By Gwyneth Yeo, Head Editor, Zuu Southeast Asia. 20th April 2017
Property owners, buyers, renters, and tenants are fully aware of the importance of a good property agent when making a property transaction. They can provide professional advice, keep you on track to clear the relevant regulatory hurdles with each stage of the transaction, and help to negotiate the best price for the property.
Granted, there are many who prefer the Do-It-Yourself route and save on the commission that they would typically pay to an agent.
However, not everyone has the time, energy and temperament to do everything on their own, particularly if the very decision of choosing a property agent can prove to be a headache for them.
Zuu Online discovered a newly launched site that is set to streamline the decision-making process, right from the very first step.
Start on the right footing
Property Agents Review is a peer comparison site for property agents. If you are familiar with using TripAdvisor for your holiday planning, you would know how to use Property Agents Review to choose your next property agent.
The idea for the site is that property buyers, sellers, renters, and tenants, would be able to pick and choose their property agents on a trusted portal based on the agent’s past experience and the honest reviews left by verified customers, all on their mobile phones.
The concept of Property Agents Review is relatively straightforward.
Visitors to the mobile responsive site would be prompted to fill in three compulsory fields. First, they would indicate if they are on the site to buy, sell, rent, or rent out their property, then they would indicate the type of property of interest, as well as the location or locations of interest.
If they happened to be located in the area of interest, they could turn on the location tracking of their mobile phone and the site would do the rest.
The site would then bring up a list of property agents who have reviews, transactions and listings based on the stated criteria, alongside a location map which shows exactly where the listings are at.
To maintain the integrity of the website, only clients who have had completed transactions with the agents are allowed to leave their feedback on the site. On top of that, the reviews are neither edited nor filtered, to allow for complete transparency.
In fact, as a first, customers would be able to choose agents who have completed transactions in the location that they are interested in, which means their agent would have the most relevant experience to negotiate the best possible price for a deal.
Same-same but different
Much like other property directories, visitors to the site would be able to see each agent’s profile page, training background, and the rest of their listings. However, that is where similarities end.
For one thing, the pictorial representation of the agent’s listing locations is a huge step up from a text based listing by most property directories.
On top of that, this site allows visitors to the site to explore the agents’ profiles based on their previous transacted deals. A successful transaction is indicated on the location map with a small orange star. Clicking on the star then brings up the transaction details, as well as the star rating and review given by the client.
The agents are ranked based on their relevant experience within the area. The more reviews they received for the completed transactions in the area, the higher on the list they would be.
For customers who need further customisation options, they can sign up as a premier member. Premier members would be able to shortlist their favourite agents, receive SMS alerts to newly completed transactions at up to three developments, see star buy units that are being sold below their valuations, and regularly receive updated market reports.
Changing with the times
Property Agents Review is founded by OrangeTee, which felt the disruption from the site was necessary for the industry to grow, given the growing desire for a greater level of professionalism in the industry, as well as the consumers’ changing preferences and increased willingness to trust information provided by other consumers - even if they were strangers.
As a testament to the portal’s effectiveness, the site has received over 3,800 reviews since the first iteration of the site was soft launched in February 2016. Anecdotally, property agents listed on the portal have also noted a marked increase in new customers contacting them, after learning about them through the site.
Perhaps, it is time for the rest of the industry to sit up and take notice.