Stop Eating With Your Fingers.... Use Your Silverware - Part 1 of 3

Mortgage and Lending with Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc

Bad news travels fast


News travels fast, especially bad news, and all because of the internet. We have Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and other online sources where people can report negative issues.

Consumers sometimes think they do a good job at shopping for specific services when they actually don't. Because information is so readily at our finger tips, they just dive into the main course, almost like if you were to eat with your fingers, but not use your silverware.  Same issue with using the internet. There are so many tools that can be used, or one to be properly educated, but the consumer is so hungry and starved for good information, if they think they have found it, they stop. The same can be said when just shopping for a real estate agent or a loan officer, no matter if it's done online, through word of mouth, etc, etc.



Jonathan Washburn had written this a few months ago :

Reputation Architecture: How to multiply the effects of 'Remarkable Service'

This is a must read to understand what I am talking about and where we could be heading.


If you haven't figured it out by now, there are people with bad experiences within the real estate and mortgage industry who tend to pick bad agents or loan officers. If you are next in line when picked after a bad experience, and because that person already has a bad taste in their mouth, you need to be better than just good. Why? You might already be starting in the basement.


Below are 3 articles that give examples and or talk about the problems that consumers are facing and what realtors are facing. How does one define a great realtor? A great loan officer? Is it done by your production numbers? How much money you made? Because the person seems really really nice?

Many talk about educating the consumer. Okay, sounds great... sounds easy. But what if that consumer is getting the wrong information? How do we put an end to this, as Elizabeth Cooper stated in her post. I know this is a lot of reading, but you need to read all 3 posts.


Elizabeth Cooper


Elizabeth Cooper-Golden wrote :

How are WE going to fix THIS?

Carla Muss


Carla Muss wrote :

Don't Blame Me if Your Picker is Broken


Leslie Ebersole


Leslie Ebersole wrote :

How Do You Rate?





Conclusion : So Jeff, where are you going with all of this??? I read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer's business section written by Alan J. Heavens from December 19th, 2010.

We talk about educating the consumer so they can make better choices. But how and where can this be done? Who gets chosen as the true expert in real estate or regarding mortgages.

With this post, I wanted to set the table, put this out there so we have a starting place at the table. In part 2, I will be diving into the main course with some thought and facts pertaining to the said referenced articles above. What are your thoughts now? What could you add to any of this, as we move forward. Do you see any of this as a growing problem? Do you see some sort of rating system? For realtors and loan officers?

Check this out... Angie's List - An online referral system, that vouches for specific companies. Is this list the next BBB, Better Business Bureau? Are there holes in lists or companies like this? I would think so, but what do you think? 

Is Angie's list the next wave of online services that will dictate your business online? 

Is this a wake up call to what lies ahead?


The end result... are you one to dive into the information society with your fingers, just grabbing at anything that sounds or looks good, or do you properly research? This will be talked about in part 2.




Posted by




follow Jeff Belonger on Twitter


The FHA Expert's fan page on Facebook     Add Jeff Belonger to your network @ LinkedIN

                                                                            FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK



- FHA Loans - USDA Loans - VA Loans -

- Energy Efficient Mortgages - 

- Conventional Loans - 203 k loans -

- FHA Home Loans - Mortgages -


Experience & Knowledge at its BEST !!!



Follow me on:

Mortgage Myth Busters



For more information on FHA loans, please go to this link. The FHA Expert

For important mortgage insight to watch for, please read : Consumers need to be aware of these Red Flags!



For information about FHA myths & FHA rumors, please read : FHA Myths & Rumors


Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Home Buying
New Jersey Camden County Cherry Hill
POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
The Art Of Marketing You
The Lounge at Active Rain
opinions vs facts
real estate education
mortgage education
consumer complaints real estate
rating system

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Christine Hooks
Pino Agency - Pennsville, NJ
Celebrating 25 Years in Real Estate!

Jeff, I heard zillow was going to begin a 'rating' system for Realtors that would include how many transactions he/she has, days-on-market, list price to sale price ratio, etc.

It could be a whole new world if it happens.

Mar 05, 2011 04:04 AM #1
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Jeff, I look forward to reading these.

Mar 05, 2011 04:17 AM #2
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

Love this subject, Belonger.  I'm all for an Independent Outlet where consumers can get feedback on Agents/Loan Officers/etc.  And while I'm sure that it can/will be manipulated (I already have seen this happen on Zillow with LO's back in the day) ... it's a start.

Good fodder for a series though.

