Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs for Consumers and Real Estate Professionals)
RatedAgent.com and its sister organization QualityService.org offer real estate agents the opportunity to have their service rated by their clients and have the ratings displayed online. Sellers and buyers complete a scientifically designed survey after the transaction has closed. The survey is administered and the results are verified by an independent research company.
Agents agree to have each one of their transactions surveyed. When the survey results have been aggregated, agents may choose to display their ratings along with their personal profiles on RatedAgent.com. The site offers sellers and buyers the opportunity to find and select real estate professionals who subscribe to this validated survey process and choose to have their ratings posted online. Reviewing agent ratings is an efficient way for sellers and buyers to begin their agent search.
RatedAgent.com and QualityService.org are operated by experienced leaders in the real estate industry with a long history of success focusing on how to improve service quality and customer satisfaction. They have developed systems, processes and metrics that parallel the management and controls that have long existed in manufacturing, accounting and other areas of business where consistency, accountability, reliability and responsiveness are crucial to a positive service outcome and customer experience. Compared to products which have identifiable defect ratios and other standards, it is more challenging to measure service delivery; most organizations give up or don't even try. Many believe it cannot be done. But it can be, and after more than a decade of working with a diverse group of enlightened real estate professionals and leaders across North America, the RatedAgent.com and QualityService.org management teams have proven that service can be measured. Learn more about who we are on the About Us page.
For over a decade, RatedAgent.com along with QualityService.org, have been the recognized leaders for customer satisfaction training and the measurement of customer satisfaction in the real estate industry. Customer service training and measuring customer satisfaction of a service is our only business. Thousands of agent subscribers and over a million surveys later, we have a very finely tuned survey process and reporting system in place serving both the consumer and the real estate professional. Check out the following facts that differentiate RatedAgent.com from many other sites:
- The seller and buyer surveys were scientifically designed, specific to key aspects of the transaction. Click here to view sample copies of the Customer Satisfaction Survey©: for both sellers and buyers.
- The administration and processing of the surveys is conducted by a research company, a disinterested third party.
- RatedAgent is open to all REALTORS® in the United States and Canada, regardless of brokerage company or brand association
- Finding and selecting an agent on this site is free for consumers with NO requirement to register or provide personal information.
- Ours is a closed survey system meaning that only actual sellers and buyers are given the opportunity to complete a survey after the transaction closes. Feedback is only from past clients of a closed transaction. No stuffing the ballot box here!
- In most cases client data for the survey process is outside of the individual agent’s control.
- Agents have to agree to licensing that requires data on all closed transactions be submitted.
- Agents are not in control of changing rating data.
The service is free to consumers for the intended use of locating and comparing agents, and reviewing customer feedback and comments. Selecting an agent is a formidable task given that the sale and purchase of a home involves what for many is their most significant financial asset. Reviewing agent ratings is a great starting point in your search for a real estate professional.
We are paid a small amount for each agent participating in the program. Some agents pay for their own participation and for most other agents their brokerages, associations or MLS cover part or all of the costs. In any case, this relationship does not give the participant leverage to bend the rules or remove an unfavorable review.
No, absolutely not!! The real estate industry is very protective when it comes to sharing of personal data. We would not remain in business if we inappropriately used or distributed the information we collect or for any other purpose than it is intended.
Yes, but only after you have completed a transaction with a RatedAgent real estate professional for the purchase or sale of real estate. One of the key differences between RatedAgent.com and other rating systems is that this is a “closed” system. A closed system surveys only sellers and buyers (every seller and buyer) who have completed a transaction with a RatedAgent.com professional. This is a very important difference between RatedAgent.com and many other rating sites. Participating agents are protected from false reviews being posted by competitors, a client represented by the “other” agent in a transaction or others with a less than honorable agenda. Consumers are protected from the ballot box being stuffed by those other than sellers and buyers, who submit positive reviews without having worked with the agent. Because many real estate agents complete fewer than 10 transactions per year, each review is important. Consumers need to be certain the survey and feedback process is being administered in a fair, arm’s length manner, offering objective and independently validated data and commentary.
The Customer Satisfaction Rating is a score calculated by averaging consumer responses to the Overall Satisfaction question listed on both buyer and seller surveys. Response options range from 1 (Very Dissatisfied) to 5 (Very Satisfied). The CSR continuously updates as new responses are received, and includes results for the past 3 years. Click here to see both the buyer and seller copies of the Customer Satisfaction Survey©.
