Rachael Micallef and Simon Parker
A website that allows consumers to rate and review real estate agents has been given the thumbs up by agents who have already appeared on the fledgling site.
Rate that Agent launched in June of this year among mixed opinion over how the site would be received.
But already, four agents that have been rated on the website told Real Estate Business that the concept was helping to move the real estate industry forward.
“I think it’s a great initiative” said Barry Goldman, from Raine and Horne Double Bay, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
“I think that in the future it will play a part in helping clients to reassure themselves that they are using agents that have a good reputation.”
Rate that Agent allows users to review individual agents according to a five-star rating and gives agents the option to create online profiles where they can respond to specific feedback and connect with users.
Consumers can also review agents who have not connected to the site, allowing agents to be subject to criticism they might not be aware of.
While only in its infancy, the site already has a wide range of feedback, which ranges in scale from glowing reviews to the very damning.
“I had the misfortune of having him show me around one unit,” said one review.
“He spoke down to me, rushed his presentation and generally acted as if he had better things to do than help. If that is the case then I wonder about his career choice.”
Agents do not seem to be perturbed by the bad feedback some consumers have given to others in the industry.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a numbers game but if you have 500 customers giving reviews, the chances of all 500 being unhappy is probably not that high,” said Rasmus Nielsen, from LJ Hooker at Victoria Park, in Perth.
“And even so, at least you have an opportunity to respond and defend yourself.”
Peter Taliangis, from Realty One at Winthrop in Perth, said that agents who are getting poor reviews are often overlooking simple tasks.
“If you’ve got bad reviews then you’ve got to work better and there are obviously things that you need to address,” he said.
“Quite often I find that if there is a bad review it’s because there has been a communication issue along the way and clients have not understood the process.”
Although Rate that Agent has been met with agent approval, speculation about the website’s future is mixed.
“I think it needs a bit of publicity” said Mr Goldman, “it needs to be used by many agents before it becomes effective.”
While he sees a place for the new website, Jonathon Crisp from Chapman Real Estate in Springwood, NSW, doesn’t think it will replace existing real estate strategies, or the importance of word of mouth referrals.
“I think the website is a great idea but I don’t know how many people are going to physically log on unless they are extremely happy or extremely upset,” he said.
“I don’t think it will be thousands of people rushing to that site but I do think it’s a good thing for the industry.”