Start-up agent ranking websites such as Ratemyagent and OpenAgent aim to increase agent transparency, accountability and improve customer service by acting as the 'TripAdvisor' of the real estate industry.
Strathfield Partners Real Estate managing director Robert Pignataro, however, has a different opinion.
“As far as Ratemyagent, I think that website should be closed down; it is so inaccurate it is not funny,” he told Real Estate Business.
“If you have a look at the top 100 agents on Ratemyagent, they have got me selling 13 properties in one year and that is just ridiculous.
“The data is grossly inaccurate.
“Anyone can go into these websites and put a testimonial up, you could be an agent talking about another agent – it is silly,” he added.
Also speaking to Real Estate Business, Hockingstuart Northcote director and auctioneer Sam Rigopoulos is one of the top-ranking agents in Victoria on Ratemyagent.
“Personally, a majority of my business comes from referrals and recommendations and I know that is a preferred way for people to select anything in the service-based industry,” he said.
“I think these websites do provide an element of transparency, and as long as they remain transparent and independently run and managed, the consumer will benefit from them down the track.
“I think if agents start to have too much input on what goes on or what can be seen or not seen, then it starts to become a bit of a useless tool,” he added.
Crawford Property Group director Ryan Crawford said he feels the emergence of open-to-the-public rating sites like Ratemyagent are a step in the right direction for consumers.
“It will allow consumers to better identify potential performers in their area before selecting an agent,” he told Real Estate Business.
“However, customers should be aware that only agents who take the time to register on the site will be shown, and as such it’s not a full representation of all performers in the marketplace at this stage.”