Having had a very busy week of valuations, I’ve been discussing how to choose your estate agent with a lot of prospective sellers. I always ask them how they picked the agents to meet with. Quite a few have clear reasons – recommendations from friends, previous experience and so on – but, of those that don’t, I have suggested that they consider using customer reviews as part of the process.
I would bet that, when booking a holiday, you’ve taken into account what others have said. Every holiday website I have come across has a review component and Tripadvisor is a household name.
So, when you’re about to be spending the equivalent of a holiday on employing an estate agent, maybe property related reviews are worth a look?
Here are some places to start;
Agents own websites – has the agent displayed any testimonials or a link to an independent review site? Of course, this is the agents own site so bear in mind the information displayed may have been carefully chosen.
Google – look for reviews displayed on the agents main Google listing, via Google Places/Maps or on Google+. This type of feedback will be submitted independently and verified via Google so should be representative.
Online directories – you may come across agent listings on Yell.com, Thomson, Freeindex, Cylex, Scoot, Touch Local and other similar sites. All have ratings or review components. Local media groups will have similar directories within their sites – for example, in Bath the local newspaper website is www.thisisbath.co.uk
Local business networks – for example, Madison Oakley have profiles on several Bath/Somerset based business forums like The Best of Bath – created to champion the most recommended businesses in the city, this is an excellent place to compare customer feedback. Like Google, this site independently verifies reviews before displaying.
Allagents – this site is Tripadvisor for estate agents, with the majority of UK agents having a profile on the site and reviews submitted directly by customers. There are even league tables by postcode and city. However, agents can choose to pay to upgrade their profile on the site and “feature” particular reviews so always look through all the information to get the full picture.
Twitter & Facebook – ask your local online community for recommendations and experiences. If agents have an online profile on these networks, has anyone reviewed or commented on their service?
Lastly, one lady told me the other day that she had invited us out to value her home on the strength of the number of thank you cards we have displayed in our office reception area. If you’re visiting agents offices, keep an eye out for similar info you can look through but make sure the cards are recent!