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It’s time for consumers to weigh in

It seems a trend is afoot to get consumers to speak up about what they know. From whether or not a realtor is truly a top producer or whether or not dogs bark at night on a high-end street, consumers are being asked to share their knowledge. On one of the Inman panels today, two interesting start-ups unveiled their sites: Street Advisor and Home Thinking (www.streetadvisor.com and www.homethinking.com). Street Advisor, which has launched in 26 countries, wants people to “let the world know what you really think about your street.” It collects information on everything from “streetvibe” aka atmosphere to “street health” aka cleanliness. Homethinking lets consumers write reviews on agents.

We find this trend interesting. If sites like these are successful, consumers will have access to new and valuable information to help inform their purchase decisions. We hope that the industry will embrace these new services as we find them complementary to the MLS, brokerage houses and agents. For example, if a realtor is good, then getting a positive rating from an outside company would help to validate his/her reputation. And, if buyers get the skinny on neighborhoods before they start shopping, they’ll be even more qualified as they tour homes with an agent (or better still the agent could use a site like streetadvisor to learn the ins and outs of every street).

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