Consumers Are Craving Transparency And Redfin Knows It!
Carla Muss-Jacobs wrote an excellent post yesterday that is getting a ton of feedback from agents. The article focuses on her disappointment with various MLS organizations allowing Redfin (a competing broker to others, including myself) to publish actual sales numbers for thousands of agents throughout the U.S., allowing consumers to research an agent's success on their own. I've always loved reading Carla's blogs, and have followed her for quite some time.
While I have a HUGE problem with MLS giving this information to a competing broker who is using it to drive traffic to their website, I absolutely DO NOT have a problem with the general public being allowed access to this information (IF the information is accurate, and that's a BIG IF). Redfin has since realized that much of their information was incorrect, and has since pulled several MLS's off of their list until they can figure out what the heck is going on. This is a good thing.
My point is, Redfin is onto something here. CONSUMERS WANT TRANSPARENCY. On a daily basis, they are lied to by our government, their employers, their banks, and anyone else they do business with. Consumers used to rely on "Trust, Then Verify". They now "Verify, Then Trust". When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, they want to see the results, then see if they "click" with the agent. It's a sign of the times, folks. They are sick of being lied to.
What Redfin has done is what every MLS in the country should do...Post the actual results of agents. While many agents don't want this transparency, consumers do. Just look at the popularity of reviews on Google, Zillow, Trulia, Yelp, etc. Consumers don't believe advertisements or blog posts from real estate agents. They put more value into what other "neutral" consumers say about your services. I can tell you from experience that more than 50% of my current clients chose to call me after not only spending time on our Phoenix short sale agent website, but also reading reviews left from our clients.
Just ask yourself...The last time you searched online to research a service (say a plumber), were you more interested in reading the plumber ads, or did you focus on the number of "stars" that other neutral consumers left for various plumbers?
All of us do it. If you told me tomorrow that Joe Plumberscrack was the best plumber in Phoenix, I would google his name and see what others thought of his service. If Mike Theplumber had more stars than Joe Plumberscrack, I'd probably be calling Mike.
The same goes for real estate. Consumers are sick of wading through the BS. They want to see results. If they like the results, then chances are, they'll call those with the best results.
I had a listing appointment the other day with a potential Phoenix short sale listing client (now a client). He had interviewed a few other agents, and pulled out an MLS copy of closed short sales that another agent had provided him. There were 21 closed short sales on his list. I immediately pulled out my laptop and pulled up the MLS. Sure enough, this agent had 20 closed short sale listings, but also had 19 listings that were cancelled, all of them going to foreclosure. So, let's do the math. 40 total listings, and 19 lost to foreclosure, for a success rate of 52.5%. This agent advertises a 95% success rate on his website, and shared this with my client. Oops!
Some agents think that allowing the general public to see these numbers would be unfair to "new agents" that are trying to climb into the real estate business. To them, I say TOUGH SH*&! It's called capitalism. If the new agents want to climb to the top, maybe they should go work with the "big boys/girls"? After-all, that's how they go to where they are.
Carla's blog post struck a nerve with several agents (just look at the comments left on it). Some agents feel it's an invasion of privacy, while others feel it's a great idea. I happen to be one of those that feel it's a great idea. If you don't want your history of sales to be available to consumers, what do you have to hide?
Until Next Time...
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Copyright © By Bob Hertzog 2011 "Consumers Are Craving Transparency And Redfin Knows It!"
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