Should Consumers Review Their Real Estate Agents Online?

By
Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

review of real estate agentsI am at a conference in Seattle for About.com. Every year About.com hosts a "guide event" for its writers. I don't know how many people write for About.com at the moment, but I imagine it's more than 700 or so. Everybody has their own little domain. Mine is Home Buying. I've been writing for About.com for a little over four years.

About.com is owned by The New York Times. We are a profit center for the NYT, which is good news because as we all know, newspapers are hurting financially, and I'd hate to see a great paper like the NYT go under. It's a sad time for print journalists everywhere in the country, and my heart goes out to them. My husband is a veteran newspaper journalist, and he's been looking for a job for the past 2 years without success.

People ask me how I can write articles and blogs for my About.com site and still sell as much real estate -- especially those Sacramento short sales -- as I do. I've probably sold around $10 million so far this year. It's because I am crazy. That's the only explanation I can come up with. The men and women who write for About.com are passionate about their topics and churn out content without getting bored or burned out. That's a special kind of craziness. Not everybody has it.

One of the things that I like about getting together with other About.comers is we all share a common trait, which means we can immediately relate to one another. Some of our readers treat us like royalty, which I think is pretty funny because we're just like anybody else in the world. We're not all that different than our readers except that we are considered to be an authority on our topics and are seriously dedicated to sharing our knowledge. So, if I ever have a question about anything, if I can't find the answer on About.com, I can ask my question directly to another guide who is happy to answer it because now the guide has another piece of content to write about.

Which leads me to the purpose of this blog today. We have new tools available to us at About.com that let readers interact, share experiences and review products. It can be used even if I don't have a product. I can just add it to the end of an article and let readers submit their reviews for me to moderate. I've been thinking about asking readers to review their real estate agents. But that can be a huge can o' worms.

Some readers, I suspect, don't have much of an opinion one way or the other. They bought or sold a home and got on with their lives. Others might have formed close bonds with their agent and were thrilled with the superior service they received. Then, there are those who are very unhappy. The kind who actually considered stabbing the tires on their agent's vehicles with steak knives. Part of their unhappiness is probably due to confusion and not understanding how the real estate business works. Part of the discontent is probably justified.

Real estate is complicated, and I know that clients don't really know what real estate agents do or why they do it. I'm a bit concerned that the readers who may feel inspired to respond will be ONLY those who are dissatisfied. Think about it -- how many letters do you write to corporations telling those businesses how great they are? Many people write only letters of complaint if, for no other reason, but to get an annoying irritation off their minds through a rant. That's why many polls are skewed. You get answers from people who hate or love something, extreme swings -- not from very many middle-of-the-roaders.

I'd hate to readers to come away with a worse opinion of real estate agents than many already possess. I can see it now, agents writing and demanding that I remove reviews, which I probably would not do. It would not be fair to remove a comment based on content. However, I am still intrigued by the idea. About.com is a powerful website. Among readers of this blog who are real estate agents, what do you think? Should I do it? If I do, would your clients have something nice to say about you?

Well, now we are off to the International District in search of a place my husband believes is the best Dim Sum in Seattle.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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Comments 12 New Comment

Ambassador
1,806,525
Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

I think you are right in your suspicions that only folks who are dissatisfied with their real estate transactions will go on and review their agents.  Best to not open up the can of worms.

July 18, 2010 01:00 PM
Ambassador
1,167,027
Norma Toering
Palos Verdes Homes in Los Angeles Area
Charlemagne International Properties

I'll ponder the question, but in the meantime dim sum sounds wonderful and I know a great place to go in LA.  Maybe I have time to stop before my open house.  Got to run...

July 18, 2010 01:59 PM
Ambassador
1,395,127
Tammy Lankford
Your Lake Sinclair Expert (706-485-9668)
Lane Realty

I'd do it.  I think it's a great idea.  There are good agents, there are bad agents and sometimes bad ones need to be "called out" for what they have done to clients. 

As for me, I ask all clients that conduct business with my company to RATE us when the deal is done.  And our results are usually very good.  Sometimes average, but usually very good. 

And if it gets out of hand... can you nix it?

July 18, 2010 04:28 PM
Ambassador
1,305,410
Jon Zolsky
Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

Elizabeth,

I am afraid what you can get may resemble the restaurant grading on line. You can see the worst and thhe best responces, and sometimes even made the same day

July 18, 2010 05:58 PM
Rainmaker
1,149,299
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Put 40 years of experience to work for you
Lyon Real Estate

That's the thing, Tammy, if it gets out of hand, I can't nix it. I'll let you know where I put it because I'm leaning toward including this form of reader interaction. There are good agents and bad agents just as there are good clients and bad clients. People who are really off the deep end tend to display their hand.

Thanks for resonding, everybody. I truly appreciate your input.

sacramento short sale agent

July 20, 2010 04:24 PM
Rainmaker
1,149,299

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents

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Additional Information

Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate, midtown Sacramento office. Selling since 1974. Homebuying expert at About.com. Best short sale agent in Sacramento. Elizabeth sells homes from Galt to Lincoln.
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Author Bio: Elizabeth Weintraub is a Sacramento real estate broker, author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, who specializes not only in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento but sells extensively from Elk Grove to Lincoln. Weintraub is prominently known as the #1 Sacramento Short Sale agent throughout the Sacramento four-county area. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you.