After a few real estate clients found me online, I asked how they stumbled across me or my Northern Virginia Real Estate Blog. Often it was a top Google result when they asked a question or one of my home listings showed up on one of the 10,548 “home search/IDX” sites that are out there.
And when they drilled down, they found that my real estate blog was more informative and interesting than the other canned
crap marketing blogs that they had found. Luckily, Northern Virginia has a lot of people thinking about real estate and they give me most of the ideas that I blog about.Yes, it’s like Seinfeld… “There’s a show!”
My content reflects what is going on here,
Online REALTOR reviews have really come of age over the past two years, and the time has come for me to shamelessly share what I see out there on Zillow, Yelp and IncredibleAgents.com (about myself that is). And, basically, I recognized that having some content (Realtor reviews) on these sites is essential for obvious reasons.
Here are two quotes that recent clients left at IncredibleAgents.com , an up and coming site which seems to be national. I believe they must take agent licensing info from the public records and create a page. Having found it myself in a Google search, I did fill in my usual propaganda but my clients added the comments.
Peer Reviews and Recommendations are trends Amazon.com pioneered
When I mentioned to a Internet/blogsales guy from Salt Lake City recently that we have over 13,000 REALTORS in Northern Virginia, he seemed surprised that so many people would be real estate agents in 2012 and still have a 2003 web site. The fact is, REALTORS are sales people, customer service people, marketing people, negotiators and, somewhere down the line, computer people. So I suggested he read my FAQ page or About Me page to understand where I am coming from online in 2012 (and was in 2009 too).
For people who don’t want to write comments, then there are sites like MountainofAgents.com where people simply click to rate me. Seems “thin” to me but someone thought it would be a good idea. Go ahead after we work together and rate me… please!
I really haven’t pushed my past clients to write testimonials online but I probably should. This client (below) wrote a review on Zillow.com because her agent in Maryland had asked her to write one for him. Confidentially, I know she likes me more than him. People can typically tell a story about the home buying or selling experience in 100 words or less, and consumers who don’t know me yet can get the gist about who I am and how I work with people.
Sorry that the print is so small, but you can go to the sites and read the reviews yourself. What do you feel about Realtor reviews online? I feel that we have all grown accustom to seeing a review either on Amazon.com or BestBuy.com for any product we are planning to buy. It is kind of where people are getting insight these days… peer recommendations.
Don’t you Google almost anything?
Yet another web site holds client recommendations too. That site, LinkedIn.com , is more of a business networking platform rather than a real estate specific web site.
If you are looking for a REALTOR in McLean, Vienna, Oakton or who covers most of Northern Virginia, then take a look at my Online Reviews and tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing from you!
UPDATE: After I wrote this blog post, there was a flurry of articles about real estate agent review site and I stumbled upon a site that puts reviews in one place. Wow! My little Vienna real estate blog seems to have moved the conversation along… take a look at more blog posts now! What do you think?
Zillow, Angie’s List, Yelp!
Also on my mind are promoted reviews, which I am against but need to discuss. Yes, I have had phone calls from sales guys who will promote me as a Pro, Featured or Premiere agent, and position me closer to the top of the results. Since most of these web sites with rating lists are public companies, they have to make sales and people are willing to pay for top billing! One eye opening moment came when a home inspector (who was really only so-so) told me he pays whats-her-name’s list a couple hundred bucks a month for better placement. At that moment, I grasp the fact that some people are gaming the system to have all 5-star or all 3-star reviews.
Online reviews are important, but I feel it is your responsibility to contact that service provider and discuss your situation. They should be willing to answer your questions and give you an impression of who they are ~ essentially living up to the review you are reading.
Give me a call or send an email if you have questions for me!
- Will Your Real Estate Offer Make the Cut? (dougfrancis.com)
- Sweating the Appraisal Contingency? (dougfrancis.com)
- Zillow Adds Real Estate Agent Ratings (webpronews.com)