Consumers now have a place to find real estate agents that have been independently certified to be honest, experienced and professional, according to Verified Professionals LLC. The company rolled out a new service today, VerifiedAgent.com, that it says will create an "objective baseline of professionalism" for real estate agents.
In order to be designated as a "Verified Professional Agent," a real estate professional must work full time in real estate, have a clean record of ethical behavior, have closed at least 24 cumulative sales in the past three years, have at least 10 past clients who would fully recommend the agent to friends and family, and have at least three competing agents from other brands who have completed a transaction with the agent and attest to that agent’s professionalism.
"Studies and polls consistently show that the real estate industry has a ‘trust and reputation’ problem. As a result, we think there is significant pent-up demand for competent, honest agents. Our solution solves that problem, because that’s precisely what the verification process does: it identifies the agents with these qualities," said Michael McClure, the company’s CEO, in a statement. McClure is a regular contributor at InmanNext, an agent-focused site produced by Inman News.
In order to be verified and listed on VerifiedAgent.com, agents pay a $399 fee for the first year and a $299 fee for reverification in subsequent years, McClure said. Consumers can visit the site and search for qualified agents by ZIP code, location or agent name, at no cost.
In a process Verified Professionals said differentiates it from agent-review sites, the company corroborates agents’ applications with pertinent third parties. These parties include each individual agent’s broker, applicable state licensing authorities, and directly with each past client and fellow agent suggested by the agent being verified, McClure told Inman News. Each third party will have to electronically sign a document attesting the veracity of the information given to the company, and, for each agent, select parties will be randomly audited and asked to submit additional documentation, McClure added.
He estimated that about 20 percent of real estate professionals would qualify as "Verified Agents."
The verification process both reassures consumers that they are choosing a qualified agent and gives agents a marketing advantage, said Greg Grospitch, the company’s COO, in a statement.
"Because we verify the critical client service characteristics that we know people want, and because we do it in an objective, third-party manner, the public now has something solid and tangible on which to stand when choosing their next agent," he said.
"Furthermore, quality agents now have something they can use as the centerpiece of their marketing and branding which clearly states, ‘I’m an experienced professional, and I can be trusted. I’m one of real estate’s elite.’"