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Home sellers not so happy with their realty agents

Buyers are pleased, though. And agents find ways to get their licks in.

By Karen Datko Aug 4, 2010 6:28PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

Home sellers are not a happy bunch, judging from a new survey on customer satisfaction with the nation's largest real-estate companies.

 

The survey, by J.D. Power and Associates, asked buyers to rate companies based on the sales agent, the office and other services. Sellers were asked to score companies on the agents, marketing, office and other services.

 

Here's what the survey found:

  • Buyers were happiest, giving companies an average of 803 points out of 1,000 -- a 12-point increase over last year.
  • Buyers awarded Keller Williams top points for the third year running. Second place went to Prudential and third to Coldwell Banker.
  • Sellers were less satisfied. They gave companies an average of 742 points -- 40 points fewer than last year.
  • Prudential's sellers were the most satisfied of the bunch, followed by Keller Williams and RE/MAX.

Sellers frustrated with low prices are taking it out on their agents. That's pretty much MarketWatch's interpretation of the survey:

It's harder to sell a home these days, and sellers need to price aggressively and make price reductions if necessary to interest a buyer. Their real-estate agents are often the bearer of that hard-to-digest news.

Years of seller frustration

Realtors, like many salespeople, are constantly taking the pulse of their customers. In 2009, the National Association of Realtors unveiled its large national survey of customer trends, demographics and attitudes, noting a record high (since 1981) in the proportion -- 47% -- of first-time buyers (median age: 30; median income: $61,600).

If California is an indication, sellers are becoming pickier (or more discerning): 54% of sellers interviewed more than five agents before settling on one to work with, compared with 50% in 2008 and 21% in 2007, says the California Association of Realtors' 2009-2010 survey of seller clients.

And get this: "Close to two-thirds of all sellers sold their home with an agent other than the agent with whom they initially listed the home."

Anyway, seller unhappiness is not breaking news. In California, at least, it has been growing for years. The 2008 California Association of Realtors (.pdf file) found that:

In 2005, 70% of sellers agreed their agent "got the best price for my home." In 2008, only 43% agreed.

Agents get theirs

Don't weep for those maligned agents. When they gather, they get their licks in. A City-Data.com board called Realtor Gripes! features Realtors telling tales on their clients. It's a few years old but still good for chuckles. "MiamiRob" starts the thread:

I love most of my clients but there have been a few that truly border on the absurd or insane!
I'll go first: A couple getting divorced and selling their home. They lived under the same roof but wouldn't talk to each other so I had to be the negotiator between them even though they were 5 feet apart at the time.
And people say we don't earn our commissions!

"MissyM" contributes this:

I toured a house once that had a stuffed deceased spaniel, on a utility table in the bonus room.

And the tale from "TampaKaren" trumps all:

I was showing a home to two buyers. I had scheduled the appointment through the seller's Realtor. Apparently the Realtor did not get in touch with the sellers beforehand even though she told us to go ahead. One of the buyers swung open the double doors to the Master Bedroom and began to scream. Yep, sellers having sex. Buyer closed the door and wanted to leave immediately. It was embarrassing at the time, but in retrospect, it's hilarious!

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