The results of a recent poll, commissioned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), show that not only have real estate consumers grown comfortable with affiliated business arrangements but also that lots of clients prefer them. That might encourage doubting real estate companies to rethink their current stances about those sorts of arrangements.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey on NAR’s behalf, and the questions tracked the same issues that were queried in separate polls in 2002, 2008, and 2010. Each time, the audience was limited to people who bought a home within the past 24 months or who plan to buy one in the next 24 months. Qualifying responders also must have used or plan to use the services of a real estate agent, mortgage lender, escrow provider, home insurer, home inspector, or home-warranty company. NAR sought the study to better understand consumer preferences for one-stop shopping (OSS), which affiliated businesses typically offer.

Among the survey’s more definitive conclusions was that the vast majority of consumers (97%) believe that OSS makes the home-buying process at least somewhat easier. “Those who used [OSS] in their last real estate purchase have a significantly higher satisfaction level than those who used multiple sources,” the Harris Poll found. Also the use of OSS increased from 20% of transactions in 2002 to 50% of transactions in 2015. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said their real estate agent offered a full range of home-buying services—more than double that from 2002. For 68% of consumers, the availability of OSS had a positive impact on their choice of real estate agent.

Those who used one-stop shopping in their last real estate purchase have a significantly higher satisfaction level than those who used multiple sources.

–Harris Survey (Oct. 6, 2015)

The long-term nature of the survey indicates that affiliated business arrangements are here to stay. Done right, they can increase consumer satisfaction as well as your company’s curb appeal. In addition, Congress created a safe-harbor provision in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) for affiliated businesses that meet certain requirements. Qualified legal counsel can help you understand whether a proposed arrangement would satisfy those requirements.