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


  • Michael J. Seiler

    () (Old Dominion University)

  • Poornima Madhavan

    (Old Dominion University)

  • Molly Liechty

    (Old Dominion University)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Seiler & Poornima Madhavan & Molly Liechty, 2012. "Toward an Understanding of Real Estate Homebuyer Internet Search Behavior: An Application of Ocular Tracking Technology," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 34(2), pages 211-242.
  • Handle: RePEc:jre:issued:v:34:n:2:2012:p:211-242

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    Cited by:

    1. Eli Beracha & Michael J. Seiler, 2015. "The Effect of Pricing Strategy on Home Selection and Transaction Prices: An Investigation of the Left-Most Digit Effect," Framed Field Experiments 00630, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Ran, Tao & Yue, Chengyan & Rihn, Alicia, 2015. "Are Grocery Shoppers of Households with Weight-Concerned Members Willing to Pay More for Nutrtional Information on Food?," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 46(3), November.
    3. Cardella, Eric & Seiler, Michael J., 2016. "The effect of listing price strategy on real estate negotiations: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 71-90.
    4. Eli Beracha & Michael Seiler, 2014. "The Effect of Listing Price Strategy on Transaction Selling Prices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 237-255, August.
    5. David Koch & Gunther Maier, 2015. "The influence of estate agencies’ location and time on Internet," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 35(2), pages 147-171, October.
    6. Michael J. Seiler, 2014. "Measuring the Impact of Eminent Domain Partial Takings: A Behavioral Approach," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 17(2), pages 137-156.
    7. Eric Cardella & Michael J. Seiler, 2016. "The Effect of Listing Price Strategy on Real Estate Negotiations: An Experimental Study," Framed Field Experiments 00623, The Field Experiments Website.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services


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