Are the metrics that make an agent esteemed in the real estate world vastly different than the measures consumers apply to judge quality of service?
Larry Romito, founder of RatedAgent, explains his perspective:
“All of the focus in real estate services for almost forever has been upon sales and production. Everything that is measured, compensated, rewarded, awarded is all about how much business is done,” he says.
“But consumers are more interested in how each transaction is performed as a measure of excellence. Not how much business is being done.”
That philosophy is the basis of RatedAgent, a platform that aims to provide consumers the most objective reviews in the industry through scientifically designed surveys and the elimination of ‘cherry-picking’ for its 20,000 public profiles.
How does the rating work?
Romito says the survey was scientifically crafted to reduce ambiguity and the frequent practice of asking two questions in one, which confuses consumers.
“‘Were you pleased with the service your agent provided, and were they effective in helping you to negotiate a transaction?’
“That’s a common survey flaw because I might have two different answers to the two different aspects of the question. So, how do I answer that? Do I average the two?”
To avoid confusion, Romito says the survey focuses on key performance indicators, such as:
- Proficiency in counseling and needs assessment
- Level of availability and communication
- Level of market, neighborhood and property knowledge
- Level of negotiation skills
Buyers and sellers are given slightly different versions that ask about the agent’s overall level of service — from the level of their availability to their negotiation skills and marketing prowess. Lastly, clients are asked to provide their primary reason for choosing the agent and are given the opportunity to provide in-depth feedback.
The results of the survey are automatically posted to the agent’s profile, and the only way for an agent to hide a less-than-satisfactory review is to make their entire profile private — Romito says it’s all or nothing.
“There are other systems of feedback that misrepresents reality to the agent and undermines their ability to maintain a high level of service and to learn,” he said.
Performance management for brokers
In addition to access to post-closing reviews, broker/owners and their agents are able to get real-time feedback from clients through RatedAgent’s performance management platform, which comes with the monthly subscription that ranges from $1 to $5 per month per agent, based on the brokerage’s size and volume of sales.
Romito notes that the post-closing reviews in conjunction with the real-time feedback allows broker/owners to pinpoint coaching opportunities and address and correct service issues during the transaction instead of hearing about it afterward.
In addition to post-closing and real-time reviews, agents are given the option of receiving additional training through the site’s Quality Service Certified Professional Designation training program.
The program takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete and goes over each part of a transaction, from putting the listing on the market to close.
To get the badge, agents must pass a 40-minute multiple choice quiz, provide a written service agreement with a minimum number of defined and prescribed services, have every closed transaction evaluated and maintain at least a three-star rating level.
Although 90 percent of RatedAgent’s subscriptions are broker-owner initiated, agents are able to join the site on an individual basis starting at $85 for the first year and $65 for the years thereafter.