Both agent review sites I mentioned…

last week have officially launched:

In terms of design and functionality, Incredible Agents is clearly ahead of the game at this point, but that is probably to be expected of a site in it’s second iteration

Incredible Agents has two features I find particuly interesting:

  • A scoring system that gives every agent a value based on their experience (years in business, number of homes sold, etc) and activity on the site.
  • Agent Interviews. This allows a consumer to “interview” multiple agents with a set of questions while remaining anonymous.  From a consumer point of view, this is a fascinating feature and it would be interesting to see if Incredible Agents can get consumer interest around this feature.

The features that make AgentRank interesting:

  • An API so that anyone can access their database of agents and reviews
  • Potentially more objectivity since agents can’t buy ads or placement on their site.

I find both of these sites interesting.  Assuming that one of these review sites starts to get some serious consumer traction, then that site will have just added one more thing for agents to track.

(By the way, I can’t help but note that, at least according to Google, the best agent recommendations still come from a real estate professional on RCG as oppose to an automated scoring system.  😉 )

10 responses

  1. Hello Dustin,

    Very interesting but I think you found the real issue…

    “Assuming that one of these review sites starts to get some serious consumer traction”

    Personally, I love the idea but I don’t think it will happen. The reason is because the consumer is not actually looking for this service as noted by annual NAR Homebuyer & Seller reports and CAR buyer reports.

    Year after year it has been reported by the NAR that the consumer interviews an average of one agent… yes one.

    The most important decision is selecting the agent is how quickly they responded to the consumer’s inquiry. Usually the inquiry is regarding a specific property they are interested in and not an interview to hire them as their agent.

    I think services like these will be used more in the future but only to validate the reputation of the agent they are “already” working with. I also think that this maybe used more by sellers than buyers.

  2. Dustin,
    Thanks for the kind words. Managing their online reputation is going to be a very interesting part of an agents day to day business in the future. So we’re very excited about our newest version of the site. We hope agents will find the benefit of enhancing their profile and recruiting highly qualified leads through our Interview process. As consumers become aware of the benefits and process of online agent interviews, we believe they will begin to use it more and more to complete their due diligence when choosing between multiple agents.

    As for Agent Rank…welcome to the world of agent reviews.

  3. I don’t think automated reco’s is a scalable concept. Personally, I am not sure consumers would trust such a service. The best reco’s come from friends or real people like the example from RCG. I would trust a friend more than an algo.

  4. I too think personal references are the best, and would be skeptical of these sites, at least for now.

  5. andrew & bucking,

    The advantage of AgentRank vs. friends/family is the ability to compare agent performance over a dozen transactions vs. only one.

    Re: scalable, I designed AgentRank(TM) to track 1 million real estate agents. I’m not at liberty to discuss how that is done, but I’m confident the system addresses the typical concerns, i.e. fraud

    Re: trust, it will be earned over time. For AgentRank, step one is refusal to accept paid advertising or placement. Beyond that, perfecting the algo so the truly exceptional agents rise to the top.

    Finally, thanks for the mention, Dustin 🙂

  6. I was underwhelmed by both sites. I signed up on both, but am likely only to check back in the Fall when business slows down.

    Incredible Agent is painfully slow. I would never submit a client of mine to that kind of torture. It also seems fairly buggy. Not the place my techy clients want to spend any time.

    Agent Rank seemed to have a strange search capability. Only a list of popular metro areas? Is that how people search for houses? Obviously, my little berg of Leavenworth WA doesn’t make the cut, but what of 2007’s wonderkid – Wenatchee. Quarter after quarter it leads the nation in appreciation, but doesn’t make their list? Who’s looking for Yakima real estate anyway?

    I think it is possible to get agents to sign up, but I think it will be a long time before you get many consumers to rank agents on a big scale.

    I think I want to wait and see who wins this battle. Agents aren’t going to ask clients to visit linkedin, yelp, incredibleagents, and agentrank all to help out the agent.

  7. Geordie,

    I readily acknowledge search by metro is an inferior user experience compared to a more granular search by city, zip, or neighborhood.

    However, this is a perfect opportunity for a programmer to use the open API to build a better mousetrap.

  8. @ mark, don’t you think ranking agencies to start would be better because most agents don’t do enough transactions to even out a rank? One poor ranking might screw up the evaluation because agents might not have that many to begin with. Perhaps starting at the Agency level then going into an Agent subset might work best.

  9. Andrew,

    The strength of AgentRank is its multi-data point composition—not just client reviews. A bad review won’t necessary “screw up” the agent’s ranking. It will impair a ranking for an unspecified amount of time, but nothing permanent. In fact, subsequent good reviews could dilute the bad review before it rolls off.

    Re: agencies, is unlikely to start ranking agencies. But it is on the drawing board as a new ranking component. The idea is agents most certainly receive support from their broker’s agency via guidance, training, etc. and that should be reflected in rankings.

  10. Dustin – I agree with others – I’m curious to see if any central “feedback” site takes off. If any site had a benefit it could be Google with the ability to impact page positioning. Like Geordie – I had forgotten I had signed up … the future will tell.

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