing a significant volume of business auctioning houses, land, commercial property and time-share interests.
Zillow, , is an extremely popular site launched in 2005.  It provides online access to aerial home photos and enables users to estimate home values based on a variety of factors, using a proprietary algorithm.

Internet Research Tip: Public Real Estate Data
For home value estimates, recent sales activity, tax information, title history and more, see:

     Online listings are typically generated by Multiple Listing Services (MLS), which are run by local groups of realtors.  The services feed information about homes for sale to brokers’ web sites and national real estate sites, as well as sites representing a geographic area (most cities have real estate sites such as which is operated by the Houston Association of Realtors in Houston, Texas).  Most prospective buyers hope to see all available listings on these sites, as opposed to listings for a particular Realtor.
Savvy real estate agents are utilizing web sites such as YouTube and Facebook, blogs, tweets and text messages to reach younger, first-time buyers.  Some realty firms are hiring social media workers.

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