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

32 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012 Last revised: 21 Aug 2014

Michael J. Seiler

Hawaii Pacific University - Department of Finance

Poornima Madhavan

Old Dominion University

Molly Liechty

Old Dominion University

Date Written: March 27, 2012

Abstract

This paper examines the eye movements of potential homebuyers searching for houses on the Internet. Total dwell time (looking at the photo), fixation duration (time spent at each focal point), and saccade amplitude (average distance between focal points) significantly explain someone’s opinion of a house. The sections that are viewed first are the photo of the house, the description section, distantly followed by the real estate agent’s remarks. The findings indicate that charm pricing, where agents list properties at slightly less than round numbers, works in opposition to its intended effect. Given that people dwell significantly longer on the first house they view, and since charm pricing typically causes a property to appear towards the end of a search when sorted by price from low to high, is charm pricing an effective marketing strategy?

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

JEL Classification: R20, R32, A12

Suggested Citation

Seiler, Michael J. and Madhavan, Poornima and Liechty, Molly, Toward an Understanding of Real Estate Homebuyer Internet Search Behavior: An Application of Ocular Tracking Technology (March 27, 2012). Journal of Real Estate Research, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2029823

Michael J. Seiler (Contact Author)

Hawaii Pacific University - Department of Finance ( email )

1132 Bishop Street, Suite 504
Honolulu, HI 96813
United States
808-544-1827 (Phone)
808-544-9306 (Fax)

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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