The housing bust in recent years has not only driven prices down, but also substantially lowered the number of houses that are sold on a monthly basis.   In response to the steep decline in transactions real estate agencies are cutting back services and leaving more of the work to be done by the clients themselves.  However in its second annual study J.D. Power and Associates concluded services are actually more important to home buyers/sellers in a tight market.

J.D. Power’s polling results show that the importance of additional services has increased by 12 percentage points among buyers and by 8 percentage points among sellers from last year alone.  Simultaneously the survey reports that the use of these services has declined due to cutbacks among services offered by real estate agencies.

“In a tight market, every aspect of service offered will be scrutinized very closely,” Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates said. “For this reason, it is critical for real estate companies to promote the value that they bring to buyers and sellers, not only in any additional services they offer, but also in their agents and operations.”

Choosing and agent is a tough decision in the best of times, and can be downright daunting in hard economic times such as these.  Looking into the services offered by a prospective agency is a great place to start.  Not all companies are cutting services. In fact some are even offering new and creative options to help their clients such as the Mortgage relief Package.

Other findings in the study include:

  • The proportion of first-time home buyers has increased considerably — to 56% in 2009 from 44% in 2008.
  • For both buyers and sellers, the agent is still the most important driver of overall satisfaction.
  • Home sellers report that, on average, 3.2 open houses were conducted for their property in 2009, compared with 4.5 in 2008.
  • Approximately 64% of home sellers used a Web site listing to market their home in 2009, up from 61% in 2008.

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