With all the steps involved in finding a property, cutting a deal and committing to a mortgage, buying a home can seem overwhelming. The proliferation of real estate websites also means access to more information about properties, school districts and community insights than ever before.

This has created a new kind of home buyer — someone who is well-informed but in need of a streamlined process and an agent who does more than just give them access to properties.

The new home buyer’s needs

A recent survey by Owners.com of more than 1,000 consumers who recently purchased a home showed that 62 percent do their own search for properties online at least once per day. While the majority (83 percent) of home buyers still use an agent, the way they work with their agent is changing.

Technology has allowed agents to provide greater service and help make home buying less stressful. 

People are seeking ways to save time in what can be a long and complicated process. Almost half (46 percent) of home buyers surveyed want their agent to keep track of all appointments, viewings and follow-ups in one place and 61 percent would like to review data — such as home appreciation, walk scores and neighborhood information — in one place.

Brokerages take note

As a result, tech-enabled brokerages are changing the way people look for homes.

Some brokerages have introduced a big change for buyers by capturing consumer preferences algorithmically. This allows buyers to select property features — such as size, architectural style or yard space — and rate each feature by importance. “You may be looking for a three-car garage but why exclude a property with two that could be half the price?” says Dario Cardile, vice president of growth marketing at Owners.com. “This new search functionality means that prospective homeowners can find their perfect match but also won’t miss out on ‘near-match’ deals.”

However, the real breakthroughs are in mobile apps that keep buyers organized and in quick agent contact.

“With the app, I could view the property and let my agent know when I was available to schedule a showing,” says Aziz Khetani, who recently bought a home in Atlanta. “It made it more efficient as I didn’t need to jump out of the app to make a call.”

A partner in the process

Streamlining the process allows agents to shine, which was particularly helpful in Khetani’s situation, as he was moving from Chicago to Atlanta and needed all the help he could get. He found his agent to be a crucial partner.

“With an app, I don’t have to worry about going to my calendar to schedule and manage all of my showings and next steps.”

“The first agent put me on an automated email series with no follow-up,” explains Khetani. “My Owners.com agent was extremely responsive. If I didn’t get in touch with her within a few days of last speaking she would follow up with me. When I was in Chicago, she offered to go to the house and put me on Skype to see it.”

Technology has allowed agents to provide greater service and help make home buying less stressful. 

“I’m usually working with several buyers at a time so, with an app, I don’t have to worry about going to my calendar to schedule and manage all of my showings and next steps,” explains Heather Hyllested, an Owners.com agent based in Atlanta. “It also simplifies the process because all the information buyers need is at their fingertips. For example, if a home inspection is coming up, I can tap that into the app to remind them. It’s all in one place.”

It’s safe to expect tech-enabled brokerages will continue to enhance the partnership between clients and their real estate agents.