US home buyers indicate they are less satisfied with real estate company services, compared with 2010, while home-seller satisfaction has improved during the same time period, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Home Buyer/Seller Study. Overall satisfaction among home buyers averages 797 on a 1,000-point scale in 2011, a decrease of six points from 2010.
The decrease is primarily due to lower satisfaction with the agent/salesperson, which J.D. Power analysis indicates is the most influential aspect of buyer satisfaction with the real estate company. Agent/salesperson satisfaction averages 814 in 2011, compared with 828 in 2010.
In the home-buyer segment, RE/MAX ranks highest with a score of 805. Following RE/MAX in the rankings are Coldwell Banker (802) and Better Homes & Gardens (801). Coldwell Banker performs particularly well in the agent/salesperson factor while Better Homes & Gardens performs well in the variety of additional services factor.
The study, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction of home buyers and sellers with the largest national real estate companies. Overall satisfaction is determined by examining three factors of the home-buying experience: agent/salesperson; office; and variety of additional services. Four factors are examined for the home-selling experience: agent/salesperson; marketing; office; and variety of additional services.
Home Sellers Much Happier
Among home sellers, satisfaction with real estate companies has improved substantially to an average of 779 in 2011 from 742 in 2010. While satisfaction with each of the factors has improved from 2010, the greatest gain has occurred in the marketing factor, which has increased by 62 points in 2011.
In 2011, J.D. Power data shows that the variety of additional services and office factors have increased in importance to overall satisfaction, while the importance of the agent/salesperson and marketing factors have declined. According to J.D. Power analysis, many real estate companies have made cutbacks in additional services and offices during recent years, and the increasing importance of these areas reflects that sellers may be missing these amenities, which provides an opportunity for companies to improve satisfaction.
Among home sellers, RE/MAX ranks highest with a score of 791 and performs particularly well in the agent/salesperson and office factors. Following RE/MAX in the rankings are Prudential (786) and Century 21 (785). Century 21 performs particularly well in the variety of additional services factor.
- Recommendations and referrals play a key role for both buyers and sellers in choosing an agent and real estate company. In 2011, 60% of buyers and sellers say their agent asked for a referral or recommendation, up 30% from 47% in 2010.
- The average number of homes that buyers were shown prior to making a purchase is nine in 2011, down 48% from 17.5 in 2010.
- The average number of home showings in 2011 is 8.6, on average, prior to sale, down 41% from an average of 12.1 showings in 2010.
- In 2011, just 58% of sellers indicate using a website listing to market their home, down 29% with 82% in 2010.
Gallup: Americans See Buyers’ Market
Americans continue to see a buyer’s market in housing, according to an April 2011 Gallup poll. Sixty-nine percent of respondents say now is a good time to buy a house, essentially unchanged since 2009.
About the Data: The 2011 Home Buyer/Seller Study includes more than 4,200 evaluations from more than 3,680 respondents who bought or sold a home between March 2010 and April 2011. The study was fielded between March and May 2011.