Most customers do not read reviews before choosing agent – and under half would choose same agent again

A huge majority of sellers do not bother to read reviews before appointing an agent – and there is enormous scepticism about the reviews themselves.

Only 2% trust them completely, 19% to a greater extent, 72% to some extent, and 7% don’t trust them at all.

The Home Movers Survey to which over 25,500 agents’ customers – sellers, landlords and tenants – contributed answers, shows that only 24% of agency customers overall read reviews before choosing an agent; 24% did read reviews; and 6% could not remember.

The proportion of landlords reading reviews before asking an agent for a rental valuation falls to just 12%.

Where reviews were read, most (42%) were on Google, followed by agents’ own website (36%), Trustpilot (11%), allAgents (6%) and Feefo (2%).

For most people (47%), the reviews did not influence their choice of agent. Some 395 were influenced by the reviews, and 14% couldn’t remember.

Most customers (65%) were not asked by their agent to recommend or review them, and 80% did not leave any reveiew

The survey also shows an uncertain level of satisfaction among sellers: less than half (48%) would use the same agent again; 29% would not; and 23% don’t know.

A proportion (17%) of those who have sold within the last year, or still have a property on the market, have changed agents, and 13% of those still trying to sell their home are considering changing agents.

Most sellers would not consider letting their property instead (85%) and, strikingly, most considered their property to be either average (53%) or better than average (42) compared with neighbouring homes.

Chains are a nightmare for most (74%); only 25% visited the office of the selling agent before instructing them, although 51% did pay a visit during the sales process. Some 22% never visited the agent’s office, and 2% said “My agent doesn’t have an office”.

While this suggests very low take-up of online agents, over a quarter (27%) said they had paid, or were paying, their agent a fixed fee. The largest percentage (32% of the sample) paid 1%.

The huge dominance of the market by Rightmove also emerges in the survey: 85% of sellers place being on Rightmove as the most important marketing tool, followed by Zoopla at 10%, OnTheMarket at 5% and PrimeLocation at 3%.

So, why did sellers choose the agent they went with?

Fees barely came into it, with just 19% choosing an agent based on the lowest fee; by contrast, 86% chose the agent on their marketing ability; 78% because they liked and trusted the agent; 76% because they were pleased with the valuation; and 72% on reputation.

Customers are also relatively unimpressed by proptech, with 80% saying they do not believe technology will transform estate agency.

The tenant survey also showed that a large majority (62%) rent because they have no choice, and not for lifestyle reasons.

This part of the survey also highlights worries for agents, with under a quarter of tenants rating agents as excellent in a number of areas, including communication. Interestingly, not one of the tenants surveyed said they had not been charged some kind of fee.

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6 Comments

  1. ama18

    What a lot of Tosh! There is only about 100 agents on Trustpilot yet allagents has about 15000. Was the survey conducted by Purplebricks sellors ??I do agree that there are a selection that don’t read them. That’s the ones that write the ‘I wished I had seen these reviews first….’ comments

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    1. DonShore93

      Most people ‘say’ they don’t pay attention to reviews – that stats say otherwise: businesses that look good in search thrive (see my rather more long-winded comment below).

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  2. PV68

    Rightmove is the biggest property portal and strangely it does not offer a Feedback tool where we can check agents reviews. Apparently they allow 6 fake, speculative adverts for every genuine one. No wonder their revenue and share price goes up whilst hardly any houses sell nowadays.

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  3. DonShore93

    If 24% of my potential customers did anything – from skateboarding to fly-fishing – I sure as eggs would be paying attention, and that goes for reviews too.

    But at the moment many agents are being led astray by the independent review sites when they should be concentrating on Google. If an agent has great reviews on Google – where their reviews are seen (I’m guessing that’s where the 24% come from!) then they will drive business.

    Read this about how having great reviews increased calls and visits to an agent’s website: http://www.helphound.info/2017/09/thanks-for-proving-us-right-google.html

    The other interesting number is the ‘86% who chose their agent on their marketing ability’ – faced with an agent with no reviews and one with fifty what conclusion might a prospective vendor or landlord reasonably come to about their ‘marketing ability’? Looking good on Google makes any business look good in the eyes of their potential customers – and that has to be good for business.

    Here’s the most important line: ‘Where reviews were read, most (42%) were on Google, followed by agents’ own website (36%), Trustpilot (11%), allAgents (6%) and Feefo (2%).’ – says it all really.

     

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    1. Anonymous Coward

      The thing about a Google review is that it is attributed to a real person who has a Gmail account, etcetera.

      You cannot delete a bad review and Google make it very difficult indeed to get through to customer services to try to get one removed. It is possible, but it’s probably quicker and easier to go and get a good review to replace it…

      More importantly, you can’t hide the bad ones and (if you know how) it’s easy to leave a review but it’s not thrust in your face all the time.

      More importantly still, if you type “estate agents in …” you get to see the star ratings and a link to the reviews.

      I haven’t bought a thing off Amazon recently without checking the reviews first – and that’s only let me down once because I ignored the reviews and bought the item anyway (like an idiot!).

      In due course I think that honest reviews are going to be VERY important.   The likes of Feefo and TrustPilot might have to swiftly adapt their review model because they are inherently dishonest – check the customer likes you, send them the email link, make the best reviews stick to the top of the page, hide or delete the ones you don’t like and pray that a few customers only give you 4 stars to make sure that you LOOK honest…

       

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      1. DonShore93

        Spot on. Google appeals – against reviews that contravene their T&Cs, not just any old negative review – are possible, but I agree they are difficult. Take professional advice – it increases your chances.

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