Study: Client-agent relationship a key factor in customer satisfaction

The client-real estate agent relationship will go a long way in determining how satisfied a customer is going to be with the entire home buying or selling process. First-time buyers need agents to reassure them and keep them informed to offer a seamless process, according to the J.D. Power 2014 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study.

The study tracks customer satisfaction among first-time and repeat home buyers and sellers with the nation’s largest real estate companies. Four factors are used to measure overall satisfaction in the home-buying experience: agent/salesperson; real estate office; closing process; and variety of additional services. For satisfaction in the selling process, the same four factors are measured along with a fifth factor, marketing.

The main takeaway from the study is that while the agent-client relationship is the most important element in determining satisfaction with buyers, for sellers, the marketing of the home is the most critical factor. This is because it is easier for sellers to assess how an agent is supporting the sale through tangible marketing efforts.

Overall satisfaction with real estate companies is higher among repeat customers, compared with first-time buyers or sellers. Buyers and sellers also tend to choose a real estate firm based on its reputation (30 percent of buyers, 35 percent of sellers), past experience with the agent (21 percent of buyers, 25 percent of sellers), and recommendations (24 percent of buyers, 21 percent of sellers).

Other findings include: the 2014 average listing price, $200,000, remains unchanged from 2013, the average number of open houses per listing is three, and the average number of showings to sell a home is nearly eight times.

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