If you're in the market for a new home, you can now scroll, enter your pre-qualifying salary and debt information, click, and bid - online auction giant Ebay launched its first national new-home event Saturday.
Some 130 new houses in 18 markets, including Dallas, Jacksonville, Nashville, Virginia, Phoenix, Sacramento, and the San Francisco Bay Area, have been on preview status at ebayrealestate.com since June 3. The bidding will close June 24.
Ebay has teamed with Builder Homesite, Inc., an online publisher of new-home listings. The Ryland Group, KB Home, and Beazer Home signed on for the first online event.
Ebay is the largest online marketplace with more than 46 million registered users. A personal computer is sold every 30 seconds; a vehicle every 2 minutes; and a property every 5 minutes.
"Homebuyers are showing an increasing reliance and comfort with using online resources during their new home search. With 85% of new homebuyers using the Internet during the home buying process, now is the time to create a new channel that actually allows consumers to 'transact' online, not just shop and browse," said Tim Costello, president and CEO of Builder Homesite, Inc.
But bidding for a new home on eBay isn't like bidding for a set of china or a pair of sunglasses. Interested home buyers must fill out an online pre-authorization form and provide information similar to what you'd provide to get pre-approval for a home loan - employment information, salary, current residential status, liquid assets, and debt information.
Homebuilders - through prepared statements - are enthusiastic.
"EBay Real Estate and its auction-style marketplace are great avenues for communicating the advantages of buying a new home and generating buzz for our grand openings and other special sales events," said Bruce Karatz, chairman and CEO of KB Home.
Ian McCarthy of Beazer Homes agreed, and added, "Beazer Homes is dedicated to its online presences and is excited about this new opportunity to reach homebuyers searching online for their dream home. The Internet serves as a great showcase for our available homes and provides a powerful new channel."
The Internet continues to be a frequently used tool for the homebuyer, for both new and existing homes. One of the top homes-for-sale sites, www.realtor.com, attracted 4.7 million unique visitors in April, according to Jupiter Media Metrix. The web site also logged a near-record 5 million page views to its "Find a Realtor" function in April, according to the National Association of Realtors.
"We're pleased with the continued leadership that REALTOR.com provides, connecting consumers to Realtors. Many families with children choose to move during the summer months and, while the kids may not be out of school until June, we're seeing potential homebuyers come to REALTOR.com first to do their homework and find a Realtor," said NAR President Martin Edwards Jr.
Meanwhile, Beazer Homes, which is offering 30 homes to bid in eight cities across the country, has become one of the pioneers in using technology in the home building and selling process. In fact, the company in May received the Builder 100 Top Technology Award, presented by Hanley Wood, which publishes more than a dozen leading magazines in the home building and construction business.
This award is given to the homebuilder who has done the most to advance the use of technology both within the company and the industry during the past year. Beazer was cited for its technological innovation including: pioneering online auctions; Internet advertising; hand-held computers at the job site; online selections; and personal folders for home shoppers, as well as operating one of the most sophisticated yet easy-to-access web sites.