Real estate guru & my gal pal Maya Paveza vouched, "Mountain Of Agents allows me to be present in a “for consumer, by consumer” environment that they are more likely to trust." Really? So I set out to see what all the fuss was about. (I'm nosy like that). I grill Mountain of Agent's creator Michael Becker about how he got burned, if there are any limitations to the site, and what he has to say to his critics.
Becker: Like most people, we used a real estate agent that was referred to us by a close friend. We made the mistake of not researching the agent first. From the start it was clear that we were not a priority. Ignoring our phone calls and dropping the ball on buyer inquiries quickly became a nasty habit. We watched the neighborhood prices plummet as the months passed, and missed out on being able to pull the trigger on a few properties we really loved.
Six months later, we made the tough call and fired our agent. We then began our online research, and were shocked at how difficult it was to find any reputable, objective information on real estate agents in our area. Most of the resources were cluttered, unusable and completely biased. After lots of research, we did eventually find a stellar agent who knew the area well, was trustworthy and had our best interests at heart. He sold our old property and got us into a new one—dare I say—almost painlessly. We thought to ourselves, “Was this how it was supposed to be the first time around?” After the dust settled and we were in our new home, it still troubled me that there were no simple, un-biased resources out there for consumers. I asked myself, “What could have made this process easier for us?” I then set out to design, develop and launch the Mountain of Agents directory as an objective resource for consumers to find, research and rate local realestate agents.
Becker: Adding additional features and filters is a great idea and we’ll address those modifications as the need arises. In the meantime, real estate agents can future-proof their listing from getting lost in the—ahem—mountain of agents on the site by reserving the zip codes they market to. You’ll get a persistent featured listing in one of the top two spots in search results no matter how many agents are listed in your area.
Becker: The way I look at it, agents with a poor track record or shoddy
history probably aren’t going to join a site where they can be openly rated. There are plenty of other forums for expressing your experiences in a written format, so I didn’t see a need to create another Internet bash fest.
I know how agents feel about real estate rating sites, so I wanted to make sure that our ratings system would only allow positive, cumulative feedback. The more positive ratings you obtain in each of the six categories, the more likely it is that a consumer will contact you. This way, the only negative aspect of getting rated is not having as many positive ratings as your local competitors.
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Becker: Keeping an accurate, complete profile should be a top priority. Be sure to upload a recent, professional photo of yourself, add a detailed bio and links to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. This makes it easy for potential clients to see who you are and what you’re about before they decide to contact you. You can also upload a personal video greeting to let clients ‘meet’ you from your profile.
And since our member profiles are turbocharged with relevance, they show up in Google organic searches within a few days. You don’t want prospective clients stumbling across incomplete profile information during their searches, or they’ll stumble right past you to a competitor.
Once your profile is tricked out, the number one way to get exposure is to get rated. Our ratings are integrated with
Facebook, so every time a client rates you they have the option of posting your Mountain of Agents profile to their Facebook stream. It’s a great way to cultivate viral referrals through client endorsements and social media.
Lastly, you’ll want to see if the zip codes you market to are still available. Having a featured listing along with a complete profile shows consumers that you’re serious and that you’re the top real estate agent in your area.
Hermanity: Recently you rolled out a few feature whereby Agents can post video of themselves! (See Jackson & Fuller Team example above) I'm a huge proponent of agent video because it allows consumers to see you "live" and get a sense of who you are. How many times have we read an agent's illustrious exciting written bio, only to be disappointed to find out they've got a personality of a dial tone in person! What cool feature can we expect next from Mountain of Agents?
Becker: Our brains never turn off, so we’re always thinking about how we can evolve and improve the site. We’ve got a few ideas percolating, and we’ll be launching a unique real estate blog in the upcoming weeks.