Today's buyers are saving gas, time and hassles by letting their fingers do the walking when they search for a home.
Nine out of 10 buyers went online to find or eliminate homes from their quest, according to the Realtors' survey. And for buyers under age 44 (more than half the buying community), it's even higher: 96 percent.
Today, "that first showing is that digital image online," says Ron Phipps, principal with Warwick, R.I.-based Phipps Realty and past president of the National Association of Realtors.
Maybe not coincidentally, buyers are also visiting fewer houses before they buy, according to the survey.
In 2011, buyers visited 12 houses before they bought one. But in 2012, that average dropped to 10.
Another big difference? Gen X-ers and their younger cousins are sharing their pre-purchase options and decisions via social media, says Phipps.
And, for a lot of reasons, that's not a smart move, he says. Keeping in mind everyone (including your seller) may see those postings, he says, it can pay to "be a little more discreet."