US buyers and sellers more dissatisfied

US Homes

By Andrew Batt

A new study from the United States of America shows that home-buyer satisfaction is at an all-time low, and that home-seller satisfaction is also declining.

The Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study, published by JD Power and Associates, found that overall satisfaction among home buyers is at its lowest level in the five-year 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

Christina Cooley, senior manager of the real estate practice at JD Power and Associates, said: "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."

She added: "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."

The study found 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.

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.

Cooley added: "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. 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."

The study included 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 conducted between March and May 2012.

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