Reputation Architecture & Rating Systems - The Main Course - Part 2 of 3

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


Repuation Architecture has been floating around the internet in recent months. Jonathan Washburn talked about it here. Reputation Architecture : How to multiply the effects of "Remarkable Service".  Yet there is no true definition for this phrase, but we can define reputation.  Reputation defined by Merriam is the overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general, a good name.

I wrote this post yesterday, Stop eating with your fingers - use your silverware - There are some good articles listed in my post that you should catch up on. Which will lead us into more details in the post below.


Your Reputation


So, what's at stake?  Your reputation, right?  Will one be able to hide behind a mask anymore? Be able to hide behind false ads that tell others how great they are? False testimonials on specific web sites?

As stated in previous articles, we have already seen reviews for such things as cars, movies, travel destinations, consumer products and now local restaurants. What will be next? Your local dentist, cleaners, barber, Real Estate Agent, Loan Officer, local lenders?

The 1 million dollar question - Can this kind of system actually hurt others?  Be abused? Will the good out weigh the bad?




One of the main themes that I see repeated over and over is that 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. Through blogging? Word of mouth? What information is right? Wrong? Misleading?

The Present - So let's jump to the next level. The consumer has found that person or company that they want to work with through today's channels. They have a bad experience. They can usually complain to friends, family, or the internet by using such sites as Facebook or Twitter.

The Future - That same person has a bad experience and now can report it to specific sites that will be tracking such services of a realtor or loan officer.


The Online services (to report bad experiences) - Can they be manipulated? What will make these sites to be the authoritative expert? What happens if you are dealing with someone in a bad mood or that it was just bad timing. Or that this person carries a chip on their shoulder, or a person that is just never ever happy.

What happens if you are just terrible or have bad luck picking such services or individuals. Carla Muss wrote - Don't blame me if your picker is broken.



False sense of security

Example : The new licensing requirements for loan officers. In a way, this can be like a rating system, because the loan officer is officially licensed. (leaving realtors out of this, because they already needed to be licensed.)  I have seen loan officers in their comments on Trulia or in blog posts thump their chests and tell others that they must deal with a licensed loan officer. One who has been tested nationally and state wide and who has been finger printed. Okay, the finger print thing is a good thing and just means that you have not been charged with a federal crime relating to finances. But the mortgage tests itself? 60% of the tests are based on ethical questions and mortgage related laws. Only 40% of the tests are about general mortgage knowledge or mortgage loan activities, which is mortgage 101 to me. Anyone can fake being ethical and most should know what a mortgage application is and how to collect pay stubs, W-2's, and bank statements.

My main point, I am still seeing the same number of buyers being denied last minute because of incompetence. Maybe a loan officer doesn't know how to properly compute income or read a pay stub, missing a specific loan that appears on the pay stub. Or that they just look at the credit score, but don't properly read the credit report. Or when there are problems, can't be found. The SAFE Act was designed to enhance consumer protection and fraud. Or was it more of a money scam? And many of these loan officers that I have seen sell the new licensing laws are the same ones putting out the wrong information.



How can we prepare for the change regarding rating systems?

I think there are just some basic and common sense things that we all should be doing to begin with.

  • Transparency - just be honest, upfront, sincere, and genuine.
  • Don't over promise and under deliver
  • Good follow up, keeping in touch with your clients, good or bad
  • Provide good and knowledgeable information & services
  • Be seen and heard - Through blogging, on facebook, Twitter, Zillow, Trulia
  • Know your reputation online now, who is talking about you and why - Google Alerts & Twitter Alerts


My opinion?  There will be an opportunity for us all to shine based on the 'quality of service', if the system is used correctly. But how many systems are put in place more so as a money maker, and that the consumer comes second. What do you say? Thoughts? How can we get around these issues mentioned?


KEEP THIS IN MIND : "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."


ps.. Active Rain's theme for 2011 for the RainCamps is Reputation Architecture - are you going?






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


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Show All Comments
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA


There is no going back in this industry. The consumers expectations are remarkably high and they must be exceeded.


Mar 06, 2011 04:21 AM #1
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Great follow-up post to your series.  You asked "how can we get around the issues"  That's the, as you say $1M question.  I am going to start out in the basement!!  Post to follow.

Mar 06, 2011 05:29 AM #2
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


STEVE... . I would agree to that statement... and that fact that it's so hard to trust people, even those that say, trust me.. I guess time will tell.

