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Study: Satisfaction with real estate companies mixed

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Reflective of the real estate buyers’ market conditions in many regions in the U.S., satisfaction with real estate companies among homebuyers has improved from 2009, while satisfaction among home sellers has declined, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Home Buyer/Seller Study.

The study, now in its third year, measures customer satisfaction of homebuyers and sellers with the largest national real estate companies. Overall satisfaction is determined by examining three factors for 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.

Overall satisfaction among homebuyers averages 803 on a 1,000-point scale in 2010—increasing by 12 points from 2009. This improvement is primarily driven by increased satisfaction with agents and salespersons. In contrast, overall satisfaction among home sellers has declined by 40 points from 2009 and averages 742 in 2010. Among home sellers, satisfaction has decreased in all four factors, with the largest declines observed in marketing of the home and the variety of additional services offered.

“Among both home buyers and home sellers, the importance of agents and salespersons has increased substantially in 2010, compared with 2009,” said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Buyers are increasingly relying upon negotiating skills of agents and seem to be satisfied with the purchase prices they are obtaining. Despite the fact that selling agents appear to be doing a good job of negotiating and marketing on behalf of home sellers, the tough economic conditions are negatively impacting their overall satisfaction with real estate companies.”

In the homebuyer segment, Keller Williams ranks highest for a third consecutive year, with a score of 817 on a 1,000-point scale. Keller Williams performs particularly well in the agent and office factors. Following in the rankings are Prudential (811) and Coldwell Banker (805). Prudential performs well in the additional services category.

Among home sellers, Prudential ranks highest with a score of 760 and performs particularly well in the marketing and agent factors. Prudential is the only company to improve in home-seller satisfaction in 2010, compared with 2009.  Following Prudential in the rankings are Keller Williams (751) and RE/MAX (744). Keller Williams performs particularly well in the office factor.

The study finds that fewer than one-half of homebuyers and sellers indicate their agent asked them to provide a referral or recommendation to a friend or family member.

“Positive recommendations are a critically important driver of new business for agents, and there is ample opportunity for improvement in this area,” said Howland. “Particularly during tough times in the real estate market, asking for referrals and recommendations should be considered an essential part of doing business.”


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