Homebuyer Information Search: An Extension Of The Technology Acceptance Model For Real Estate Websites
Buying a property can be an exciting, but also daunting, prospect for home buyers. A recent innovation for potential buyers and sellers which can aid this process has been the introduction of real estate websites, containing searchable databases of property listings and several interior photos of the property on offer. These websites are often touted as offering convenience and efficiency for the house buyer by enabling them to narrow the number of homes to seriously consider, and make a more informed market choice (Littlefield, Bao and Cook, 2000). This thesis explores the adoption of real estate websites by recent house purchasers in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand, with particular focus on the determinants explaining attitudes to use and moderating factors affecting their decision to use the real estate website. Exploratory interviews were undertaken with realtors, and a mailout survey used to gather both behavioural and attitudinal data from recent home purchasers. The research illuminates how using a real estate website influences subsequent purchase behaviour, in particular, how purchasers search for properties and the impact of using these websites on aspects such as search duration, other media types used, and the number of open homes visited. Mediating factors such as age, property type, professionalism and distance to market are also examined. The technology acceptance model (TAM) (Davis, 1989) has been proven effective in explaining behavioural intention to use a wide range of IT devices (Konana and Balasubramanian, 2005; Luarn and Lin, 2005; Shang, Chen and Shen, 2005; Chen, Gillenson and Shernell, 2002), including the internet (Moon and Kim, 2001; Lin and Lu, 2000), also the use of interactive IT devices has been found to be intrinsically motivating for the user (Teo, Lim and Lai,1999; Bruner and Kumar, 2005). This thesis extends the ability of the TAM to explain behavioural intention to use interactive technologies through the context of the real estate website. The study examines the TAM in this context by determining the extent of both the established constructs of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, as well as the recently introduced construct of perceived enjoyment. This thesis establishes that the TAM extended for perceived enjoyment explains the major determinants of attitude formation towards using real estate websites, finding age and previous purchase experience as moderating factors in the propensity to adopt the real estate website innovation. Additionally, using real estate websites during the search process significantly increases overall search duration and number of open homes visited by a potential purchaser. Predictions are that the innovation will continue as a favoured tool by property purchasers in the short term, although newer tools (such as email lists and automated PDA updates) are now entering the market (Hendery, 2006). Despite the change towards newer methods of gathering information, the underlying determinants in the search process for a house requires interactive tools that will reduce the overall purchase risk, and allow convenient means to find property while motivating the purchaser to continue to consider a variety of property options on offer.
Advisor: Todd, Sarah; Garrett, Tony
Degree Name: Master of Commerce
Degree Discipline: Marketing
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Bay of Plenty; homebuyer; Real estate; Technology Acceptance model; online; consumer behaviour; websites; adoption
Research Type: Thesis