APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

How much should clients believe what they read in online reviews about a Realtor?

April 29, 2015
Agents Sound Off

Rainy Hake
Executive Vice President

Question: How much should clients believe what they read online about a Realtor? How can they determine fact from fiction in online reviews?
Answer: Without question, asking friends, family or neighbors that you trust about an agent will always give you a more accurate impression of an agent than online reviews. Online reviews of real estate agents are often tricky to sort through. Unlike a restaurant that deals with thousands of customers a year, agents often deal with only a handful. As a result, because the sample size is so low, it’s very rare to get a complete picture based solely on online reviews. To add to this, sometimes the reviewers aren’t even the clients of the agent; they are just people who interacted with them in another capacity. While some sites (Zillow and Trulia) verify that the reviewer was involved in a transaction with an agent, many sites like Yelp, Google Places, and reviews on Facebook pages feature no such verification.
I would say that if there are numerous reviews and a pattern emerges that fits with your previous perceptions and interactions with an agent, they may have some credibility – both positive or negative. It also never hurts to ask the agent about any reviews you have concerns about; how they respond might shed some light.
When all else fails, choosing an agent that is affiliated with a respected brokerage with a professional, solid reputation in the community is typically a safe bet.
Read more opinions on SFGate.


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