Re/Max ranks highest in customer satisfaction among both buyers and sellers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Home Buyer/Seller Study, released July 27.
Although it's still a buyers' market, home buyers indicate they are less satisfied with real estate company services compared with 2010, while home-seller satisfaction has improved during the same time period.
The study, now in its fourth year, 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 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.
Re/Max's high ranking is based primarily on strong performance in the "agent" and "office" factors in the study, says Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at Westlake Village, Calif.-based J.D. Power and Associates.
"Specifically, agent behaviors such as responsiveness, returning phone calls in a timely manner, keeping clients informed throughout the process really drive the agent ratings," Howland tells Marketing Daily. "In terms of the offices, this is an area where in recent years, some brands have scaled back. Our study shows that the office is still an important factor, and can be a differentiator for the brand."
Re/Max scores have been improving over time, and in this last study wave they managed to maintain consistent scoring from previous waves, while some other players dropped a bit, Howland adds. It is the only company to rank high on both the buyer and seller side.
"I'm not convinced that the seller side and the buyer side always get equal attention in the marketplace," Howland says. "In terms of benefits like word-of-mouth, referral, customer willingness to use the same agent and broker for their next transaction, there is value to having a focus on both sides of the transaction."
Overall satisfaction among home buyers averages 797 on a 1,000-point scale in 2011 -- a decrease of six points from 2010. The decrease is primarily due to lower satisfaction with the agent/salesperson, which is the most influential aspect of buyer satisfaction with the real estate company. Agent/salesperson satisfaction averages 814 in 2011, compared with 828 in 2010.
In the home-buyer segment, Re/Max ranks highest with a score of 805. Following Re/Max in the rankings are Coldwell Banker (802) and Better Homes & Gardens (801). Coldwell Banker performs particularly well in the agent/salesperson factor, while Better Homes & Gardens performs well in the variety of additional services factor.
Among home sellers, Re/Max ranks highest with a score of 791 and performs particularly well in the agent/salesperson and office factors. Next is Prudential (786) and Century 21 (785). Century 21 performs particularly well in the variety of additional services factor.
The 2011 Home Buyer/Seller Study includes more than 4,200 evaluations from more than 3,680 respondents who bought or sold a home between March 2010 and April 2011. The study was fielded between March and May 2011.