8 JOURNAL OF REAL ESTATE PRACTICE AND EDUCATION Perceptions Regarding the

8 journal of real estate practice and education

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8JOURNAL OF REAL ESTATE PRACTICE AND EDUCATIONPerceptions Regarding the Internet and Its Potential ImpactA key objective of the survey was to determine firms’ perception regarding the newmedium and its potential implications. In this connection, we asked respondentswhether they viewed the Internet as an opportunity, a threat or both. Firms view the newmedium as a business opportunity as opposed to a threat (see Exhibit 7). Anoverwhelming majority (79%) of the firms indicated that they believed that the Internetrepresents an opportunity. On the other hand, over 78% indicated that they eitherdisagree or strongly disagree with the view that the Internet represents a threat. A seriesof t-tests indicate that the differences in mean ratings are indeed significant ( p.001) forthe entire sample as well as for both the adopters and nonadopters subsamples. Theassessment did not differ significantly across the two groups.This interesting finding reinforces our earlier results (see Exhibit 4) regarding thereasons and objectives behind a firm’s Internet presence, where fear of losing businesswas clearly a secondary reason at best. Together, the results suggest that the real driverbehind the push to adopt the new technology stems not from a fear of losing business tocompetitors, but largely from a desire to leverage the medium to attract new buyers andreduce marketing and customer acquisition costs.Real estate agents and firms are essentially market intermediaries, connecting buyerswith sellers and facilitating the real estate transaction process. That process can bedivided into five distinct phases: property listing, buyer search, property evaluation,negotiation and execution / closing. To understand how the Internet might impact thereal estate industry, we asked respondents to indicate the degree to which they believedthe Internet will impact various steps in the real estate transaction process. Respondentsindicated that buyers’ search will be impacted the most (mean response of 6.6),followed by property listings (5.4) and property evaluation (3.5). In contrast,respondents believe that the impact on the negotiation and execution steps, perhapsowing to existing legal obstacles, will be limited (mean response was 2.8 and 2.7,respectively).of FirmsExhibit 7Firms’ Assessment of the Internet60%50%40%An OpportunityPercentage30%20%10%0%A ThreatStronglyDisagreeNeutralAgreeStronglyDisagreeAgreeVOLUME 3, NUMBER 1, 2000
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E-COMMERCE IN THE REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE INDUSTRY9The survey also listed a number of possible difficulties or issues that may limit realestate firms’ ability to sell real estate services to consumers through the Internet, andrespondents were then asked to rate each issue on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 representsno barrier and 10 represents a major barrier to Internet selling. The issues listed,together with associated mean ratings, are: concerns regarding security and privacy onthe part of consumers (4.4); consumer preference to use traditional; i.e., non-online,
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