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As consumers continue to become increasingly savvy and demand more from real estate professionals, the need for a reliable real estate rating system is more important than ever before. While the World Wide Web offers no shortage when it comes to ratings and reviews of the real estate industry and the professionals who work on behalf of their clients, much of the information is undependable, at best. However, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is hoping to change all that with the introduction of the REALTOR® Excellence Program.

Funded by the Center for Specialized REALTOR® Education—an NAR subsidiary—the pilot program is currently being implemented by the following REALTOR® associations (at press time): Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, Illinois; St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS®, Minnesota; California Association of REALTORS®; Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®, Colorado; Atlanta Board of REALTORS®, Georgia; the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®, Minnesota; and the Hampton Roads REALTOR® Association in Virginia.

According to Laurie Janik, NAR’s general counsel, one of the main goals of the REALTOR® Excellence Program is to improve the professionalism of its members while enhancing the member’s value to the consumer as their trusted advisor. “Not only is this a great way to ratchet up the professionalism of our members, it will also help when it comes to increasing the public’s perception of real estate professionals.” Janik goes on to say that the program will act as a good risk reduction tool as well.

Based on customer surveys that are sent via email to buyers and sellers after the transaction has been completed, the program affords clients the opportunity to rate both the transaction and the agent, providing information that creates a win-win for everyone involved. “For today’s consumers, one of the biggest benefits is the fact that they can voice any concerns they may have regarding the buying or selling process and the agent who represented them throughout the transaction,” says Janik. “And they can rest assured that the information will be seen by both the agent and the broker, enabling prompt follow up.”