Online reputation management for real estate agents is more important than ever because of today’s consumer habits and reliance on agents for home purchases. Data from the National Association of Realtors shows 87 percent of buyers used a real estate agent to purchase their home. In addition, 93 percent of consumers went online for their main source of information when looking for a home.
The buyers’ high dependence on agents combined with their tendency to conduct online research means they will utilize customer reviews to pick an agent who will help them buy the house of their dreams.
To stay successful, real estate agencies need to maintain a favorable reputation through online reviews. Here’s why it’s important.
1. Reviews are Referrals for Real Estate Agents
Research shows that 90 percent of buyers use their real estate agent again in the future or refer them to others. A personal referral carries some weight, but online reviews are just as important. Data from Statista shows 25 percent will trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, but only if there are multiple reviews left by customers.
With enough reviews, agents will get an overall rating. On average, consumers are looking for 112 reviews to determine if the overall rating is authentic. On the other end of the spectrum, people are easily swayed by negative feedback. Specifically, over 94 percent of consumers said a negative review convinced them to avoid that business.
2. More Reviews Are Great for an Agent’s Online Reputation
To stand out from the competition and have a favorable online reputation, agents will need to amass a constant flow of reviews. Thankfully there are a couple of ways to get valuable feedback from customers.
How to Get Real Estate Agent Reviews
One of the most popular methods is through email. In fact, up to 70 percent of reviews come from emails. Writing out a quick “thank you” message before asking people to leave their feedback shows you care and value their feedback.
If you have a customer’s phone number, you can also send them a quick text or SMS message with a link to leave feedback on a review site of your choice. Ensure that the feedback process is quick and convenient, and make sure you tell customers what you plan to do with their phone number before sending the request.
Creating these email or SMS messages for each new customer can be tedious and take up valuable time, which is why it’s important to invest in automated software that can help you manage your reviews and overall online reputation.
Claim Your Real Estate Agent Listing on Review Sites
Showing off your real estate agent reviews is crucial to your online reputation management efforts. Potential home buyers looking for an agent can see the positive feedback about you online and with enough reviews they can be convinced to hire your services.
However, most real estate firms don’t effectively show the success of their agents. Specifically, customer testimonials or reviews are only a common feature on 57 percent of firm websites.
Fortunately you can take steps to expand your own digital footprint on a few sites. Aside from major review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, you can also make a listing on real estate-focused sites like Zillow and Redfin.
3. Reviews Add a Human Element in a Digital World
Even with the meteoric rise of sites like Trulia and Zillow, most people still prefer to use a real agent rather than go through the house buying process alone.
A recent survey showed that 83 percent of the consumers worked with an agent to help with the purchase of a home.
Here’s why: property is a major purchase, and people want to work with someone they can trust. Consumers are still wary of trusting their real estate future to an online business.
For many consumers, a digital platform like Zillow is actually a way to get more information on properties and agents before they engage with real estate firms.
To make the most of the digital transformation in real estate, make sure your agents’ reviews on Zillow and other websites are top-notch. Consumers will be vetting you even if they don’t realize it.
4. Reviews Help Real Estate Agencies Attract Top Talent
There’s a heavy demand for real estate agents, and firms can attract more agents in two ways:
A major hurdle for 46 percent of real estate firms is the pace at which they have to keep up with technology. Businesses that don’t adapt quickly to new innovations will have trouble retaining the best young agents, who want to engage with prospects through social media, SMS, and videos.
By using the latest innovations, agents can improve their communication with clients searching for a home, which equates to a better overall experience. Happy clients lead to more positive reviews, which help firms retain agents for other potential homeowners.
A Positive Outlook
Positive reviews are not just for agents. They’re vital to real estate firms as well, which need to maintain positive ratings on Glassdoor, Indeed, and other employer brand sites.
One way to get positive feedback is through employer branding, which involves more engagement between employees and the leadership team. With brand training, constant communication, and listening to employee feedback real estate firms can turn agents into brand ambassadors.
The result is that each agent will feel like they have a stake in the company’s success, which converts to a positive online reputation via reviews. More positive reviews will attract potential employees, and more importantly, the best agents to fit the firm’s needs.
Get the Best Agents with Great Reviews
If anything, the rising dependence on a digital reputation is a positive addition to the real estate industry. Firms should be more vigilant in monitoring online feedback left by customers and use their online presence to create an attractive brand (to prospective employees as well as future customers).
With online reviews, real estate firms also show that they’re adapting to current technology, which will attract better agents and more customers.