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Were home buyers satisfied with the home buying process this year?

A shift in demographics

The housing market is undergoing a shift as older, more financially stable, often married couples make up the majority of the market as they are able to obtain financing despite extremely tight lending, according to the 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers which surveyed 5,708 home buyers and sellers. Not only has the demographic of the average buyer broken numerous patterns, search trends have adjusted slightly, but not nearly as dramatically as the shift in buyer demographics this year.

Now, home buyers spend an average of 12 weeks searching and tour an average of 12 homes, and that home buyers use the web as a starting point less this year (88 percent) than last year (91 percent) and buyers that search for a home online are actually more likely to use an agent – 91 percent of house hunters using the web use a Realtor.

Home buyers’ satisfaction with the process

Given that the majority of the American home buying population searches online and uses a real estate professional, it is interesting to look at overall satisfaction with the home buying process from start to finish which includes everyone from the mega-search sites to the local Realtor.

According to the NAR report, 58 percent of buyers this year were “very satisfied” with their recent home buying process, while a third were “somewhat satisfied” with the process and ten percent were “somewhat to very dissatisfied.”

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Although the majority are “very satisfied,” two in five were not exactly happy campers – is this because of the difficulty in lending, a bad experience with a Realtor, a confusing search process or is it just the overall stress of moving or investing in a down economy? The silver lining we see is that despite the negative responses, with over half of all respondents noting they were “very satisfied,” even in the face of the difficulties associated with buying this year, perhaps the reputation of the real estate professional is improving?

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