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Responding to Critical Lack of Understanding about Real Estate Transactions, RISMedia Establishes “Top 5 in Real Estate Network®”

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New Network Marks New Deal for Consumers Seeking Real Estate Agents; Moves Process beyond Ads on Shopping Carts, Postcards, and Milk Cartons

RISMEDIA, January 12, 2009- Declaring that the disastrous subprime lending crisis was fueled by a lack of transparency to the consumer, RISMedia Inc. today launched its “Top 5 in Real Estate Network®,” signifying a “New Deal” for home buyers and sellers seeking clear, unbiased insights to their local real estate markets.

As its name suggests, the Top 5 in Real Estate Network is exclusively reserved for only the most experienced, top producing real estate practitioners. As required by RISMedia, which has provided the real estate industry with leading-edge news for nearly 30 years, each member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network must first meet a stringent set of criteria, based upon performance, experience and results, as well as educational and professional skills and service to the consumer. Members must also provide consumers with timely and relevant real estate content, as provided by RISMedia and other information sources.

“Consumers today have an inadequate level of understanding about the process, opportunities and risks facing them in real estate transactions, and they badly need a New Deal in this area,” said RISMedia President and CEO John Featherston. “We saw that during the subprime crisis when borrowers were taking out mortgages they could ill afford, much less understand. The Top 5 in Real Estate Network is designed to meet this critical need for education and help consumers identify the most professional real estate agents, based upon objective performance standards.

“Lacking a means to gain a deeper understanding of the skills leading agents provide, consumers have come to not only expect less, but demand less as well. Consumers tragically choose an agent because of advertisements on shopping carts, postcards, milk cartons, benches or bus shelters because they don’t understand what skills leading agents offer,” said Allan Dalton, the President of RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate Network.

The Top 5 in Real Estate is a formalized network of agents who have earned elite status within their profession. Membership is granted for only those North American real estate agents who have satisfied five “consumer-valued criteria.” These are:

1. Experience (a minimum of three years as a residential real estate agent).
2. Results (Top 10 production in their market area or multi-million dollar sales volume).
3. Commitment to advanced professional education.
4. Willingness to distribute important consumer education materials across multiple channels (including websites, social networking and other outlets).
5. Commitment to community service (active involvement in community service organizations).

“Our industry has been inundated with new agents lacking the skills needed to guide customers when buying or selling their home,” said Rosemary West, The Rosemary West Team, Chicago, Illinois. “That’s why I am so excited about being named a member of Top 5. I deeply believe that consumers deserve as much information as possible that points them in the right direction when seeking professional real estate expertise. The Top 5 in Real Estate Network will also benefit real estate agents who don’t qualify by challenging them to further develop their real estate careers.”

The Top 5 designation also communicates a strong message in the marketplace. “As a real estate team leader, RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate not only uniquely positions me to consumers as more accomplished than other non-members, but this simple to comprehend, yet powerful message extends the credibility of my entire team to both consumers and the clients we serve,” said Julie Vanderblue, The Vanderblue Team, Fairfield, CT.

For more information on RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, please visit www.top5inrealestate.com or contact Member Services at 203-853-2167 ext. 139.

RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate Network® is a membership network of leading real estate professionals providing leading real estate information to consumers. To qualify for membership in the Top 5 in Real Estate Network, agents must meet specific criteria in five key categories: experience; results; education; information technology; and commitment to community. RISMedia, the leader in real estate information systems, has been providing the industry with news, trends and business development strategies for nearly 30 years through its flagship publication, Real Estate magazine, its leading website, RISMedia.com, and its renowned networking and educational events.

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