What do you think about this RE agent review?

mpagmomOctober 20, 2013

Gee, it's been slow around here. If we didn't have the spam, we'd have nothing at all.

I want you to read this review of a real estate agent from a major website and form an opinion, and then I'll explain the circumstances:

"(The real estate agent) has the creative writing down pat. Unfortunately her specialty is fiction. We bought a newer home that she had described as "immaculate" and "10 out of 10". Upon moving in we came to find out that there were many, many items in this home that made it far from immaculate or 10/10. Sadly as out of town buyers we had to rely on her word. Never again. Steer clear from this creative writer!"

The circumstances (some of which I related a few months ago in another thread):

We sold our house about 6 months ago. The house wasn't on the market yet or on the MLS, but some buyers just in town for the week looked at it twice and bought it. Our agent put it on the MLS with a couple pictures and a description after the contract was signed. The buyers had it inspected and we fixed everything they asked for (even silly items) and sent pictures and receipts to document the repairs. They did not come back into town until a week after closing.

They were obviously unhappy with the house after moving in and have tried to go after us, their inspector, and our agent for money. They filed a formal complaint about our agent with the local RE board, and they determined it was unfounded. Now they are trying to ruin her reputation with bad reviews because they don't agree with the description she put on the MLS after they'd signed the contract.

Would you give any weight to a review like that? Who decides to buy a house based on subjective words like "immaculate" in an MLS description? Who blames the seller's agent when they don't like the house?

By the way, the house wasn't "newer" in my book - it's 13 years old in an area with a lot of new construction. We weren't living in the house so it was in essentially the same condition as when they looked at it twice. The carpets were professionally cleaned and spotless, the walls were professionally touched up, etc. I made a video of the condition of the home just before closing to cover us if anything happened afterward. I even documented that all the doors were locked in case anyone broke in.

Just curious what you think...

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Don't feed the trolls, mpagmom. That comment is someone trolling for "discussion" or a negative reaction. The very definition of an internet troll.

I'd drop the agent a note so they could take care of it - either requesting a takedown or presenting his/her side. But, that is up to the agent.

Now if you were named, I'd get my attorney to draw up a nice little note and send it on to the website's legal counsel for removal.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 8:13PM
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The agent is aware of it and has already contacted the site requesting that it be removed. She was very upset that someone is trying to ruin her reputation, and I was just wondering what people thought about it.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 8:25PM
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It reads like they never saw the house and doesn't sound very factual etc. These are the kinds of reviews I generally don't consider when reading reviews. These people seem a little beyond the normal person in what they think is immaculate and a 10/10.

I do find it a problem with agents fluffing their listings with words like that as they are so subjective to what each person itself feels about those things. Everybody's standards are different. I prefer listings sticking to facts. So maybe besides that these people are a bit off and seem to have buyers remorse the agent at least could learn to stick to more factual listings without fluff.

I'm guessing these people was looking at it like the house was brand new and had expectations of a brand new house and not realizing that when buying a used house it really only needs to be broom clean.

What I don't get is why they are writing it like she was their agent, or am I missing something and she was their agent?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:41AM
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Thank you, lyfia. That's what I was thinking - that it is the kind of review people wouldn't consider anyway.

When you read the entire description it doesn't sound that fluffy. It starts with "Immaculate custom home", states straight facts for 10 sentences, and ends with "a 10 on any scale".

She was our agent not theirs, and I can't figure out why they are targeting her. Their agent had just gotten engaged and was going to be relocating, so I am guessing that she is out of the picture now and they have nobody else to go after.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 7:52AM
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This is the fluff I would stay clear of "a 10 on any scale" as everybody's scale is different and she can't predict what people are going to think.

I've been to houses that have made those kinds of proclamations and some have been let downs others have been ok, and others could have been fitting if the layout etc. had worked and thus it wasn't a 10 even though it was very well done. I guess that is why anytime I read those kind of things I cringe when I read them as I know it is 99% likely I won't agree.

The immaculate is also promising something that is very subjective. I think more generic adjectives are better in general if they have to be used as they then allows people to fit it in more with their views of things.

