The National Association of Realtors released a results from a study of Home Buyer and Sellers showing increasing reliance on the internet as a source for searching for homes. A summary of this this study can be found at the NAR site here:
In 2005 77% of Home Buyers used the Internet to search for homes. That's up from a mere 2% in 1995. 90% used Agents and 71% said they used Yard Signs. This is mere conjecture, but it is my belief that reliance on the Internet would be even higher in San Francisco, and the use of Yard Signs much lower. The reasons are obvious - most of us don't have yards, and don't spend Sunday's driving around browsing lawn's and house fronts for homes and areas we might want to live in. That's a suburban phenomonon. Plus, San Franciscan's are probably some of the most web and tech savvy on the planet, so it's likely we skew much higher for internet use in general, and real estate specifically.
I personally didn't need the NAR to convince me that more and more Buyers were using the internet since I use the Internet for just about everything. Need a definition for a word - I have no idea where my dictionary is, so I just Google it. Need a new piece of furniture, a rug, to find the nearest Post Office... the internet, the internet, the internet. So as a Real Estate Agent I've gone out of my way to find the best house hunting tools on the web, and then bring them directly to my Buyers and Sellers.
Buyers have told me that CleanOffer.com is by far the best home search tool, so I've pre-paid for an unlimited-client subscription. Register at www.SF.CleanOffer.com and select me as your agent and you get unlimited use of this service.
Sellers - instead of the nationally advertised site HouseValues.com, try my local San Francisco site www.Evaluate-My-Home.com
Buyers - want email alerts on properties of interest? Try www.Automated-Homefinder.com
Want access to the MLS try www.SF-MLS-Search.com
I can make recommendations for the best internet Mortgage Calculators (BankRate.com), and know exactly where to find various San Francisco departments for Variances, Property Tax info, Building Permits, and much more - all on the internet. Email me with any of your San Francisco real estate questions, and I'll most likely email you back with a site that does the best job of giving you the information clearly and concisely. Try me :)