By Nobu Hata, 2009 NAR Conference Blogger
It’s been an interesting couple days home!
Your thoughts, Joe-Six-Pack? We’ve got a site for that.
Lost amid the cocktails of the YPN get together, and the hubbub of HouseLogic/RPR/NAR Second Century Initiative babble, was the Houston Association of REALTORS®’ win of NAR’s Visionary Award.
Taqi Rizvi, CTO of HAR, “created one of the first MLS public Web sites in the country, HAR.com, and led a team to implement more than 100 practitioner and consumer tools.” On Monday, they took home NAR’s Game Changer badge, effectively securing NAR funding and support of these initiatives, paving the way for these tools to be implemented nationwide in the future.
One of these new consumer-oriented tools HAR developed is a “Client Experience Rating.” The idea is that any consumer in the HAR market can use this wonderfully sticky Web site to rate their REALTOR® experience while they are browsing for a home, identify the process needed to buy the home, and *gulp* choose a REALTOR® to help them do so.
Coincidence or not, in the couple days I’ve been home from NAR’s 2009 Conference & Expo, I’ve had three conversations regarding some sort of public rating system of REALTORS® with a very one-sided view point: over my dead body will that ever be allowed in my/our/this association!
We REALTORS® are a fickle bunch, afraid of what we cannot control. What we fail to realize though is that in this day and age, Joe-Six-Pack-jilted-by-insert industry here-practitioner, is already taking it to their Facebook page/blog/Twitter/yelp!/Angie’s List pages and airing their disapproval in a very public forum, tainting all who read them.
Ask Horizon Realty about their Twitter post lawsuit, or a law firm partner you know about abovethelaw.com. Untold damage was done because grievances, real or not, were never immediately addressed nor countered on the very platforms they were aired on. It’s just a matter of time before someone decides to pool together real estate grievances onto a blog or a professional social networking site with a large user-base (LinkedIn? Yelp!?). They’re going to need a tool like this to stay relevant. It’s inevitable, people; get used to the idea.
I say bring it on! While HAR’s and Peoria Association of REALTORS®’ sites will have its share of skepticism with a perceived conflict of interest and lack of transparency – Hello? Rating REALTORS® on a site RUN by REALTORS®? – it’s a wonderful step forward to rebuild the trust lost in us. In a climate of unprecedented consumer pessimism regarding our share of the blame for the economic condition of this country, a consumer-centric site like this is taking a huge step forward to do just that. We owe it to our past, present, and future clients to lend insight into our industry by having sites like these, and addressing the good and bad that comes of it.
More of these sites will come… so embrace it! Google Alert your name, along with “REALTOR®” and the name of your state, to keep an eye peeled on your presence on these and any future Web sites. Counter it immediately, like-kind. Control what you can! Hop on LinkedIn, get recommendations, and flex your REALTOR® muscles by answering questions posed by home owners, buyers, and sellers, and drive folks off LinkedIn to it. Get involved in online communities like TruliaVoice and HouseLogic, and reaffirm yourself in the public eye.
And for heaven’s sake, make your online presence transparent! Really, if you’ve done your job, what are you worried about? Game Changer indeed.