One-stop Shopping

Home buyers say convenience is what they want

June 1, 2008

A lot of home buyers don’t know that at some real estate brokerages they can get their mortgage, title insurance, home warranty, and other settlement services under one roof. But when they learn of the option, they want it, a survey of recent and future home buyers conducted in February by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and Harris Interactive found.

Whether the service providers are affiliated with the brokerage or not is less important than whether the services can be packaged together to make the process as convenient as possible, the survey found.

More than 70 percent said the attraction of one-stop shopping, at least as they perceive it, is the chance to close the transaction more quickly and conveniently, at less cost and with fewer missteps, than if all the services had to be cobbled together by the sales associate or someone else. Almost 80 percent say the biggest perceived benefit is the chance to save money. Just over 70 percent say they expect to see reduced likelihood of the transaction falling apart because of the ability of service providers to work together.

Despite giving the idea high marks, less than a third of home buyers, 29 percent, had actually used one-stop shopping and 70 percent had not heard of the concept prior to the survey.

The one-stop approach would have been even more foreign to them had the survey been conducted half a dozen years ago, in 2002, when only a fifth reported using one-stop shopping in a RealTrends survey, 45 percent fewer than today.

The survey suggests home buyers who’ve used one-stop shopping have a higher rate of satisfaction with their transaction experience, an 8.3 on a scale of 1 to 10, than those who haven’t. Their satisfaction rate is 7.6.

The survey is based on online responses from 1,446 households who either bought within the last two years or plan to buy within the next two years.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is the former director of multimedia communications at NAR.