That is a good question, and we also would like to know the answer as to why you did not receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey© after completing a home purchase or sale with an agent listed on the site. After the closing, Leading Research Corporation typically receives buyer and seller contact information directly from a brokerage or MLS database. This process involves very little opportunity for human intervention or selectivity. Data transfer errors can occur, and although they represent less than a 1% factor, your contact information may have been affected. Another reason you may not have received the survey is that it is possible that your agent may have joined RatedAgent.com after your transaction was closed. In any case, please contact us if you still believe you should have been given the opportunity to complete a survey.
This speaks to the nature of RatedAgent.com and the participants. First of all, being voluntary it becomes a self selective process where only those agents who want to provide or believe they already do provide great service tend to join. Second, RatedAgent.com offers participating agents specific feedback on their opportunities for service improvement, offers advanced service training for professional skill development and delivers metrics and benchmarking data to track and measure improvement. To no one's surprise improvement follows. RatedAgent.com participants who consistently receive less favorable reviews and feedback either learn and improve, or simply quit. The reality is not entirely surprising. Who would want independent validation and publication of their poor service record?
There are many excellent real estate professionals who just don't know that there is an objective, fair and credible system out there. Some of these agents are learning about RatedAgent.com from you the consumer who sees the benefits and enjoys making better more informed decisions - data and knowledge are power!
- Brokerage Company, Brand, Association or MLS Based Systems Sites: Each of these organizations has an interest in offering agent ratings, but each faces challenges of credibility when it comes to the consumer. For instance, company or branded rating sites would be a way of marketing the company's service delivery, but it would be difficult for them to include competitors or to display a top producing agent that has a bad rating. Similarly a REALTOR Association or MLS would have the ability to be more inclusive, but would be limited geographically. These organizations would typically offer agent ratings programs to members as a value-add, but the same conflict of interest exists in that these organizations’ primary goal is to serve the real estate agent. REALTOR® Associations and other organizations are partnering with us as a way to avoid these conflicts.
- Free Ratings Sites: Ratings sites are everywhere these days. Nearly all offer open systems which invite manipulation and gaming like a "Chicago election". In a rush to rate everything, some of these sites have added real estate agents and other professional service providers to their site, trying to rate them with the same criteria used for rating restaurants and products without first understanding the differences between customer satisfaction with a service versus customer satisfaction with a product. Why such a rush? To increase traffic and drive ad revenue. It does not seem to matter that providing consumers with bad information can be more harmful than providing none at all.
- Homefinders Sites: These are sites that provide housing and MLS data locally or nationally. Some have started adding agent ratings to increase ad revenue and agent subscriptions. These are open systems with little controls. Most claim to have strict policies to prevent abuse, but beyond a written policy against cheating and a process for flagging reviews the agent believes are fake, there doesn't seem to be anything preventing gaming. Beware of these sites, for providing valid agent ratings is not their primary business. In reality, their business model of including agent ratings with little or no control over the quality and validity of such ratings, is just a strategy to attract more visitors.
- Agent Created Sites: Many of these sites popped up 8 or 10 years ago and most have not been updated since then. Typically these started with good intentions by good agents, who knew how to build a basic website. Those that are still around have few agents and serve only 2 or 3 markets. There is little control and even less usable information. The motivation was either to promote their superior service and include other agents for credibility, or to be the next Dot.com millionaire. Either way, it doesn't seem to have worked as planned.
Warning: Any site that requires you to fill in your personal information before providing you with the information being offered is likely engaged in a practice known as "upstream fishing". Once you have provided them with your information, they will sell you as a lead to one or more "selected" agents or collect a referral fee (typically 25% of agent commission) after the closing. Another trick less reputable sites use is to claim to have the "Top Rated" agents, but if you read the fine print you find it is the website that rates them, not customers. How one becomes a "Top Rated" agent is secret (and probably not cheap either).
Please contact us. We would be happy to explain the options available for your specific situation.
We have developed service management standards and rating systems for several other professional service industries and are always looking to expand. The key concepts, systems, processes and technology can be modified and applied to other professional service industries. Please contact us to learn more.
Following are a few industries we are involved in or in the process of developing: Mortgage, Relocation, Short-Sale, Commercial Property, Property Auction, Home Health Care, Assisted Living, Employee Satisfaction, Insurance-auto, homeowners, health and life.