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In a new survey of homebuyers and sellers, Century 21 received top marks for consumer satisfaction across all four categories studied, giving the brokerage the highest rank among the largest real estate companies in the U.S.

The rankings come from the J.D. Power 2014 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study, released Wednesday, and measure customer satisfaction with the agent/salesperson, real estate office, closing process and a “variety of additional services.” For customers selling their homes, companies were also evaluated on marketing performance.

The Top-Ranked National Real Estate Companies

This is the seventh annual study from J.D. Power, and its results are based on feedback from first-time and repeat homebuyers and sellers. Five national real estate companies received two scores in each of the four areas of the study. Each company scored in the 800s on the Consumer Satisfaction Index (on a 1,000-point scale), but top honors are separated by the J.D. Power.com Power Circle Ratings, which range from 2 to 5, 5 being the highest.

The following lists name the agencies that received a 5 or 4 in the Power Circle Ratings in each category, along with their Customer Satisfaction Index Scores. Keep in mind J.D. Power only scored five national companies: Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Prudential and RE/MAX. Professionals from a variety of agencies can deliver an exceptional home-buying or -selling experience, regardless of size.

First-Time Homebuyers
Century 21 (848) — 5
Prudential (846) — 5

Repeat Homebuyers
Century 21 (852) — 5
Prudential (847) — 4
Coldwell Banker (844) — 4

First-Time Home Sellers
Century 21 (833) — 5
RE/MAX (831) — 5
Prudential (824) — 4

Repeat Home Sellers
Century 21 (836) — 5
Keller Williams (829) — 4

For buyers, the most important facet of working with a real estate firm is their relationship with their agents, the study found, but sellers prioritize marketing above relationships. As far as how consumers choose their agents, 30% of buyers and 35% of sellers choose a company based on its reputation, making that the leading factor in the decision. Beyond reputation, 21% of buyers choose companies because of past experience with agents (25% of sellers), and 24% of buyers and 21% of sellers choose based on a recommendation.

No matter how you decide a firm will meet your needs, there’s plenty of other decisions and research that go into the buying or selling process. For the house hunters, it’s crucial to have your finances in order before you start working with an agent and viewing properties. Otherwise, you may find a home and be unable to buy it because your credit and necessary financial documents aren’t up to snuff. Here are some tips for the first-time homebuyer, and no matter when you think you’ll start looking for a home, take a look at your credit reports and scores to see what work needs to be done so you can buy your dream home in the future. You can see two of your credit scores every month for free on Credit.com.

More on Mortgages and Homebuying:

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