Trustworthy reviews of real estate agents...online?
Hi everyone, I'm in the process of building a comprehensive real estate agent reviews site. To abide by GardenWeb's no-advertising policy, I am not going to give away the name of the tool, but we were featured on a large beta launch list today and a number of interested people signed up with us.
I wanted to ask the community, how did you find real estate agents you used, especially if you moved to a new city? If you could find highly detailed, trustworthy reviews of agents online, do you think that would be useful?
As far as I know, the process of finding agents is almost entirely word-of-mouth. Homebuyers and sellers often choose agents out of convenience or familiarity, instead of using data and trustworthy experiences of the crowd. The problem I have with existing tools like Yelp is that the reviews are (1) seriously limited and read more like endorsements and (2) not filterable by useful data like neighborhood, commission %s, or days on market. I think our tool could be useful for people wanting to find a low-commission agent, or one who has sold studios in your neighborhood recently, or one who sells homes quickly with fewer days on market, etc.
It will be a challenge to ensure that reviewers are truthful, no doubt, but we have a lot of mechanisms built into the beta version to deter fraud, and we are planning to be extremely strict about which reviews get posted to the site.
I would really appreciate your constructive criticism/any questions you have for me.