Satisfaction with the nation's largest real estate companies has reached a five-year low.
J.D. Power and Associates' newly released 2012 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study says, "Overall satisfaction among home buyers (using large national realty companies) 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." Seller satisfaction numbers were even lower, at 768.
The survey measures satisfaction with the largest national realty companies in categories including "agent/salesperson, office, and variety of additional services" for buyers, and those plus "marketing" for sellers.
The survey included 2,790 respondents, most of whom have been around the block before. 60 percent were repeat buyers, and 70 percent were repeat sellers. So the decline doesn't look like it necessarily came from a surge in new people on the market.
Instead, the survey says, "The agent/salesperson has the largest impact on overall customer satisfaction among both home buyers and sellers."
How can you make sure you get the right pros? Check out this video where we interviewed an experienced mortgage broker and real estate agent about what to look for. Then read on for details…
The Mortgage Pro
The first person buyers need (unless they're flush with cash) is a mortgage expert. A pro will help you figure out what kind of mortgage you can get based on your credit and offer advice if your credit needs help. They'll also help you decide which type of mortgage best suits your needs (15-year or 30 and adjustable-rate or fixed). Then, they'll walk you through the pre-approval process so you'll be ready to nab that perfect home before someone else does.
A mortgage expert's job is to provide three numbers: the mortgage amount you're able to qualify for, the cash you'll need to close, and the monthly payments you'll ultimately fork over. As mortgage pro Rob Hurst says in the video above, "Once you know and accept those three numbers, you're more comfortable writing a contract" - because you know exactly what you're getting into.
So how do you pick a mortgage pro? Here's Hurst's advice:
Of course, recommendations work both ways. A local mortgage professional may be able to help you find a good real estate agent too.
The real estate agent
A real estate agent isn't essential for a buyer or a seller. Owners can deal directly with buyers, and they often do. Many buyers prefer it because that saves them thousands on commissions, which means a potentially lower price.
But a good real estate agent can help in major ways. Real estate agent Denny Grimes says, "A lot can go wrong, from an appraisal issue to a negotiation issue, to an inspection issue… Everything along the way can cost a percent or two, and that adds up."
Having the right person to help buyers find the right house at the right price (or help sellers price and market theirs effectively) may well be worth it. Grimes' advice…
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