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Toward an Understanding of Real Estate Homebuyer Internet Search Behavior: An Application of Ocular Tracking Technology

Posted: 3 Jul 2011 Last revised: 28 Aug 2012

Michael Joseph Seiler

College of William and Mary - Finance

Poornima Madhavan

Old Dominion University

Molly Liechty

Old Dominion University

Date Written: June 30, 2011

Abstract

We track and record five measures of eye movements of current homebuyers who are in the process of searching for homes on the Internet. Total dwell time (how long a person looks at the photo), fixation duration (how long a person spends at each focal point), and saccade amplitude (the average distance between focal points) are all found to significantly explain a buyer’s overall opinion of the home and its value. A secondary finding is that the sections of the Webpage that are viewed first are the photo of the home, the quantitative description section, distantly followed by the real estate agent remarks section. Finally, charm pricing, the marketing technique where agents list properties at slightly less than round numbers, works in opposition to its intended effect. Given our result that homebuyers dwell significantly longer on the first home they see, and since charm pricing typically causes a property to appear towards the end of a search when sorted by price from low to high, we question the wisdom of using a charm pricing strategy.

Keywords: ocular tracking, behavioral real estate, charm pricing, buyer search behavior

JEL Classification: R20, R32, A12

Suggested Citation

Seiler, Michael Joseph and Madhavan, Poornima and Liechty, Molly, Toward an Understanding of Real Estate Homebuyer Internet Search Behavior: An Application of Ocular Tracking Technology (June 30, 2011). Journal of Real Estate Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1876204

Michael Joseph Seiler (Contact Author)

College of William and Mary - Finance ( email )

VA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mason.wm.edu/faculty/directory/seiler_m.php

Poornima Madhavan

Old Dominion University ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States

Molly Liechty

Old Dominion University ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States

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