Home sellers surveyed by JD Power and Associates expressed greater satisfaction with the way their properties were marketed than a year ago. But frustrated buyers seem to be blaming agents for problems that interfered with them closing a deal.

The survey of more than 3,680 buyers and sellers found that buyers were shown nine homes, on average, before making a purchase, down from 17.5 in last year’s survey.

The survey, conducted in March, April and May, included respondents who’d bought or sold a home between March 2010 and April 2011.

Sellers said their property was shown an average of 8.6 times prior to a sale, down from 12.1 showings in last year’s survey.

Six in 10 buyers and sellers said their agent asked them for a referral or recommendation, up from 47 percent in 2010 — an indication of the key role referrals play in landing business.

The study asked homebuyers about the services provided by their agent, their agent’s office, and the variety of additional services provider.

Overall satisfaction among homebuyers was down six points from 2010, to an average of 797, primarily due to lower agent scores. Homebuyers may be blaming agents for problems getting a loan or surprises at the closing table, JD Power said.

"Agents who properly manage client expectations around the homebuying process and communicate with clients about potential challenges — such as higher requirements for down payments, tighter loan standards and additional costs on top of the monthly mortgage — may be better able to keep clients satisfied," JD Power said in releasing the results of the survey.

Among buyers, RE/MAX ranked first with a score of 805, followed by Coldwell Banker (802), Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate (801), and Keller Williams (799). Scoring at or below the segment average of 797 were Prudential (797), Century 21 (796), ERA (773), and Real Living (743).

Home sellers were asked to rate their agent and office, the marketing services provided to sell their home, and the variety of additional services.

Among home sellers, the average score climbed 37 points from 2010, to 779. The greatest gain was in seller satisfaction with marketing, which was up 62 points from a year ago.

The variety of additional services and office factors have increased in importance to overall satisfaction among sellers, JD Power said. Because many real estate companies have made cutbacks in additional services and offices, sellers may be missing these amenities, providing an opportunity for companies to improve satisfaction.

Among home sellers, RE/MAX ranked first with a score of 791, followed by Prudential (786) and Century 21 (785). Scoring at or below the segment average of 779 among sellers were Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate (778), Coldwell Banker (763), and Keller Williams (745).

In a separate survey, JD Power reported a significant decline in satisfaction with mortgage servicers, which it attributed to frustration among homeowners with unfavorable loan terms and negative media coverage of reported abuses committed against homeowners.

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