The proliferation of agent rating and referral sites can be massive trap for property sellers and can cost them many thousands of dollars off their sales price according to Certified Practising Real Estate (www.CPREA.com.au) Chairman, Geoff Baldwin.
“These sites promote that they are honestly rating real estate agents in each suburb through their performance in the marketplace and a number of other criteria however sellers should be aware that there are other influences that can affect the order of merit on these sites”, Mr Baldwin said.
“Firstly, almost all of these sites are charging agents for the privilege, either through a regular monthly fee or via a significant slice of the commission being paid by the seller to the agent often without the full knowledge of the seller.
“It is quite possible, even likely, that the top agents in an area or town simply don’t use the services of these sites which means that the public is often in danger of being misled.
“In some cases agents are able to pay extra for preferential placement in a particular suburb or town and this is resulting in prospective sellers being deceived into thinking they are dealing with a highly successful agent when in fact they may be dealing with one who is battling to attract business any other way.
“Successful, professional agents who have built a good reputation based on their results rarely resort to using these websites to gain business however new and lesser performers see them as a way to gain an advantage.
“Sellers should be aware that these websites are not free public services, they are businesses and that they are making money through charging agents to be promoted and/or for the leads that are gathered from potential sellers who visit the sites.
“In reality the public is often being fooled into thinking they are seeing agents promoted on their merits when in fact the information on many of these sites is misleading and should be closely examined before allowing it to influence a decision.
“Choosing an agent should be based on the real performance, experience, results and resources of the whole agency and the brand they work with and importantly, how a seller feels as the quality of the business relationship is a big influence on the process.
“Quality agents prosper on their own reputation and will rarely pay for leads so choosing an agent based on these so called third party ratings can cost sellers many thousands of dollars through signing up with the wrong agent.
“People who are considering using these sites should inquire as to how they make money, what they charge the agents, if agents are paying for preferential promotion and how their business model actually works”, he said.
Media Contact – Geoff Baldwin