Here is an interesting survey :
According to the survey, only 1 percent of consumers found their agent through the newspaper, Yellow Pages
In 2001, 48 percent of all buyers found the home they purchased through a real estate agent, compared with 38 percent in 2008. During the same period, the number of buyers finding their home online rose from 8 percent to 32 percent. Fifteen percent of all buyers found the home they purchased from a yard sign or an open house sign. Another 7 percent to 8 percent located their home through a friend, relative or neighbor.
Eighty-seven percent of home buyers used the Internet to search for homes, up from 71 percent five years ago. Even though buyers actively search for homes on the Internet, a whopping 77 percent then drove by or viewed the home in person.
Buyers overwhelmingly cited that photos (86 percent) coupled with detailed information (84 percent) and virtual tours (68 percent) were the most useful Web site features to them
A few years ago, Web marketers proclaimed that the Web would eliminate the need for real estate agents (disintermediation). The exact opposite has occurred. In 2001, 69 percent of all buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. In 2008, that number was 81 percent.
Despite the nonstop press about foreclosures and short sales being the only types of transactions currently closing, only 3 percent of purchasers acquired their homes through a foreclosure or trustee sale. Nevertheless, that's still triple the 1 percent number from 2001 through 2007.
A large proportion of the industry was worried that the buying public would have no need for agents once they had access to MLS information. Surprisingly, 48 percent of all buyers indicated that their top reason for working with an agent was to find the right home to purchase. In terms of what buyers perceived as being beneficial, the top three items were helping the buyer understand the purchase process, pointing out unnoticed faults or features, and negotiating better terms. The characteristics they found most valuable in their agent were honesty and integrity (97 percent), knowledge of the purchase process (94 percent), responsiveness (93 percent), knowledge of the real estate market (92 percent), and communication and negotiation skills (83 percent). Technology skills were considered to be "very important" by only 37 percent of the respondents.
A whopping 70 percent of all buyers said that they would "definitely recommend" their agent to other buyers, and another 18 percent said that they would "probably recommend" their agent. Sadly, only 11 percent of all buyers said that they used the previous agent to buy or sell a home This finding underlines the importance of staying in contact with past clients, especially for both repeat and referral business.