Sellers don't like the prices they are forced to tag onto their listings, buyers think the condition of homes for sale stink, and real estate companies are left holding the bag.
Overall home buyer satisfaction averaged 789 on a 1,000-point scale, compared with 797 in 2011. Keller Williams scored highest with 818, but not much more than the overall average.
For home buyers, after Keller Williams, came Prudential, 803 and Coldwell Banker at 791. Falling below the average home buyer satisfaction level was RE/MAX, scoring 788 and Century 21, at 764. Only 54 points, on a 1,000 point scale, separated the top company from the bottom company.
Satisfaction among home sellers was down also and lower, averaging 768, compared with 779 in 2011. Among sellers, Keller Williams was also tops, scoring 800, followed by Coldwell Banker, 772; Prudential, 766; RE/MAX, 760 and also last among sellers, Century 21 at 751. Only 49 points, on a 1,000 point scale, separated the top company from the bottom company.
The study of the largest national real estate companies measures overall customer satisfaction based on components of the home-buying experience: agent/salesperson; the real estate office; and a variety of additional services. Four factors are examined for the home-selling experience: agent/salesperson; marketing; office; and variety of additional services.
"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," said Christina Cooley, senior manager of the real estate practice at J.D. Power.
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.
Sellers who want a better listing price might want to consider a higher scoring company, according to J.D. Power. On average, sellers reported receiving about 89 percent of their listing price and the highest-scoring companies were more consistent at capturing a greater proportion of the listing price.
The study reveals the obvious - high levels of customer satisfaction translate into higher levels of customer loyalty - but not necessarily to the real estate agent.
Customer loyalty more often extends to the real estate company. Fewer than 20 percent of customers say they "definitely will" switch real estate companies if their agent moves to another company.
"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," said Cooley.
"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," Cooley added.
Other findings include:
Most home buyers and sellers are experienced with the process, 60 percent said they are repeat buyers and 70 percent indicated they were repeat sellers.
Approximately one-third (33 percent) of customers indicate they are likely to consider buying or selling a home in the next 12 months.
Among home buyers, 17 percent purchased a foreclosure and 14 percent purchased a short sale. Among sellers, 14 percent of sales were short sales.