When it comes to buyers, there are a number of key factors they seek in an agent.

According to the Keller Williams Realty Vision 2016 survey, the National Association of Realtors reports that buyers today most want help finding the right home, with 53 percent citing that factor, more than double the next two factors, help negotiation terms (12 percent) and help with price negotiations (11 percent).

Other factors that buyers want most form their agent include price of comparable homes, help with paperwork, telling how much the buyer can afford, help with financing and help teaching about the neighborhood.

“Who is going to write a contract? Fill out a disclosure statement? Anticipate what’s coming on the market?” asked association president Bill Brown. “There’s a human element to buying and selling a home that can’t be replaced.

The survey also found that maintaining a relationship with clients can help agents generate more business through referrals, with 41 percent of respondents noting that their agent was found through another friend or family member. That figure is down only slightly over the last decade. It stood at 44 percent in 2005.

Twelve percent of respondents reported they turned to an agent they had used to purchase a home in the past. Another 10 percent found their agent on a website, 5 percent found their agent at an open house. And 5 percent found contact information on an open house or for sale sign and 5 percent were referred by another agent or broker. Four percent were referred through an employer or relocation company and 4 percent walked into an office and an agent was on duty.

Only 1 percent of buyers found their agent through a search engine and 10 percent found their agent through other means.

The survey also found that agents have a better chance of getting a buyer’s business if they are the first agent to be contacted, with 67 percent reporting they conducted just one interview, and 20 percent conducting two interviews. Only 9 percent reported conducting 9 interviews and 5 percent reported conducting four or more interviews.

When interviewing agents, there are a number of factors that buyers consider, but an agent’s honesty, trustworthiness and reputation matter the most to buyers.

According to NAR statistics, 23 percent of buyers cite reputation as the leading factor, with honesty and integrity a close second at 21 percent. Another 16 percent went with an agent who is a relative or friend, and 13 percent selected an agent who had knowledge of the neighborhood.

Other key factors include caring and a good listener (8 percent), timely responses (7 percent), 100 percent accessible (technology) 5 percent, association with company (3 percent) and designations (1 percent). Other factors made up 1 percent of the responses.
Technology comprises a small factor for buyers selecting an agent, but agents themselves are not taking anything for granted and savvy agents are embracing technology.

In fact, it was the push of technology into real estate that motivated Chris Speicher to leave his job at Microsoft to join his wife, Peggy Lyn Speicher, as a real estate agent. He figured he could help.

“It’s no longer about going to the real estate agent because they hold ‘the truth’ — they have the data,” Chris Speicher told the Washington Post.

Buying the perfect home does not have to become a stressful or drawn-out process. Buyers can select an agent who will do everything they can to make the process a smooth one and will leave the buyer happy with their new home.