On Facebook, Benn Rosales at AgentGenius, asked for someone to non-emotionally bullet point their problems with Agent Ratings sites in general. As a former technologist of a large brokerage for 9 years in Louisville Kentucky, an online marketer for a number of brokerages and teams, as well as working inside of the real estate industry for well over a decade, let me take a shot at it.
Let’s say you came up to me and asked me to refer you to an agent in Louisville, I would ask you a) what you are selling and b) a little bit about YOU, NOT THEM. Here’s how my answers would vary:
- If you wanted a condo and you were 55 or over, I would likely refer you to Jo Wright. I have personally WATCHED her take care of a LOT of CLIENTS over the years. She understands what they need and she lives in a condo in Louisville. These types of sellers do NOT go out and rate her on the latest social media sites, but they DO love working with Jo. I never heard a single complaint about her service in almost 10 years. She does not sell the most homes in a given neighborhood because condos and especially those who cater to 55+ are spread all over town.
- If you wanted a home on Nolin Lake, I would DEFINITELY refer you to Scott Hack. I don’t think that he sells the most homes and lots out there, but he knows that area like the back of his hand. He cares about people and for the younger condo dwelling crowd, he is equally amazing. He understands the different parts of downtown Louisville really well.
- For the person who was looking for investment property, I would be likely to send them to Art Geissler. He may not list and sell as many in a given neighborhood, but his overall knowledge and decades of investing experience are amazing. He owns and manages a LOT of properties around town and can separate winners and losers easily.
- You wanted a home in Anchorage ( a small area within Louisville – – think luxury), I would likely send you to David Yunker. He has worked this area as his sole domain for 25 years. He used to amaze me with his ability to know EVERYTHING that was going on in this little area. Other teams may sell more than he does (I honestly do not know), but his clients rave about him. And again, it is NOT clients that would typically go online and rave, but call them and ask them.
- Want a luxury home inside of the Highlands? I am likely to send you to Mary Ann Buren, or Cindy Albright Parrish or Luly Reinhardt. What differentiates them? These folks may not sell as many as some of the teams do, they work on their own, but they are SOLID and it shows. If you are in the HEART of the Highlands, Mary Ann lives there and knows it. The chances that a national site will “get” the Highlands neighborhood boundaries right? ZERO. You have to be a local to get it. National sites suck at understanding Local areas like the Highlands in Louisville. (That’s my rating for THEM)
- Have a home that you want to sell but have a divorce, wierd issue or other oddity about your situation that requires diplomacy? I am going to refer you to Debbie Haddad and Karen Fox. They have clients EVERYWHERE. The common thread among their clients is that no matter the weird situation they have helped them get through it.
- Have a property that is overpriced and need someone to tell you STRAIGHT up what you need to do to get it on the market? And provide great service? Enter the team of Higdon, Kennedy and Myers.
Horse properties, Oldham County (and how would a site work with that as a neighborhood), the list goes on and on and on… there are so many ways where and agent ranking system can go wrong that it boggles the mind. For the record I would personally hire about 85% of the folks in that office to help me sell or buy my home. I DID. And it worked out FINE.
Perhaps you are wondering about who might actually BENEFIT in Louisville from AgentMatch and similar systems? That would be Bob Sokoler at the Medley Sokoler Team or Joe Hayden with his team. They are is good guys too! I do not wish to denegrate high tech, high touch teams that (as a group) do a lot of deals in a year. They have their place in the market too! They can combine sales among agents, generate leads, and manage the reviews and social media better than most and the sum of that will always be greater than the parts. (That does not make them inherently better for an specific individual)
The bottom line for me is that technology CANNOT sort these factors out. Technology CANNOT know the personalities of EITHER the individual or the REALTOR. That alone disqualifies them for being able to “Match” anything in REALTORVILLE.
There is NO WAY for a database to figure out that the Haddad and Fox team are simply amazing at patiently working through difficult and weird issues as well as they are.
Saying that you can based on sales data is not intellectually honest.
Saying that you can based on Review sites is not intellectually honest. How many spam reviews get through and how many GOOD reviews get tossed out every day by the well intentioned but misguided folks at Google, Linked in, Yelp etc?
Two final points:
Unless they can tell me that their technology is good enough to a) find the Jo Wrights of the world and it is NOT, and if it can tell me that there is SUCH a big difference between hiring Luly Reinhardt and Cindy Albright Parrish, then their technology does not know its butt from a hole in the ground. It is simply a new gimmick to be used by the technology sector to get in between the REALTOR and their potential clients for THEIR OWN gain and not that of the consumer.
Consumers need to find the RIGHT REALTOR. I am PRO CONSUMER. Supporting Agent Match or other Agent Ratings systems does NOT help the consumer. It gives them a false sense that they are thinning the herd when they are likely to be thinning out some amazing REALTORS that can help them (possibly better than, but DEFINITELY not worse than a big box team).
Agent Ratings systems like Agent Match, Home Light and all the others, are no more accurate at predicting REALTOR value than Zestimates are at predicting a home’s value.