As in all economies, studies are being produced that work hard at identifying who is buying, and how are they thinking. There is a new designation of buyer. They are called NEOs or the New Affluent. Are you one? Are you working with any?
The new affluent buyers are content with who they are, and not dependent on who their parents were. They research and accept useful pointers from experienced full-time professionals in any area they are making decisions in. They understand that the Internet is full of mis-information and sales tactics.
They prefer verifiable information, prefer to benefit from the experience of a professional, and prefer patient professionals over quota driven closers. They appear to understand how experienced professionals benefit their process, and thus they have more loyalty.
Information is readily available from many Internet "sources" in real estate, and the new buyers understand that a source is not always the source. They also understand that a full time real estate professional can help keep their "work week" to 50 hours. Rather than discovering and verifying which "sources" are accurate and current, the "new affluent" choose an experienced professional.
They know that duplicating what a dedicated professional is already doing every day and trying to quickly relearn what someone else has already learned over many years, is not the best use of their time. These patient and loyal buyers find better purchases, have smoother transactions, have more time for their main interests.
The Internet has misled the "old style buyer" to hope that the experiences of a real estate professional can be learned as quickly as one can find pictures of houses on the Internet. The new buyer knows that the business of real estate is becoming/has become a profession more than it has been at any point in history.