Innovation That Matters

Transparency comes to real estate agents

Property & Construction

When companies search for a new salesperson, you know they scrutinize each candidate’s track record before making an offer. When consumers hire a real estate agent to sell their home, however—probably the biggest asset they own—the choice is often made by chance. Enter Homethinking, a site that aims to bring transparency to U.S. real estate agents so as to help homeowners pick the best one for them. New York-based Homethinking puts agents under a spotlight so consumers can quickly identify the ones that shine. Toward that end, it crawls the web to find out what each agent has accomplished in the past, including how many houses they’ve sold, in what areas and for what prices, and how the actual sale price compared with the one that was advertised. Homethinking also interviews the people whose houses the agent sold for information such as how well he or she interacted with prospective customers, how they set expectations around the sales price and how responsive they were when questions arose. It then presents all the resulting data for consumers’ perusal, in an easy to use form that’s browsable and searchable by city, state and ZIP code. When they’ve found one who looks promising, consumers can contact him or her at their own initiative. Of course, it’s not just consumers who stand to benefit from this new transparency. Realtors themselves can claim and edit their profiles, contribute neighbourhood reviews and otherwise showcase their talents; they can also upload their listings and have them syndicated for free to Craigslist, Trulia and Zillow. And that, in turn, is where the transparency tyranny becomes transparency triumph. Embrace the new openness and make it your own, and you too will share in the glory. One to partner with or emulate in other parts of the world…? Spotted by: Susanna Haynie



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