CARLA... . yes, how can we get around these issues.. where are your answers?  lol  Seriously, this will be a tough one, no matter how you look at it, or how much one thinks this will be great... I see to many negatives... thanks for the polite compliment and I look forward to your follow up post. thanks


Mar 06, 2011 08:00 AM #3
Daniel J. Hunter
REALTOR® - New Port Richey, FL

In my experience upset people are way more likely to complain than happy people are to praise.

Mar 06, 2011 08:26 AM #4
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

Jeff, As always, your posts don't disappoint!  Loved your statement about transparency.  That's how I conduct my business...and the kiss of death is losing trust!  Can't wait to see part 3 :)

Mar 06, 2011 10:08 AM #5
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Another good post jeff, yorur series is coming along well. It's new thinking so it will require thi skind of exploration.

Mar 06, 2011 01:25 PM #6
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


DANIEL... . bingo, which scares me more about a rating system. I have some good proof, even if I educate the person, that I am ethical and genuine, upfront and honest.. and give a good deal.. that person still might have a bad taste from a previous matter... could have a chip on their shoulder.. or could just hate people in general and want it their way all of the time. So... will the average realtor or loan officer skate on through because they just get the deal done, but if it's a tough deal and a good realtor or loan officer has bad luck? I know it's a law of averages... but how bad could that one complaint hurt someones rating?

ELIZABETH.... . losing trust is a tough one.. gaining it?  So many seem to gain it with broken promises and get lucky that those promises don't bite them in the ass. Time will tell and thanks for the kind words...

LESLIE.... . my problem, after just finishing part 3, I know I was all over the place at times.. at least I think I was... but yes, this is new territory that needs to be explored and talked about.. and thanks for the polite compliment and for reading the series...


Mar 07, 2011 02:53 AM #7
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Those who are honest with themselves and their clients will always have plenty of business. Rating systems will never gain enough traction to be relevant.

Mar 07, 2011 04:17 AM #8
Cory Barbee
San Diego, CA
Broker (760) 563-4022

I believe that the coaching has to be done in person and you must be prepared with facts. You have to be able to take the emotion out of the conversation and keep it based on the facts...

Mar 07, 2011 04:49 AM #9
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

@John, What makes you think that online rating systems won't take off?  I think they just may...

Mar 07, 2011 09:53 AM #10
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

Can't wait for the negative review from the tourist cuz I wouldn't jump up and show them houses with an hours notice (of ever meeting them!)

Mar 07, 2011 11:51 AM #11
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Jeff - I am looking forward to learning more about Reputation Architecture when Rain Camp gets a little closer.

Mar 07, 2011 02:20 PM #12
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Jeff -- I missed this series, so thanks, I'm bookmarking it for a read tomorrow, thank you! :)

Mar 07, 2011 03:47 PM #13
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

JOHN.. . I am not so sure about that... I think they could take off down the road.. how long from now, would be anyones guess. Sure, we all want the referrals... but in 2008, 85% of my business was from blogging online... time will tell.

CORY... . key facts is always a big thing with any business... especially when it comes to sales.

ELIZABETH... . I agree, I think it will take matter how people get referrals.. it might be a source down the road, drawing away from the natural referral... time will tell.

RENEE... .   lol.. I am sure you get many in town just wanting to check things out, with no intentions of buying. But how do you corner someone so quickly in your market upfront, hoping that they would be honest with you... but at the same time, not to insult them. better you than me.. ;o)

CHRISTINE.... .  I think I am also, at least to see what spin they have on it... it sounds pretty straight forward...

CHRIS... . my pleasure... I hope it won't bore you to much. Would love your feedback when you are done. thanks


Mar 07, 2011 04:09 PM #14
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

The opportunity for mitchief by competitors is simply too great with systems whereby agents are rated.  I've been libeled by anonomous writers on several occasions.  These systems simply invite disparagement of competitors.  I won't have anything to do with them.

Mar 10, 2011 03:07 AM #15
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Rating system in itself is great but I think we need to figure out how we can organize and structure this.

Zillow only allows the client to register with an email. Great for verification. But my other clients who do not want to register will probably wont rate me then.

Google Reviews only allow users with Gmail accounts only.

One thing's for sure - if I would invite you to write a review, chances are high I know it will be something good.

Then, if it's not good - say I didn't get back to the person via my website request (for whatever reason), then let this person be able to write an anonymous complaint? How fair would that be?

There are large companies who use the Social Media platforms to better understand their consumer's sentiment. You can read on their Walls people saying - Your product s....ks.

I would only hope that doesnt happen on my site.

While I understand why we should go there, it's another to see how all this will pan out.

Mar 17, 2011 03:24 AM #16
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