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Housing News

A single reliable rating system for real estate agents and consumers

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.


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.

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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. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  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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