Do Louisville Realtor Reviews Tell the Whole Story?

Photo of Woman reviewing Louisville Realtors on her laptop
Reading Louisville Realtor reviews will only tell you part of the story. Be aware of the sleight of hand that websites use to draw you in.

Back in 2010, I wrote, How to Find the Best Realtor® in Louisville, which is another way of asking, “Who’s the right Louisville Realtor for me?”

Like most things, there’s no “correct” answer. It depends.

  • Do you want an agent who’s super-successful and only has a few minutes available for you or a new, hungry agent?
  • Do you like tons of listings or just a select few?
  • Would you prefer an agent who quite friendly and wants to be your BFF or one that’s all business and focuses on getting the job done?

If you haven’t found your Louisville Realtor for life then most real estate clients head to the Internet to find an agent. So, what exactly do they find?

Internet Searching for Realtors Isn’t As Straight-Forward As You Might Think

The answer, as expected, is “it depends.”

What you type into the Internet search engine matters a great deal. As does the recent change Google made that defaults to results weighted by your browsing history.

What does that mean?

It means if you’ve visited a website, let’s say TrePryor.com, a couple of times then when searching for a keyword phrase that occurs on this site, those pages will be moved higher in the results.

Did you know that? Google calls them personalized results.

On Google’s site, click the “Search Tools” button which will reveal some additional choices. See that one labeled “All results”? That’s the new Google algorithm that factors in a boatload of variables.

Screenshot of Google results with All results default setting
If you want a pure Verbatim set of results you now have to choose that under Search Tools » Verbatim, otherwise your own browsing habits influence your findings.

Isn’t that crazy? (Bet you didn’t think you’d be learning SEO today.)

Louisville Realtor Reviews

So back to Realtor searching. If you happen to type, “louisville realtor reviews” in the search engine (and assuming you live closer to Kentucky than you do Louisville, Colorado) then you’ll likely get results from the following major websites.

Zillow and Trulia

Screen shot of Zillow search results for Louisville KY Real Estate Agent Reviews
Like most web companies, Zillow and Trulia take money to place a Louisville Realtor higher in the results. Online reviews are nice but are they legit?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably familiar with Trulia and Zillow, the behemoth web companies that are technology companies. This is important, they are not real estate experts.

Turns out, both of these sites are high on customer appeal and short on accurate information. It’s a shame that so many consumers are being hoodwinked. For more, read ‘Shopping Local’ applies to Louisville real estate websites too.

In our example, Zillow leads the pack with 1,381 results under Louisville KY Real Estate Agent Reviews. That’s a lot to sort through, huh? How do you choose the best Realtor for you?

Most people start at the beginning but notice the “Featured” button next to the top three? Those agents have chosen to pay Zillow money to have their names come first. Are they the best agents? Not necessarily.

Be alert to this because that’s how much of the Internet works. Pay us money and we’ll make you look good—a time-honored tradition.

In addition to the pay-for-placement, Zillow then displays agents based on the number of reviews. Sounds fair. Most sites work like this, to a certain extent.

In order for agents to have a large number of reviews, they must ask their clients to create an account on the website and then provide their ratings/feedback. Not always a fun request but hard-working agents do deserve some praise, right?

Just understand that there are ways to job the system. Results are not verifiable nor guaranteed and can be completely fabricated. But what else can an honest, Internet searcher do?

Angie’s List and Yelp!

Screen shot of Angies List results page for Louisville Realtors
Like most web companies, Zillow and Trulia take money to place a Louisville Realtor higher in the results. Online reviews are nice but are they legit? Search engines also fail to return accurate results.

Sure Angie’s List will be worthwhile in my hunt for the best Louisville Realtor, right?

Well again, there are plot twists. Agents do not have to pay Angie to get listed but this time consumers do! Money makes the world go ’round.

Once listed good luck getting noticed. I set up my account years ago and to this day have never seen my listing there, even if I search for “Tre Pryor”. Ghosts in the machine?

How about Yelp!? You know, the fun site with all the great restaurant reviews. They do Realtors too? Sure do, but… out of the 42 results for “realtor agents,” none have more than one review.

This is because Yelp!, in their attempt to weed out the bogus reviews (see Zillow, Trulia above) have a system in place that only displays reviews based on criteria that they won’t share with the public.

One day a review is up, live to the world, and then next it’s hidden. How useful is that?

Other Websites for Louisville Realtor Reviews

Screen shot of Homethinking results page for Louisville Realtors
You would think a site run by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) would have quality information, and it does, but that doesn’t mean it’s primary purpose is to make money for NAR.

Is there a single useful site on any of the Interwebs that can help a Louisvillian find a great Realtor?

  • Merchant Circle: 4208 results for “real estate agents in Louisville, KY” and not a single review. Sheesh! Half of the results aren’t even agents.
  • Homethinking: Claims “Realtors are ranked by their past sales and customer reviews” and for the most part that’s true. But agents that pay get listed first. Reviews can be submitted by agents so… how reliable is that?
  • Yellowpages and other indexes: Paid search placement and not extremely useful.
  • Top Agent Choice, Top Agents Ranked, et cetera: These sites simply try to get customer information so that they can then turn around and sell these “leads” to active Realtors. Not exactly shady but close.

Recommended Course of Action

So where does this leave us? When looking for Louisville Realtor reviews found online, the results fall into three categories.

  1. Worthwhile Realtor Reviews: These are hard to find but when you do, they provide useful guidance.
  2. Worthless Realtor Reviews: These are everywhere and scale from complete fabrications to misleading fodder.
  3. Scams: It wouldn’t be the Internet if it didn’t allow nameless cyber-charlatans the opportunity to take advantage of consumers.

Truthfully, the best advice is speaking face-to-face with your trusted friends and family about their experience with a Louisville Realtor.

If you’re completely new to an area, conduct a few phone interviews with prospective agents. Get to know them a bit and when the time comes to make a choice, go with your gut.

Who knows, maybe you’ll select an agent you think is worthy of your writing a Louisville Realtor review.