Realtor.com has entered into agreements to add content from Quality Service Certification, Inc. (QSC),RealSatisfied and Testimonial Tree to agent profiles on realtor.com, to offer a consolidated view of reliable information for consumers researching potential agents online.
Content from these three trusted real estate professional evaluation services will integrate with realtor.com®'s new agent profile and ratings and reviews system to deliver information about agents based on a consistent set of criteria for evaluating a real estate professional, and information must adhere to stringent policies about how the information is displayed.
"Buyers and sellers of homes rely on an agent with one of the biggest investments in their lives, and they spend inordinate amounts of time doing their due diligence to select someone they can feel confident about," said Tapan Bhat, chief product officer at Move. "It's important for them to have a resource they can trust – one that offers consistent quantifiable metrics around an agent's performance and that provides a clear and reliable portrayal of the qualitative aspects as well."
Realtor.com is the first online real estate destination to base its ratings and reviews on guidelines for professional evaluation established last year by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), which represents more than a million Realtors® in the U.S. Unlike competitors, realtor.com rules require that agent ratings and reviews come only from clients who have closed a transaction with a particular Realtor®. And, while agents can choose whether or not to participate in the program, the decision is all-in or all-out, rather than allowing agents to cherry-pick only the best reviews to show to potential clients.
The realtor.com system consists of ratings and reviews that align with NAR's guidelines and require consumers to certify that they have closed an actual transaction with the agent. The system also incorporates recommendations which can be provided by friends, family and colleagues. The combined system provides a standard for transaction-based information while allowing all agents to showcase their professionalism.
RealSatisfied has worked closely with realtor.com® and industry leaders over the past two years, collaborating to develop a solution that addresses the industry's concerns about how their performance is displayed online, while delivering the trustworthy content that consumers need when researching an agent.
"Brokers and agents have consistently communicated that they want and need a solution that allows them to easily syndicate the ratings and recommendations they collect as part of their customer satisfaction programs," said Jeff Turner, president of RealSatisfied. "From the very beginning, realtor.com has supported this notion and their decision to continue to support this as part of their new platform is a testament to their forward-thinking approach to agent performance evaluation data. We are proud to be a part of this solution."
Leveraging the abundance of reliable data collected by trusted affiliates while carefully managing the integrity of the new solution was no small challenge. The integration of third-party, transaction-based ratings and reviews content into the realtor.com system is made possible by matching the external data to the criteria established by realtor.com for display where possible.
The affiliation is a natural fit for QSC, which has nearly 20 years invested in the business of agent performance, and provides ratings and reviews as part of an operational enhancement program for brokers designed to make agents better through training and feedback. With more than 1.5 million surveys in the field to date, today more than 95 percent of buyers and sellers are 'satisfied or very satisfied' with agents participating in QSC's program, including 84 percent that are very satisfied, compared to a national average of approximately 58 percent.
"QSC was the first to offer consumers reliable information to make better, more informed decisions by collecting feedback only from real customers and after every closed transaction," said Kevin Romito, president and COO of QSC. "Through this agreement, realtor.com® will provide millions of consumers access to a level of accuracy and transparency not available anywhere else, and for participating brokers and agents, this will be a powerful differentiator and competitive advantage."
Realtor.com's recent agreement with Testimonial Tree will enable testimonials collected by real estate professionals to be integrated within recommendations at realtor.com, and adds a social element to agents' profiles. "By leveraging the power of connections through friends and family on their channels of choice, agents are able to publish testimonials to their realtor.com profiles as well as to their social networks," said Jason Dolle, founder and CEO of Testimonial Tree. "Our proprietary testimonial capture, management and sharing tools are helping to enable swift integration of unique user generated content into the realtor.com platform."
As credible and reliable content makes its way onto the realtor.com profile platform over the coming months from these partners and through realtor.com's built-in evaluation system, the company expects to see a boost in traffic, engagement and high quality leads for agents. "The resulting virtuous circle of visibility, combined with the reliability of the content we are gathering, fulfills our vision for this solution: to meet the needs of the consumer for a trustworthy resource while addressing the complexities of the industry which we are uniquely positioned to understand," said Bhat. "We are delivering a solution that works – not just today, but for the years ahead."