I guess I view them as the beginning of an infomercial where they are trying to demonstrate the problem they are trying to solve and it just is ridiculous because most people wouldn't be doing it that bad.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 9:43AM
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I understand what you're saying, but I'm sure if you went to a house that proclaimed it was a 10 on any scale and it wasn't a 10 on your scale that you wouldn't buy it anyway and then blame the agent.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 10:22AM
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OMG a person selling something exaggerated! I am shocked and scandalized, I tell you! The reviewers sound like idiots, without even knowing the background.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 2:09PM
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The review is misleading because it sounds as if they bought the house sight unseen solely on the recommendation of the Realtor. Since this is false I would request that the review be removed on that basis alone.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 4:56PM
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We bought a newer home that she had described as "immaculate" and "10 out of 10". Upon moving in we came to find out that there were many, many items in this home that made it far from immaculate or 10/10.

Unless they also back up this statement with some pictures and specific examples of their complaints, it's a very low-credibility review about a subjective topic.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Another victim being taken advantage of...

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:55PM
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I am very, very skeptical of online reviews and personally don't participate in the new review program that my broker is pushing.
I find that the vast majority of online reviews are placed by disgruntled customers (justified or not). I personally don't go online to review the great service I got with my new tires at Costco, or the oil change at my Honda dealer, etc. But if I got poor service, I'd be mad and probably would go online to warn off others - not actually knowing whether it was just a bad day for them or par for the course. One of my favorite restaurants in town has awful reviews because the service sucks, but the food is so good, I go anyway (Thai-Mex fusion). So I think that online reviews for things like that tend to run overtly negative.
This one, I would immediate disregard because it's just plain idiotic. Use of subjective statements is expected in RE descriptions! (Knowing that it was written after-the-fact makes it even more ridiculous)
And these buyers were stupid to rely on the listing agent to buy a home sight-unseen (how it reads).

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Thanks for the input. I couldn't be subjective knowing the circumstances, and I was curious if others thought it sounded as dumb as I did. To make it even worse, the things they complained about were things she couldn't possibly have known. One was a lint build-up in the dryer vent which was attached to a dryer at the time. Another was that they felt the A/C was too slow to cool the house. Once the house is cooled it maintains the temperature fine, but they thought it took too long to get there.

When my agent called me last week to tell me about the negative review, she was pretty upset. The particular site only had one positive review of her, and then this negative review came along. She depends on military buyers for a lot of her business, and they would likely use the internet in their search for an agent and see the review. I told her I would write a positive review and suggested that she ask other previous clients to do the same. She asked the site to remove the review because they weren't her clients (it is the site's policy to only allow reviews from clients) and I flagged it as inaccurate and asked that it be removed. I just checked to see if it has been removed, and it's still there, but it's the last review of 19 reviews now. The other 18 are positively glowing and full of facts and anecdotes about how stellar she is. And really, she is probably the hardest-working and most conscientious agent I've ever run across, so I'm glad that it looks like the situation will have a happy ending for her.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Whether they bought the place after seeing it, or sight unseen - both suggest to me an extremely naive or idiot buyer. The comments reflect more on the buyer than the agent. Since time immemorial people have been getting scrwed by real estate transactions and its pretty common knowledge that you have to do your own due diligence to avoid getting scrwed yourself.

Reminds me of an old Marx Brothers movie - Groucho Marx as a real estate swindler "you can even get stucco. Oh, how you can get stuck- oh!"

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 12:44

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Can you do a positive review for your agent addressing the situation? I would make it fairly vague in case the bad review gets pulled. Maybe ask her what she would like it to say.

Yes, most rational people will realize the review is crazy but black marks never look good.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:59PM
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I would just laugh reading such a review! Really?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:07PM
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I like to check online reviews, but that is one I would ignore. I figure if a buyer didn't notice the condition of the house before buying, they have no right to complain. No house, not even a brand spanking new one is 100% clean. I've been living with construction dust for a month and as much as I clean, I go back the next day and find something I missed. Same thing about 10 out of 10, whatever that means. no house is 100% perfect. We fix everything we come across, but I'm sure we've missed things, or things that are "within tolerance" (a term I have come to hate lately) just don't hit on our radar.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:04PM
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The thing is that they have no legal claim against the agent who was representing you, the seller. The courts consider claims like "10 out of 10" and "immaculate" to be "puffery", and they do not rise to the level of material fact. In addition, they had their own agent who wasn't supposed to be looking out for their interests. If anyone "mislead" them, it was their agent, not yours.

Here is a link that might be useful: Puffery defined

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:08PM
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