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Real Estate Agents: Still Primary Source for Homes

We have been mistakenly focused on the wrong thing about the home search process. It is true, we are in a digital age and when Millennials as first-time buyers begin their home search for the first time, without knowing anything about how to buy a home, they go online as the first step. New NAR data from the 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that the first step in the buying process is to look online – 42 percent of buyers started here and 13 percent of buyers looked online for information about the home buying process in the effort to educate themselves. Only 14 percent contact a real estate agent right out of the gate.

We also know from the research that the majority of buyers work with a real estate agent to close on a home, nine in 10 buyers signed with the help of an agent in fact. We dug a little further to inquire about the role of the real estate agent in the entire process. Here are some quick facts in response to questions from our survey:

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When we factor in the real estate agent’s use of digital technology, their share in introducing buyers to the home they eventually purchased is the overwhelming factor for buyers at 42 percent of the sources. Buyers found their homes 34 percent of the time from a variety of online sources and 17 percent of the time from either from someone they knew or in person.

For buyers that looked online for properties, they visited 10 homes over the course of 10 weeks before they purchased. For buyers that went straight to a real estate agent and did not look online, they visited five homes over only five weeks before they made their purchase. The numbers indicate that working with an agent can save a buyer time and effort. Ninety-one percent said they were satisfied with the home buying process.