Ann Arbor Realtors are you reading and keeping up with this issue on a product called Agent Match? I haven't seen your smiling faces on ALL the Facebook groups talking about this.
Here is a survey you can take on change.org. if you are as opposed to this rating system as I am. Bryan covered most of the points but my biggest concern's are:
1) Defining the neighborhood...is it by zip code, community, or subdivision.
2) Hurts new agents just getting started in the business.
3) Sellers themselves need to be asking Realtors they are interviewing, not having our Association pitting one agent against the other.
Thanks for allowing me to reblog your post Bryan Robertson Realtor.
Other resources available since Bryan posted.
Open forum and within that is a link to more about Agent Match.http://www.realtor.com/advice/agentmatch-open-forum/
This link shares some of the concerns agents have about this system, not the least of which is inaccuracy in the numbers: http://www.inman.com/2013/11/15/can-realtor-coms-bold-experiment-with-agentmatch-survive-agent-backlash/
Here is an article about the survey: http://www.inman.com/wire/agent-launches-change-org-petition-to-stop-realtor-coms-agentmatch/
REALTOR.COM seems to be working aggressively toward falling even farther behind Zillow and Trulia with their limited beta release of AgentMatch. Let's forget that the term itself, agent match, is already used on several other websites so the consumer will be easily confused. It's a beta so we can forgive that little marketing faux pas. What's truly lacking is any foresght on their part as to the flaws in their system and the damage it could do to the REALTOR brand image. Confused? Let me clarify.
The Devil Is In The Data
While NAR is proud to claim that their new ranking system uses data from MLS systems, that's actually the biggest flaw. For starters, in many markets around the country MLS services have been raising the issue of "off market" sales. In fact, the most recent issue of REALTOR Magazine had an article in it from Robert Bailey who points out that off-market sales accounted for 26% of San Francisco Bay Area residential sales in Q1 2013. In some micro markets the figures are even higher. Now, if NAR is basing their agent ranking using MLS data, doesn't this mean that they are missing a substantial portion of the sales data in each market by not including off-MLS data? I'm willing to bet this impacts many major markets including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and others.
Let's look at it another way. In the markets I work in, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the biggest agents are also the ones doing the most off-market sales. In fact, the Top 10% producers have access to off-market resources other agents don't. So, if these top producers are missing a large part of their data, it stands to reason the information NAR will provide to the consumer is, by default, inaccurate. That lack of accuracy is something Trulia and Zillow are often criticized for and now REALTOR.com is building a new service with the same flaws.
If NAR is trying to send consumers a message about data accuracy, this is really not the best way to do it. Now, if they were able to allow agents to add these off-market sales to the data being used to rank the agents, then all is well. However, I somehow doubt that's ever going to happen.
How To Damage The Brand and Members
The biggest issue with agent ranking systems is they don't give any credit to agents in several categories including new agents, those on teams, and niche experts (where volume may not be significant). I'm all for "raising the bar" so that consumers get the best agents we have to offer. The problem with agent rankings is that someone with a strong professional background and little production looks like a bad choice simply because they haven't sold enough homes.
Let's extend the argument to those in niche markets who sell at higher price points so they don't do the same volume others do. Are they inferior agents? Should their trade association penalize them for selling only a few homes a year, even when their service record is otherwise spotless? Those agents could be a huge local resource but they'll be labeled as inferior to consumers using AgentMatch to verify their performance.
The NAR impact on brand image in this case is fairly clear. An agent ranking system based on MLS data heaps rewards on those who sell large volumes of homes for the greatest GCI. Even if they added factors for positive feedback via the MLS (which is NOT a universal feature), this hurts other members in ways they can't recover.
A Better Way To Rank Agents
My suggestion to NAR is to scrap this massive waste of time and take a track that's truly innovative. Pairing consumers with agents requires a smarter approach that's more about personality and expertise than pure sales figures. Add additional dimensions of data that take into account aligning personalities for starters. That alone would take NAR down the path to matching people on both expertise and personality. If we're all about creating a team with the consumer, then aligning on personalities would be a good way to go.
My point to the NAR folks - if they're reading - is that the technology exists to do this better and take a leap above the competition. I'm ready, willing, able to point you to the companies that could easily make it happen.
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Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022
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