Australian Platform Aims to Help Agents Manage Online Reviews
Thanks to Yelp, Zillow and Google, online reviews are influencing consumer behavior. According to Real Trends’ 2018 Consumer Study, 69 percent of respondents said they use referrals to find an agent, with 62 percent saying they rely on online reviews. Clearly, what consumers find out online affects their final selection.
This might explain why a tech platform that helps agents manage their online reputation is gaining ground. The Australian real estate agent-rating platform RateMyAgent, used by 80 percent of Australian agents, is hoping to make inroads in the United States; two recent developments are paving the way for its adoption.
Earlier this spring, the National Association of Realtors named RateMyAgent to its 2019 REach® Class accelerator program—the first ratings platform to be so named. And in May, the California Regional MLS added it to its Marketplace of services.
According to Mark Armstrong, CEO of RateMyAgent, the platform is attempting to solve a pain point for real estate professionals created by the number of platforms enabling consumer feedback. “Do I put all my eggs in one basket, and miss out on being seen elsewhere, or, do I use several but then I’m asking vendors for multiple reviews and the admin is horrible,” he asked.
“We solve that problem by helping agents to put reviews across platforms quickly and easily," he said. "That includes Google Reviews, their Facebook or Instagram pages, agents’ own website, as well as creating paid ads across social media channels and the Google network.”
In Australia, one in three home transactions results in a review on the platform. North America is not quite there yet. So far, 14,000 agents have signed up.
At this stage, a U.S. real estate agent must request a review from their customer, so the only way for an agent to get a review is for the agent to claim their profile and start requesting reviews. All reviews are verified to ensure only parties involved in a transaction within the last 12 months can review an agent. This prevents anonymous unverified reviews, for example agents reviewing other agents.
RateMyAgent plans to open up the platform in the future to allow buyers and sellers to post reviews without being requested (as is done in Australia) but as of now it is a review-request platform only.
If and when it reaches critical mass, the data it has can help consumers, agents and brokers across the board. In Australia, RateMyAgent was able to analyze the numbers behind more than 300,000 property sales across the country in 2018, and the more than 30,000 agents involved in the transactions.
According to RateMyAgent, "agents named Lucas sell the most properties on average in Australia (25 on average), and agents named Alexander achieve the highest average sale price at over $1.5m. Agents named Cheryl have the happiest customers, with 61.5% of sales results at prices exceeding the vendor expectations."