Mar 05, 2011 04:17 AM #3
Karen Baker
Sunset Beach and Beyond Realty - Sunset Beach, NC
Professional Help with Rapid Responses...

Jeff ~ Rating people on a job well is great but what about the ratings that don't show up for those who do a terrible job ~ How can those be shown ~ In business you can ask for a review knowing you did a good job ~ The problem is getting the bad reviews seen ~


Mar 05, 2011 04:55 AM #4
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


CHRIS.. .  I think many of these online rating systems will be abused and not accurate. And I think they will become misleading, and won't truly point to good knowledge and expertise. Just my opinion and will talk about this in part 2.

JANICE.... . thanks and I hope to have part 2 up by Monday morning.

JASON... . I know you do... and just like Zillow with those online ratings for loan officers, it was very misleading and basically came down to those that gave out the most quotes, that they were able to build their own ratings by doing this. I just find it all misleading, that the systemts can be gamed, and so much more. And sure, it's a start, but with anything online, where is the true value? How can it be found? Will it be real? Accurate? a 50/50?  As mentioned, I will be talking about this in detail in part 2.

FRANK & KAREN... . well, bad ratings show up quicker in my opinion.. get noticed more. And just because a deal closes, and nothing went wrong, is that an excellent rating? If the buyer has a chip on their shoulder, and one little thing went wrong, but they are dealing with an excellent realtor... does that person deserve a bad rating?  I like rating systems and I don't.. and I think in the beginning, this can be a bad thing when shown online. As mentioned, I will be talking about this in part 2. thanks


Mar 05, 2011 05:07 AM #5
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Hi Jeff. Nice start to your series. Did you go back to my post and see Bob Stewart's comment to me and then mine to him? .....maybe some good ideas in there...I am going to see if i can tidy it up and put it in a post that links back to you.

This iterative development of concepts is fun.

Mar 05, 2011 05:23 AM #6
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Jeff - I love Angies List.  We have been using since Sept 2009.  2010 was our first full year and we just won the 2010 Super Service award in 3 categories: Flooring, carpet and hardwood.  My customers from there are excellent and they love AngiesList because they know the reviews are objective and because they get chance to choose who they meet with.

I was just educating my BNI group on this and other places to put onlline reviews.  I should do a follow up post to this when I can find a bit of time.  I have links to other places, too.  I will have to check out your other links after my afternoon appts.

Mar 05, 2011 05:27 AM #7
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

Jeff, What a great post and I appreciate the link to my blog :)  I loved your analogy of eating with your fingers.  That's PERFECT!   Since my post, I am working on gathering ALL of my reviews and having them go to yelp, google, etc.  I"m by golly going to get the word out that I am a great agent, and stop worry about the others that aren't!  I'll show them, lol.

It AMAZES me that my clients don't ever want to do a bit of homework on the lenders that I refer them to.  While most times we do have a relationship formed and I feel they trust me, they still truly should do a bit of homework, don't you think?

This is star worthy by golly :)  

Mar 05, 2011 06:46 AM #8
John Mulkey - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

Jeff - I won't even address the issue of those who are incompetent or dishonest; there are some in all professions.  And while ratings websites or services may be of some benefit, the key is selecting the best, most qualified person to assist you in your home buying/financing adventure.

Having never been a real estate agent nor a lender in all my years of home building, but having used the services of both hundreds of times, I understand firsthand the importance of "doing your homework."  I'm constantly amazed by those who make major purchases/investments without any attention to the person handling the transaction, and who then complain about the services they received.  

It's more than "buyer beware," it's buyer do your job.

Mar 05, 2011 09:15 AM #9
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


LESLIE... . I have to go back and read the comments. In part two, I will be breaking down the things that I mentioned above.. As I mentioned, I just wanted to set the table in part 1. And any link back is appreciative, but since it's been out for a few days, less will see it. But thanks. ;o)

DEBBIE... . you might like Angie's list and I am sure it works... but again, I will be going into details about this tomorrow... those that rate people or give the thumbs up. And that is the other part of my point that you are making... you said.. "My customers from there are excellent and they love AngiesList because they know the reviews are objective "  Yes, because Angie's list scrubs the negative comments.. and keeps others from adding good comments that might be spamming. But again... it goes back to who is really good, just based on a good or bad review. More in part 2.. thanks

COOP.. .  thanks for the compliment regarding my fingers analogy.... but I wish this post had more substance and that it wasn't a preview for part 2... this subject that we are talking about could easily be 2,000 words, with good details. And the homework part, I will be talking about more in details tomorrow.. And thanks for the suggest.

