Home-buyer satisfaction at an all-time low and home-seller satisfaction declining as well, real estate companies are challenged to manage customer expectations though Keller-Williams ranked highest among both buyers and sellers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study released today.
The study, now in its fifth year, found that overall satisfaction among home buyers is at its lowest level in the history of the study, averaging 789 on a 1,000-point scale, compared with 797 in 2011. Satisfaction among sellers has declined as well, averaging 768, compared with 779 in 2011.
“Although home buyers and sellers are aware of continuing challenges in the real estate market, a key reason satisfaction is down is that customer expectations are not being met, either in terms of sellers having to compromise on their listing price, or for buyers who are compromising on the home’s condition and size,” said Christina Cooley, senior manager of the real estate practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
“This is understandably frustrating all around. However, we also find that real estate companies that set themselves apart in terms of working closely with their customers and meeting their needs may play an important role in both managing expectations, but more importantly, exceeding them.”
Keller Williams ranks highest in customer satisfaction in both the home-buyer and home-seller segments. Further, Keller Williams achieves the highest scores in all factors across both segments, including agent/salesperson, which is the most important aspect of the customer experience for home buyers and sellers. In the home-buyer segment, Keller Williams is followed in the rankings by Prudential. In the home-seller segment rankings, Keller Williams is followed by Coldwell Banker.
The study finds that the highest-performing real estate companies are more consistent at capturing a greater proportion of the listing price. On average, sellers report receiving 89 percent of their listing price. The stud 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.
Higher levels of customer satisfaction also translate into higher levels of customer loyalty.
Notably, although the agent/salesperson has the largest impact on overall customer satisfaction among both home buyers and sellers, customer loyalty is stronger toward the real estate company than toward the agent. Less than 20 percent of customers say they “definitely will” switch real estate companies if their agent moves to another company.
“As customers continue to feel anxious about the current housing market, it requires a combination of a high-performing company, process and resources along with a truly exceptional agent to put home buyers and sellers at ease,” said Cooley. “At the end of the day, real estate companies may best satisfy their customers by keeping them informed, educating them on comparable sales information and following up with them after the closing.”
Additional Industry Findings
--The study finds that the majority of home buyers and sellers are experienced with the process, with 60 percent indicating they are repeat buyers and 70 percent indicating they are repeat sellers.
--Approximately one-third (33%) of customers indicate they are likely to consider buying or selling a home in the next 12 months.
--Among home buyers, 17 percent purchased a foreclosure and 14 percent purchased a short sale. Among sellers, 14 percent of sales were short sales.
The 2012 Home Buyer/Seller Study includes more than 2,990 evaluations from more than 2,790 respondents who bought or sold a home between March 2011 and April 2012. The study was fielded between March and May 2012.