Real estate agents have a lot of advice for mortgage lenders about how to do their job better, according to a new TD Bank survey.

Lenders need to provide easier access to affordable mortgage loans, according to nearly 70% of the more than 150 agents who participated in the survey. Only 20% of homebuyers are aware of such options, most of the participants said.

Two in five real estate agents think it is harder than ever for buyers to secure a loan, and see overpricing and lack of knowledge as the main turnoff for first-time homebuyers.

The survey also reveals that real estate agents directly influence the lending process. Up to 64% of buyers ask mortgage lending questions to their agents, leading to 2.5 hours of discussions on average. Nearly 80% of the real estate agents surveyed recommended a lender to a buyer during their last sale; and more than one-third recommended the same lender to every buyer who asked for help.

Roughly 65% of respondents reported that the most important factor they look for when recommending a lender is timeliness of closings. Two in five agents see lenders' understanding of buyers' needs and pre-approval rates as factors to consider when making lender recommendations.

Survey participants also advised these improvements be made to the lending process: better communication with buyers on their loan status (75%) increase loan process transparency (64%) and form partnerships with real estate agents (39%).

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