What's the number one reason homebuyers and sellers select a particular real estate firm? According to the J.D. Power 2018 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Survey released yesterday, it's “reputation."
Reputation matters most for 44 percent of first-time sellers and 39 percent for first-time buyers. Apparently, reputation outweighs personal recommendations and past experience with agents or salespeople.
Among repeat sellers and buyers, however, it's a slightly different story. For that group, reputation is second. Experience with agents or salespeople is the main reason repeat buyers and sellers go with a particular firm.
“Real estate firms are recognizing that their value proposition has shifted from that of information broker to trusted advisor; as a result, we're seeing increases in customer satisfaction in each of the segments of homebuyers and sellers," said Craig Martin, senior director of financial services at J.D. Power. “The challenge for these companies is to consistently demonstrate and communicate the value to current and potential customers ."
If a buyer or seller merely wants information, they can find it many places. A significant majority (88%) of homebuyers begin their search for a new home before selecting an agent.
When it comes to finding an agent, social media plays a big role. Nearly half (47 percent) of buyers and 55 percent of sellers indicate using social media to find agents, with the majority in each case saying they were “delighted" after doing so. Some buyers, mainly first-timers, are using social media to find their new home, as well.
Strong customer satisfaction builds loyalty and advocacy. Across customer segments, high levels of overall satisfaction with the firm is directly correlated with likelihood to use the firm again for a future transaction and recommend the firm to others. More than 50 percent of recommendations a customer makes result in new business for real estate companies.
Real estate agents play critical role of guiding customers through the process. Among both buyers and sellers, overall satisfaction scores are notably higher when agents provide timely responses to questions, keep customers informed of key points in the transaction, and share comparable properties.
For more information, see the J.D. Power press release.