December 2017

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ranked Highest for Repeat Home Seller Satisfaction in J.D. Power's 2017 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction StudySM

Business Wire | September 06, 2017

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, an HSF Affiliates LLC company, today announced that the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices real estate brokerage network ranked "Highest Overall Satisfaction for Repeat Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms" in the J.D. Power 2017 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study SM.
Ranked highest overall satisfaction for repeat homesellers among nat'l full service #realestate firms by @JDPower!

The 10th annual study measured customer satisfaction among the nation's largest real estate brokerage companies and their agents through March and April. Overall satisfaction was gauged across five factors of the real estate process: agent/salesperson, closing process, real estate company marketing, real estate company office, and package of additional services. The study was based on responses from 4,170 consumers.
Among repeat home sellers, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices scored 858 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in the categories agent/sales person, closing process and real estate company marketing.
"Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices stands for top-quality real estate representation in markets across America," said Gino Blefari, CEO and president of the network. "We're proud to accept this award, as it spotlights the exemplary service network agents and their brokerages provide every day."
The ranking, "highest for repeat home seller satisfaction," speaks volumes, Blefari added. "Repeat home sellers have been through the real estate process before and have a clear understanding of the work and expertise involved in a successful home sale," he explained. "This type of satisfaction means Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network agents are excelling when it comes to communicating with clients and listing and marketing clients' homes. That's the 'heavy lifting' of real estate."
J.D. Power's study yielded several key findings about the real estate process. Among them:
  • An agent's relationship with a buyer is the most important factor in determining customer satisfaction. For sellers, marketing of the home is the most important factor, as it is the most visible way for the seller to gauge the agent's support.
  • Satisfaction is strongly influenced by the amount of time agents invest in keeping customers informed vs. when they are not kept informed. Among first-time buyers and sellers, satisfaction is 117 points higher among buyers and 93 points higher among sellers. Among repeat buyers and sellers, satisfaction is 210 points higher among buyers and 192 points higher among sellers when they receive a timely response to questions and concerns vs. when they do not.
  • Word-of-mouth remains important: First-time home buyers and sellers report good reputation and recommendations from friends, family and colleagues as the two main reasons for selecting a real estate company.
"With the real estate market remaining strong, it is more important than ever that agents, buyers and sellers focus on the trade basics, especially for first-timers," said Greg Truex, senior director of the at-home practice at J.D. Power. "When agents remain transparent, informative and responsive, they can greatly impact customer satisfaction and increase agent reputation and recommendations."


Techies are leaving San Francisco, but where are they going?


San Francisco's role as the center of the American technology industry could be changing. Skyrocketing real estate prices, along with other employment and other demographic trends, are forcing tech companies and workers alike to reconsider the attractions of living in the City by the Bay.

Recent Census data for 2016 shows that several of California's most tech-friendly cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego are all showing net out-migration, or more people are leaving the area than coming in. And these aren't the only U.S. cities losing population. Census data also shows more people leaving Chicago and New York than are arriving. But where are they going? And why?

Whither techies?

The Census data names Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, most of Florida, Austin, and Dallas as cities showing the greatest net in-migration, or more people coming than going, each with a net gain of more than 5,000 people in 2016. Maricopa county, home to the cities of Phoenix and Mesa, added more than 200 people per day in 2016. Seattle gained more than 1,000 new residents every week.

According to Tim Helenthal, President and COO of the national moving company National Van Lines says, "As real estate prices jump in many metro areas, we see a lot of moves away from expensive cities to places with active jobs markets and a more affordable cost of living."

For tech industry workers, jobs are just part of the equation. "Real estate markets where the cost of living is lower are desirable to tech workers looking to leave San Francisco," says Helenthal. "We're seeing movers going to job markets like Seattle and Austin where there are a lot of tech-related jobs, and we also see cities like Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Portland, and St. Paul where the job market isn't as hot, but have a substantially lower cost of living than San Francisco."

Silicon Valley's loss could be these cities' gain. Lani Rosales, Chief Operating Officer at Austin-based entrepreneurship news site, The American Genius, and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, says, "There's a lot of uncertainty from fellow media organizations in Silicon Valley about the tech sector there, but here in Austin, we're optimistic. We still have a lot of larger companies like Oracle coming to town for the lower operating costs along with a healthy and diverse homegrown startup culture. We're also first in the country for angel investment and fourth for software-related VC investment."

Real estate costs are a driver

It's little wonder money is driving tech workers and others out of the Bay Area. In San Francisco, where the median cost of a home has reached the $1.5 million mark, a salary of $105,300 is considered low income for a family of four, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. By contrast, the low-income limits for the U.S. as a whole are just $24,000. This puts pressure on workers to negotiate high salaries simply to afford a home, and pressures employers to keep costs low-often by hiring in less-expensive markets.

By contrast, in Seattle-the fastest rising housing market on the West Coast, and another tech hub-the median cost of a home reached $722,000 in July. Home prices on Seattle's Eastside-where many tech companies, including Microsoft, are located-are higher, but still less than half the cost of the Bay Area. In many of the other popular destinations for movers, such as Portland, Phoenix, and Austin, median home prices are lower still: half the cost of Seattle, and a quarter the cost of San Francisco.

Work from anywhere but California

The rising cost of living for tech workers in the Bay Area could be feeding into another trend that's affecting workers and employers around the globe: the work-from-home revolution.

According to Eddie Knoell, owner of Signature Home Loans, a residential mortgage brokerage in the Phoenix Valley, "We're seeing a growing trend of IT industry workers who work from home remotely and are still employed by Bay Area companies. They're moving to Phoenix to get away from the high cost of living in the Bay Area, yet are compensated at a higher rate than their counterparts who are employed by local companies."

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