Don’t Be Fooled By Realtor Reviews
The internet is a wealth of information, some pieces more valuable than others. One area of the web that has exploded in recent years is the area of consumer reviews. There are sites dedicated to the reviewing of anything and everything in the marketplace. Restaurants, hotels, contractors, doctors, lawyers, health clubs, and more are all subject to the comments of current and past patrons.
Naturally, the reach of consumer reviews has included the field of real estate agents as well. A quick internet search will reveal comments on just about any successful agent in your area. On the surface, it seems that this information should be invaluable to your hunt for the best agent. After all, what better way to judge the performance and ability of an agent than through the eye of a client who has recently worked with them? The concept is great – the reality, however, is not that simple.
The Problem with Web Reviews
No matter what is being reviewed, there is an inherent problem with the feedback you can find on the web. With the anonymity that comes with sitting behind a keyboard in your own home comes the ability to say whatever you want – true or not. There is very little (or nothing) standing in the way of anyone making an account and filing a ‘review’ about a particular business. That review could be based on actual experience, or it could be based on absolutely nothing.
Many Different Motivations
What would possess someone to leave a false review about a real estate agent? The motives could be many. Perhaps they are a competing agent trying to smear competitors in order to earn more business. Maybe they are a former employee that left on bad terms and just wishes to get even. Regardless of why they are posted, fake reviews are all too common around the web.
With that knowledge in hand, we need a good strategy for finding real reviews from actual clients that can give you insight into the ability of the agent. So how do you sort through the junk and find what’s real? The following tips will help –
- Multiple Reviews
If you are using a major review site that covers many different industries, look for reviews from members that have reviewed many different businesses over time. If you see a bad review left against an agent by a poster that has never reviewed anything else, there is a good bet it is fake. Why would they sign up and only review one business? Most real reviewers make a habit of reviewing a lot of the services they use through the years.
- Watch Out for Too-Good Reviews
Just like there are fake bad reviews, there are fake good ones as well. Real estate agents could leave reviews about their own business as a way to boost their image. Reviews that seem too enthusiastic, or offer too many details like phone numbers and web address, and more likely self-promotion than actual reviews.
- Use Common Sense
When you are on the lookout for fakes, it is pretty easy to find the real reviews. Think about what you would write if you were leaving a review – if the writing falls in line with the kind of information you would offer up, it is probably for real and can be trusted as good research.
There is no hard and fast way to tell for sure if reviews are legitimate or not. You will need to pay attention when surfing through the pages and make up your own mind as to what you believe and what you don’t. The good news is that there are real reviews out there and they can help to get a better picture of a certain real estate agency. Reviews should never be your sole decision making factor, but they can make up a piece of the puzzle.
Leaving Your Own Reviews
One of the best ways to improve the review system on the web is to leave your own accurate reviews of businesses you come into contact with. If you have recently worked with a real estate agent, consider choosing a review site and leaving your comments. Whether they are good, bad, or indifferent – someone out there could benefit from your insight down the road. Before you leave your review, think carefully about the whole experience you had with the agent and make sure to highlight both the good and the bad. Completely glowing reviews are usually not an accurate representation, and neither are terrible reviews – the truth is almost always somewhere in the middle.
For everything from picking your real estate agent to picking a place to eat dinner, consumer reviews can be a valuable tool to aid your buying decision. Using the tips above and some of your own common sense, keep the reviews in perspective and make them one portion of your thought process. Once all information is considered carefully, the right agent for you will probably become very clear.