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A single reliable rating system for real estate agents and consumers

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The California Association of Realtors along with MLSListings, Inc. announced yesterday their joint pilot launch of the Realtor Ratings Program in an effort to create an industry standard across northern California.

“Despite the variety of real estate agent review sites, there is no single consistent standard for comparison among agents, nor in many cases, reliability of the reviews themselves,” explained Jim Harrison, president and CEO of MLSListings. “Through this program, we’re looking to create a system that combines third-party verification with real transaction participants, involving the agents and brokers in the process, and provide information that consumers can trust as a legitimate and thorough evaluation.”

“Not only is the REALTOR® Ratings program a way to make sure that REALTORS® are being rated accurately based on actual transactions, but it also helps raise the bar of professionalism in the real estate industry and provides accountability for the REALTOR®,” said C.A.R. Treasurer Don Faught.

Faught, in a video, describes the need for such a  program, acknowledges that ratings are happening whether Realtors like it or not, and this is their (CAR’s) way of taking control of how their Realtors are being portrayed.

Northern California brokers from Intero Real Estate Services, Bailey Properties, Alain Pinel Realtors, Sereno Group, Realty World, and Legacy Real Estate have volunteered as local pilot participants, making the program available to their agents in several diverse markets from Monterey to the Peninsula, and across to Fremont and the East Bay. Clients of the participating agents will receive a survey of close to a dozen questions evaluating their complete transaction experience, and Quality Service Certification (QSC) will manage the data collection, analysis and display.

Realtors can offer a link to their ratings page via an email signature or web page banner, as well as neighborhood flyer and other promotional opportunities. Additionally, consumers will be able to view REALTOR® Rated agents via the QSC website directory. The pilot program is slated to run for the next several months, as participants evaluate its feasibility and ways to improve upon the process.

Editorial:

We wince at language like control, or ideals like placing Realtors in the driver’s seat. In essence, it implies that Realtors are not in control of whether they provide outstanding service and are not in control of their destiny in the eyes of consumers. Control ensures suspicion in the minds of consumers.

We believe it’s the right program with the wrong direction and communications plan. Ultimately, ratings should place consumers in control and consumers in the drivers seat to making more informed decisions. This above all else creates trust between the brand and the consumer, and with trust comes loyalty.

Is anyone thinking about the consumer anymore?

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Jeff Brown

    March 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Reviews or ratings, whatever it’s called, is a farce. Regardless of intent, good/bad/indifferent, it’ll be successfully gamed. Reputation is reputation and its impact is guided by the market, and word of mouth, not some silly ‘review’ setup. Review of widgets has made sense. It can also be gamed but is, relatively speaking, proven reliable.

    I’ve seen for a couple years now what review of service providers looks like. It’s fraudulent, and ugly at its core. Beware for what you wish.

  2. Christa Borellini

    March 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I like the idea, but how can the ratings truly be reliable. I have been personally targeted by someone (who I think is another Realtor because of the information they have). This person has been putting bogus reviews about me on a few different sites. The most recent is Zillow. When I reported the false review to Zillow (with as much proof as I could provide.) they didn’t even email me to tell me they investigated the review. I would love to find the clients that this reviewer was impersonating, but they have since moved out of state.
    Anyway, a truly reliable rating system would be wonderful…I just don’t know if it is possible.

  3. Missy Caulk

    March 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I heard about this a little today. Our Board of Directors was doing a strategy vision 2 day with a consultant.
    But, I thought he said the reviews would go to the Brokers who could sit down with the Realtors and they were not public.

    He did mention CA and the QCS but perhaps it is not the same service. Anyway, it didn’t make the short list of our goals for the next two years.

    He felt it would raise the bar for our profession. I’m not sure.

  4. Ralph Bell

    March 15, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    People are more inclined to complain online than they are to give kudos. They feel their anonymity allows them to say anything they want with little to no recourse.

  5. Mike McGrath

    March 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

    The average buyer is 30 and has been raised on Amazon and Ebay who constantly hone the algorithm to be reliable. I have noticed that whenever something has worked for any other industry, OR the customers want to see it (read the WAVGroup report; bad ratings make customers trust you MORE because you have the guts to be transparent), somehow the greater real estate consensus is that it will not work for real estate. As someone who spent 10 years as an agent/broker I know that technology in real estate is here to stay AND so is service. Great technology + great service = 21st century top producer. Great technology + mediocre service = mediocre results. No technology + great service = about 3-7 more years to be a top producer unless solely a listing agent, then you will have to adapt to the needs of your customer as more power is incrementally being put in their hands through technology.

  6. Matt

    March 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    From what I can see, it looks like it is modeled on the Houston Association of Realtors model. I think reviews are a good thing, and I also really agree with the concerns about the way CAR is introducing the program with an emphasis on control for the realtor… it comes across (to me, at least) as being incredibly patronizing to consumers.

  7. MH for Movoto

    March 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Definitely agree with Jeff Brown. Ratings are just another one of those things that seem like a good idea but will never actually achieve meaning/consistency in practice. Also, “control”? Isn’t that precisely NOT the point?

    In the end, smart home buyers and sellers won’t be swayed by a couple of stars here or there. They’ll recommend based on their gut and their experience and that’s it.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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