The California Association of Realtors has launched a pilot “Realtor Ratings” program, which they are touting as a way to provide consistency and accuracy to the variety of websites that currently offer Realtor review ratings, like Yelp and Zillow to name just a few.
While I’m personally thrilled to see an organization like CAR recognize the need to get involved and offer a Realtor ratings program, I’m concerned that the model they’ve set up may be pretty pointless and will quickly be discarded by consumers and most agents.
As I understand it, a survey will be sent to clients at the close of escrow. I’m confused what happens with the results. If it is modeled on the HAR Realtor review program, agents can either opt-in to having all results published, or opt-out completely and not have any results published. But reading the CAR webpage (granted, I haven’t had much coffee yet), it isn’t clear to me if agents have control over individual reviews, or just the choice of a blanket opt-in or opt-out program choice.
Obviously, to be treated with any level of respect and authenticity, agents shouldn’t be able to squash individual reviews that they don’t like. They should certainly be able to respond and present what they might consider to be mitigating factors or additional information, but… (I fired off an email to the program manager, I’ll update this when I hear back from her).
Update: I got an email back from the program manager, and she clarified that the program does work like the HAR program. However, agents do have the global option of making public or not sharing answers to specific questions. So, for example, if you didn’t want to allow free form comments you could disable all answers to that question from public display, but it would be for all reviews you receive, not just a specific one.
I also agree strongly with the agentgenius criticisms of the program messaging so far… the way the publicity and marketing reads so far, it comes across as “consumers can’t be trusted to write accurate reviews of Realtors, so we are taking control of the process.” Which is incredibly patronizing, to say the least. I’d be interested to hear what your thoughts are of the agent review process, and if you view CAR as getting involved as a good or bad thing?