How Important are Reviews?
We’ve all been there…you’re lost and been driving around that godforsaken city for hours looking for somewhere, anywhere to eat. The area is as sketchy as are the restaurants to choose from and the idea of choosing one with at least an “A”in the window appears to be somewhat low on the priority list. So do you really want to risk having to spend the entire next day stuck somewhere between the couch and the toilet because the only way to determine which of the eateries has the least amount of bacteria in their food is to actually eat it? Yeah, I thought not…
Gone are the days of old where you had to physically visit an establishment in order to experience their product no matter what it is. Yeah, we cant virtually taste food in the case of a eatery simply because we are all armed with that little box of internet independence AKA the cell phone. And, we can all visit these sites such as Yelp or Google which provide you with useful real life opinions from real people on just about whatever you desire. And to think, these places like Yelp, Google and so may others can actually help you avoid multiple unnecessary trips to the commode due to a poor choice in culinary uncleanliness.
trust me… in this day and age if there is one thing you “can” count on, its the general public’s opinion and them telling you how it “really” is.HBA
Who Do Reviews Help?
As previously mentioned, the use of online reviews can actually help you to make smart choices for goods and services and avoid the poor choices without ever needing to experience the good or service. Now granted, the reviews or merely opinion and open to being labeled “subjective”, however, I’d like to make the case… are they really? I mean if you get 50 people out of 60 who say eating at Joes will get you sicker than a dog will you go there and chance it? Probably not… On the other hand, if 50 our of the same 60 people said it was excellent… you may be more likely to visit that establishment, eat and be merry.
So in the world of real estate especially in the small city of Los Angeles, and as a home buyer with so many real estate agents working Los Angeles area, its an impossible task to sort through these people individually to choose the one who is that perfect fit. So this is where the review sites come into play. Looking through review sites in my opinion will help narrow down the field significantly because trust me… in this day and age if there is one thing you “can” count on, its the general public’s opinion and them telling you how it “really” is.
Sure, anyone can manufacture fake reviews or request reviews from friends or family but to think that an individual can produce a enough of them to really make an impact is not typical and really, most people can spot these reviews fairly quickly because they will generally lack in substance and specificity and are all super duper positive.
What to Look for in Reviews
When sifting through online review there are a couple things you want to keep in mind. Like I mentioned, anyone can have their friends, family and co workers leave positive reviews for them so look for the patterns. What type of patterns? Look for reviews that have little in the way of substance, specifics, or in some cases, poignant illustrations of experiences. In many cases, those who leave false reviews will not have explicit details with any specific experience.
Additionally, when looking at the agents website, make note of any plead for reviews. Many times, these individuals will ask, plead and sometimes beg for the elusive Yelp 5 star review. Not cool. When you see this type of behavior you can rest assured that there is likely a percentage of reviews which were requested and in many cases, the reviewer will feel obligated to leave a little something-something positive.
How bout the inspectors?
Yes…when looking at reviews with home inspectors there are two types of reviews you will find. Ones from the agent and the other from buyers.
The agents reviews are extremely important to read, mainly because these people will give you a window into what to expect from this inspectors. Things like…, “He is very inexpensive or affordable, he’s fast or my favorite, he doesn’t scare my buyers“. Never, IMO, ever use an agents recommendation, suggestion or buy into the flowery reviews without first doing you own research.
The actual home buyers reviews on the other hand will tell you everything you need to know about the inspector. Whether they are thorough and methodical or misses the obvious, fast or slow, experienced or new. Count the number of agents and compare them to the number of genuine buyers.
Which sites are better than others for real estate agents?
Personally, I’m partial to Google and Yelp for on line reviews. I say this because I don’t trust any of the so called “real estate agent specific” review sites such as Trulia or Zillow. I have looked at hundreds of agent profiles on these sites, and might I add, I personally know or have worked with some of these agents I searched and who I consider to be complete morons, unethical, untrustworthy and in with some of them… crooked as a politician. Yet, these people seem to have in some cases tons of positive reviews. Not just positive reviews, but 5 stars across the board! HUH??!
So now, let’s take a trip over to the Yelp or Google sites and weeeell… that’s a whole different ball of wax altogether. These agents who on Zillow or Trulia with a million 5 star reviews with raving reviews about how awesome they are, have like four reviews on Yelp or google and of the three, three are one stars, and the one that mom left is a five star.
So which one is a trustworthy resource? You be the judge and I mean that literally. You be the judge and when you are qualifying your agent look everywhere for reviews from individuals who have worked with that person in the past. Dig deep and look everywhere for honest opinions on this individual because after all, it’s your money and when the deal closes, you will inherit whatever issues are associated with whatever property you decide to purchase. And the agent? Probably somewhere on Lake Havasu or Vegas spending the commission from your sale. But don’t worry…, you’ll see them on FaceBook :).