JOHN.... . I wish we had a like button on here for comments...  your statement here is spot on... "It's more than "buyer beware," it's buyer do your job."

As I mentioned, I will be writing about this and more details on the article that I read... and what I disagreed about the article. Because as much as the survey says that less people are shopping for the mortgage services, those interviewed missed one important key point. The main theme was that people were searching for those that said they can get the deal done, over the rate. Well, we have two weather patterns that would collide, making it the perfect storm. More in part 2 and thanks for your input. thanks


Mar 05, 2011 09:31 AM #10
Joe Kenny
Realty Executive Midwest - Darien, IL
Better Than Your Average Joe

Thanks Jeff, I subscribed to your blog when you mentioned you were working on this in Elizabeths blog.  I eat with my fingers way to much.  Thanks for the gloves.

Mar 05, 2011 10:21 AM #11
Chris and Maria Jeantet
Coldwell Banker C&C Properties - Redding, CA
Redding CA Real Estate Couple

Reputation architecture is the next big thing for Real Estate (and other professions) - it'll take off like Facebook did.

Mar 05, 2011 03:39 PM #12
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

This is going to be an issue that we will all need to address sooner than later.  It's not unusual for personalities to clash with the results of a bad online review for a person who does their job really well.  

Mar 06, 2011 12:48 AM #13
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


JOE... . thanks and my pleasure.. and thanks for following.. hope not to disappoint.

CHRIS & MARIA... . that is a fear of mine... because I can see many making money off of this, when in reality, if the good people just keep doing what they do, they will have no problems. I will be writing part two soon. thanks

GABE... . yes, and I think we need to talk about it now and address it now, because I think this could even hurt the good people.  thanks


Mar 06, 2011 01:17 AM #14
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I agree with you Jeff on the potential for abuse and inaccuracies (your comment to Chris #5).  Reminds me of the on-line reviews for restaurants (talking about eating fingers LOL).  "Bad service," "food wasn't good," etc.  These are all subjective reviews.  Yesterday I went out with my son and friends to celebrate his 24th birthday.  Our server would be "rated" poorly, if I was to make a review.  We were served another table's order and had to tell her "hmmm, we didn't order that."  She forgot something we ordered, even though we asked her again for it -- never made it to our table.  Etc.

Objectively, she was SWAMPED.  It was dinner time on Saturday and we were in the bar of a very nice place during Happy Hour!  She was SWAMPED.  Her actions weren't intentional but due to her being so rushed.  Had the place been less crowded, I'm sure our experience would have been better.  But, we were there to enjoy each other's company, which we did.  We weren't there to provide a Zagat review.

People are not objective in business.  They do not, can not understand the nuances of our line of work.  My concerns on an overall rating system or systems is the potential for non-objective, one-sided rates.  I am also concerned about people loading the rating scores personally.  The Internet can be used as a diasppearing cloak.  People don it, and remain anonymous.  So you never know who is saying what, or why. 

You wrote a great summation:  "If you haven't figured it out by now, there are people with bad experiences within the real estate and mortgage industry who tend to pick bad agents or loan officers. If you are next in line when picked after a bad experience, and because that person already has a bad taste in their mouth, you need to be better than just good. Why? You might already be starting in the basement."

And with that . . . I feel another post coming on . . .

Mar 06, 2011 05:03 AM #15
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Jeff -- I think this topic will become more prevalent as the world shrinks by the day because of social media, etc.

Mar 08, 2011 04:47 AM #16
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I think having a system such as Angie's List is a great place to start. Consumers are receiving and digesting more information than ever. I think we are headed in this direction and those who aren't aware of it will be left behind.

Mar 17, 2011 03:17 AM #17
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Loreena, I disagree. Angie's List is OK for reviewing chiropractors, plumbers and dog walkers. Just because some service professionals in some areas, doesn't mean that it will extend to financial type professions. Usage in the Chicago area is sparse.

I'll tell you what I worry about: the social media train that too many people jump on without bringing along all the rest of thier tools for managing the business. Many cohorts in many areas simply will not use FB, zillow or other online system to chose their real estate service professionals. Agents can waste a year or more building their fan base, blogging, building profiles -- and still end up with no business! 

Jeff, here's by not so deep thought: I've had a blinding flash of the obvious: for every Gen Y/Gen X buyer there is a baby boomer seller. A mar comm strategy has to bridge them, not slice them up and talk to them individually. Let's talk.

Mar 17, 2011 06:32 AM #18
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jeff Belonger

The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans
Ask me a question

Additional Information