Brighter And some

How “dopey agents” have fuelled the growth of agent ratings sites

by Justin Watt, CEO 27 September 2017

I saw some stats recently that showed there is more money now made in providing services to the real estate industry than there is in the industry itself.

So it’s not surprising that the industry is plagued with hundreds of online services promising insights that will give buyers and sellers the upper hand in dealing with real estate agents.

One type of service I’m talking about is the rise of online rating sites for real estate agents – sites like Rate My Agent and Open Agent. They’re kind of like rating your Uber driver after a trip, but you rate your agent after you buy or sell a property.

In theory, providing transparent agent reviews should be a good thing. You can learn from others’ experience.

But I’m cynical about how it works in practice, and I reckon these sites get most of their traffic from agents looking at each other. They feed into the agent’s ego!

Did you know agents buy subscriptions to Rate My Agent to make their profile stand out?

We initially resisted buying a subscription because I didn’t see the value, but we eventually had to join because they were getting traffic.

I’m an entrepreneur trapped in a real estate agent’s body and I can tell you they’ve built a clever business model. These online businesses don’t make or sell anything. They take our agent profiles, pull our data on sales, then charge us to promote it. Dopey agents are building their businesses for them!

So can they tell you something valuable about an agent you might be considering doing business with? You tell me. I’ve never found a bad review on these sites!

I feel for sellers because there is not enough quality education in the market to help guide them through what is probably the biggest transaction they’ll make in their life.

Sellers don’t know commercially the questions they should ask. The risk is you take short-cuts, relying only on online ratings, instead of putting your agent through his or her paces.

Choosing the wrong agent can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. It takes most families 10 years or more to save $30,000 or $40,000 so it pays to do your homework.

What’s my tip for choosing the right agent to sell your home? Become a buyer.

Go to your prospective agent’s open homes. Get your friends and family to do the same. Make enquiries about the properties they’re selling. Do you like their response? Did they respond at all?

This is how they will treat enquiries about your home when they’re selling it. So you need to feel confident that you can trust your agent to work smart and work hard to bring in the buyers.

If you think you can get those insights from ratings websites that don’t say a bad word about agents, well good luck. But I’m a believer in testing how your agent works in the real world.

Want to put us through our paces? Contact us for a chat.

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