The role that an estate agent plays when it comes to the process of someone buying a home is a vital one. Agents deal with many things on every step of the way, such as answering queries, acting as a bridge between buyers and sellers and even giving advice to someone who is looking to get themselves onto the property ladder.
However, now more than ever, buyers are looking towards estate agents to have the expertise and knowledge that offers them a more personal understanding of the buyer's needs and wants, helping to forge a relationship that is built on long-term trust between the two parties.
According to a study released this week by Dezrez, as many as 58 per cent of people who are looking to buy a home are looking to forge a lifelong working relationship with an estate agent they can rely on, and who they feel has their back every step of the way.
Buying a house can be seen as a stressful time, and even though 93 per cent of people who are looking to purchase a home will now look online for property first and foremost, the study showed that the majority will still turn their eye towards a trusted estate agent when the time comes to actually make a move on the market.
So just what are buyers looking for in an estate agent?
According to Dezrez, the key touch points in the process of purchasing a home are where buyers feel like an estate agent needs to step in and help them. For example, even though buyers will have picked out a home online that they want to look into, some 62 per cent still want to be able to turn to an agent to book a property viewing for them, and to inspect the home before they make a decision.
On top of this, 72 per cent said they need to be able to trust their estate agent to carry out conveyancing when they are buying a home, 53 per cent want them to do things such as putting in offers, and 42 per cent will be looking for their estate agent to be negotiating on their behalf with sellers.
What does this prove for the industry? For one thing, it shows that even at a time when more and more of the sector is moving online, and buyers have more freedom than ever before, estate agents still play a priceless role in the buying process.
"Buying or selling a home can be an extremely stressful and daunting process and good quality customer service still carries a huge amount of weight. Estate agents are well placed to offer sound, expert advice. They can help to alleviate some of the pressures and concerns that consumers have with managing the process themselves," said Justin Morris, chief executive officer of Dezrez.
"What we are experiencing in the property market is some interesting trends that are mirroring consumer activity on the high street. Whilst many people like to be able to search online, they clearly value the customer experience and human touch of face to face interactions."