Why you shouldn’t trust compare estate agent websites

Comparing estate agents is a tricky task. With so many agents competing in any given suburb there has been a growth of websites and tools that claim to compare estate agents for you.  They claim to show you only the best agents. Take the hassle out of finding an agent. Show only the most real and genuine agent profiles. But can it really be so easy to find your estate agent? We take a look at some of these sites here and why the old tried and true method of contacting agents directly and having them visit in person is truly the only way to go.

Compare Estate Agents

I’m sure you’ve typed into google compare estate agents or find local realtors or something similar.  You may have noticed several top results all marked as an ad from sites like agent comparer or local realtor finder or some other curiously similar phrase that if you were to open them would all some how look the same. While they do offer some pretty fast promises with what they can deliver for you there are some serious concerns you need to be aware of.

Data mining – selling your data

These sites make the majority of their money by setting up lead capture forms and collecting data from you. It will start with something small like, enter the suburb where you live to see information. This will quickly turn into entering your entire address and name to personalize your report or data. Using commonly known psychology against you they will lead you down a path of ever increasing commitment.

compare estate agents example
This is a what a subscription wall looks like

You don’t want to waste your time and have already filled in a little bit of information so what is just a little more detail. All the while you are being tricked into divulging more and more personal information along with your contact details before being shown a thing. Bit this is only the tip of the ice berg. Along with browser and social media tracking data these details can be combined to especially with information being sent by your phone to form a profile of you. These profiles are valuable to data agencies who will pay up to $60 for a single contact if complete with name, email, phone number and address. This is the core business model of these sites. Not to provide you with information but rather capture your information to sell it to data agencies.

compare estate agents data mining
Before you know it you are 5 pages deep and have entered personal information.

Charging Agent fees – an biased & unfair competition

Some services do exist that will provide you with agent recommendations without primarily focusing on your data. Make no mistake data mining is still part of their business! But these sites  will instead focus on generating income from agents themselves. These are a pay-to-win lead generation platform FOR AGENTS. They exist primarily to combine agent fees into a bigger resource pool than any single agency could afford and use those resources to price local agents out of their area’s advertising market. They then sell this advertising space back to agents and generate income through these fees.

While this is a clever business model and generally seems like a no harm- no foul situation… It leads to a biased and unfair competition. After all agents aren’t going to pay for a platform that does not recommend them. So instead of submitting your data to be sold in exchange for honest and real local agent recommendations, you instead will only ever be shuffled off to the highest bidder. Of course large franchise and remotely headquartered agencies will always be the top of any shortlist of recommendations. Can you trust that the best agent for you is simply the highest remote bidder?

Advertising money – Doesn’t exist for your benefit

Lastly you may have to be subject to a large number of advertisements while clicking through the multiple pages of forms required before seeing any agent comparison. These sites make large revenue from advertisers and thrive on high click rates. After all the many pages required to fill out your details present the opportunity to show many more ads and suggest high engagement to advertisers. Make no mistake this does not exist for your benefit. The end result of whether or not you complete their forms and provide your data, or even get a good agent recommendation, is not what they are interested in. As long as you clicked through 3 or 4 pages with ads loading, these sites can make a profit.

Subscription walls – Ultimately adding to frustration and slowing you down

Ultimately you will find more frustration than its worth. Having information that you are interested in dangled like a carrot behind a subscription wall. This will end up just being another set of steps between you and your agent that will slow you down. In the end only you can make the decision of which agent is best for you. There is no need to get another middle man or agency involved along the way.

So how do you compare estate agents?

Viewing agencies online
Start by finding 3 local agencies online

We always recommend to all of our potential clients to find at least 3 local agents and invite them for an in-person meeting. Nothing will give you a sense for their character, integrity and personality like chatting with them in person. Be on the look out for how they talk, how they present themselves and their local knowledge. Keep in mind this is how your potential buyers will see this agent and you want to be able to trust they will represent you in the best light.

Another great way to get to know agents is to attend one of their open houses. You can see exactly what they might do for you. See how they interact with buyers and how the buyers respond to them. You also want to see how much time and energy they dedicate to open homes. Are they only there for 10 minutes, are they distracted on their phone, are they making calls and representing other clients while in a vendors home? Agents should be focused and available, committed to representing their clients – if not they may not be the best agent for you.

Lastly always compare an agents previous sales. You may not be looking for the most sales in a particular suburb but instead want to find the best sales. You don’t want an agent who will treat you like another number. A quick result may not always be the best result either. Look for agents who have considerably higher sales prices in an area, or glowing reviews on third party websites. Compare the important factors that matter to how they will represent you not how they have represented everyone else.

Using this method you will find an amazing and trustworthy local agent. You wont waste your time with subscription walls. Don’t be tricked into giving up your data or generating ad revenue for some remote company. And you will find the benefits of a real local agent – local market knowledge, being able to be seen in action and relating with your real buyers.

Contact McElwaine Estate agents

If your in our area and looking to sell please feel free to book an in person appraisal. We’d love to chat and get to know you and you will see that we freely give all the knowledge and experience we have accumulated. We want our neighbours to experience outstanding sales and are happy to help in any way to achieve that.

If you are out of our area and are struggling to compare estate agents, please reach out to us. We are happy to recommend great agents across Australia to peoples real estate dreams come true.