There are several varieties of real estate agent directory web sites out there on the internet. Most of them are either from a realty association, a real estate company or the professional real estate agents themselves. Well a startup in Bucks County Pennsylvania has taken the real estate directory into their own hands by providing a real estate directory for consumers, by consumers. That directory is called Mountain of Agents.
Michael Becker the founder of Mountain of Agents explains that creating a real estate agent directory for consumers by consumers isn’t their only differentiator. Mountain of Agents has simplified the ratings system, which in turn makes it more transparent than other directories.
Mountain of Agents has a simple ratings system that’s done by tally instead of long drawn out text based reviews. Also, in order to rate the agent you must be logged into Facebook making it harder to manipulate the ratings system. The Facebook integration also allows the user/rater to share that rating and their agent on Facebook, which of course is the 2012 equivalent of word-of-mouth, which is the driving force behind good real estate agent relationships.
The main goal Becker is trying to achieve with Mountain of Agents, is the need for transparency. The startup was born out of a bad experience Becker had that ended up delaying his real estate search because they had to fire the agent. He talks more about that in the interview below.
What is Mountain of Agents?
Mountain of Agents is a real estate agent directory built for consumers, by consumers. We’re passionate about real estate, and we want to help people find an agent they’ll love based on ratings they care about.
What makes our directory unique is its simplicity and transparency. Our ratings system steers clear of written testimonials and instead uses a simple category tally system. Integrated with Facebook, our friendly and inviting approach makes rating agents easy, effortless, fun and potentially viral. These aspects not only appeal to consumers, but to real estate agents as well. Creating a profile in our directory forces them to be transparent and stand out from the crowd by accumulating more ratings and reserving more zip codes than their local competitors.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Michael Becker is the founder and CEO. He has over fifteen years of experience in web design, brand creation, front-end development and internet marketing. His wife is the CMO who handles analytics, SEO and media buys.
How did you come up with the idea?
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 real-estate agents.
What problem does Mountain of Agents solve?
Our main goal is to add transparency to the real estate agent selection process. We’ve created a simple and objective resource for consumers to find and rate real estate agents. Most other real estate resources out there try to do everything, which winds up negatively impacting usability.
What’s your secret sauce?
Simplicity and usability. It’s not a secret, however you’d be surprised at how often these two factors are overlooked when creating a business model or building a website. What’s one challenge you overcame in the startup process? The initial feedback we received from the real estate community was related to how we planned to compete with more well-known real estate sites. Our answer was simple: we’re not trying to compete. Since Mountain of Agents is run by consumers not real estate agents – we’ll always have that unique edge when it comes to our site’s credibility.
What’s next for
Mountain of Agents? We’re plugging along daily helping to spread the word to agents and consumers. We just launched a web video series on our Facebook page which pokes fun at the home search process: http://mtno.us/NdWlZF
Check out Mountain of Agents here
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