Does the early bird catch the house?

An analysis of online home-search habits finds that West Coast residents are more likely to search in the early morning, while some East Coast residents are late-night searchers.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 2, 2013 1:28PM

© Comstock /Getty ImagesIf you’re trying to grab a good house for sale before someone else does, does it help to get up early?


That’s hard to say. But an analysis of when would-be buyers are perusing listings at at least tells you when your fellow shoppers are online.


There are night owls and there are early birds, the company found.



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If you’re looking for a house in Miami, we can tell you that being an early bird doesn’t pay. No matter when you see a listing, you won’t find many real-estate agents who will talk to you much before 10 a.m. That’s true of mortgage brokers and title companies, too, though every profession and every city has some early birds.

In Los Angeles, on the other hand, you may find all kinds of professionals at their desk every morning by 8 a.m. In the HomeFinder analysis, the five cities with the greatest number of searches performed between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. (local time) were all on the West Coast.

The earliest risers were in Bellingham, Wash., where 28.2% of home searches were performed during those hours, with 85% of them done on a desktop computer.


Early-morning searchers were also found in Palm Springs, Calif., where 27.4% of searches were done in those hours (25% on a mobile device); Anchorage, Alaska, with 26.7% of searches; Sacramento, Calif., 25.7%; and Irvine, Calif., 25.6%. Only 5% of Irvine searchers were using a mobile device.

In contrast, some East Coast searchers tended to be night owls. The night owls were also more likely to use mobile devices – browsing while watching TV, perhaps.


In New York City, 18.1% of the searches were done between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., with 35% of those on mobile devices. That was followed by Austin, Texas, with 17.2% of searches done during those hours; Philadelphia, with 17.1% of searches; Atlanta, 16.4%; and Memphis, Tenn., 16%.


In Memphis, 54% of the late-night searches were done on mobile devices. That was true of 51% of searches in Philadelphia, 44% in Atlanta and 17% in Austin.


Across the United States, 18.5% of searches occurred from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 11.4% occurred between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Or at least those were the habits of the users of


Trulia found that the peak time for real-estate searches on its site was Sunday and Monday, with more mobile traffic on Sunday and more desktop traffic on Monday – or at least that was how it looked in 2011.

Tags: buying
Jul 13, 2013 5:51PM
My youngest daughter (a first time buyer is working with a family friend who is a blue ribbon realtor). They have been looking for a home in certain areas of greater Phoenix for four months. Our friend has educated her in the offer, inspection, mortgage rates and types of mortgages, appraisals, home warranties, down payments, closing costs, taxes and of course commissions and how they are broken down. In our area the normal commission in the MLS listings is 6%. The selling broker side is 3% and the buyer broker side is 3%. Over the four months she has looked at over thirty homes, made offers on three, lost two and the third one is in escrow. Our friend the realtor is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of home buying and makes well over two hundred thousand a year treating all clients with respect and fairness. First rule is both buyer and seller deserve respect. As far as all realtors clumped into one pot is unfair. Some are terrific and some are not. We are very fortunate to have one that is terrific.
Jul 13, 2013 7:20AM
It's all about the art of the deal. Look for a good real estate agent, but negotiate their commission to a more reasonable rate, such as 3% (not the usual 7% or 8%) and then negotiate with the sellers.  I never allow someone to tell  me how valuable something is on opinion alone. Most realtors are merely giving an opinion and have little to no business acumen. Trust yourself above all.
Jul 13, 2013 3:43AM
I've bought 7 homes in the west ga. area over the past 4 yrs and have found that it doesn't matter when you look.  What matters most is how honest the broker/agent is.  My experience for our area is disheartening.  Listings go up around  4am and by 9am when the agent arrives for work, we're informed of accepted contracts.  I can see maybe multiple offers, but to have an accepted contract reeks of misconduct on the agents part.  One of my homes was temporarily awarded to another buyer until we complained to the state that our offer was higher, all cash, and received earlier.  We (the public) complain about the actions of "big banks" but maybe a lot of the problems are from "unethical" realtors robbing the public and the banks with their "insider" knowledge.  By the way, I used probably a dozen different agents before finding a decent one.  I wonder how many "average" buyers are abused by the ones that they believe are acting in their best interest?
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