By Andy Sambidge
Better Homes launches public review initiative in bid to improve transparency for customers
Better Homes, one of the region's largest property agencies, on Tuesday launched a public review initiative to improve transparency for customers.
The real estate broker said it has begun to publicly display feedback ratings and reviews for all agents employed by the company on its website.
It said in a statement that the new move gave customers the ability to vet and select an agent to work with, based on their service and performance credentials.
"Our objective is to deliver great customer service every single time," said Ryan Mahoney, CEO - Better Homes.
"Honest and open customer reviews will enable new customers to find the best agents," added Mahoney.
Better Homes claims that by allowing public reviews of its agents it will drive a higher level of service by rewarding agents that have good feedback with more business.
"Public reviews and online sharing of customer experiences is becoming common practice in the hospitality industry," said Mahoney, who added that the initiative was given a soft launch last month. "We feel it's time it was introduced to real estate."
"Many of our agents have embraced the public reviews and have adopted a competitive approach to the initiative," said Annetta Shaw, head of Residential, Better Homes.
"Customers appreciate being able to provide feedback on their experience, whether positive or negative. We're providing a platform which allows customers to share their thoughts and for us and our agents to continuously improve our service offering," she added.
Last year, Dubai said that the world's first governance charter for real estate developers - aimed at improving transparency in the sector - would be implemented by January 2013.
The Dubai Land Department (DLD) said it had launched the draft document with the blessing of ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
It said real estate companies will be educated about what the charter means, prior to putting the final touches on the final draft.
This looks like a Better Homes management initiative to justify their jobs and it makes no sense. If a company employs a rude or unprofessional agent then why are they employed in teh first place? Due to the nature of housing in Dubai where there are certain house "types", eg a Springs 3 bed or Alvorada A1, estate agents are nothing more than door openers anyway - and sometimes they cant be bothered to do that. Rather than a useless rating system why dont they simply try to improve customer service? No that would be a first...Forget free pubilicity like this BH and pay for some staff training.
Better homes should try employing some decent agents, look at the feedback for most of them and they are terrible and first hand experience of several of the, confirms this. They don't call you back, they don't seem to want to do the job, listings arent always updated, they don't want to organize viewings, it is painful...what I want to know is what are better homes doing about the poor service some agents are offering as just showing feedback isn't good enough when many agents really are shocking bad at their jobs...what action is better homes going to take the improve their service if their aim is for excellent service, something they have a long way to go to strive for currently.
As for a governance charter for developers...how about starting with actually bothering to regulate contracts first, penalizing developers for breach of contract and supporting investors rights this is more important than a charter, a token charter is NOT going to bring back confidence.
Great idea and Better Homes should be applauded for this initiative. Having recently moved to Dubai I was in the market to rent a property, the sheer incompetency and unprofessionalism of the agents (not Better Homes agents I must add) was shocking. This initiative will ensure the bad agents are named and shamed and ultimately removed from their positions, a clear out of the dead wood is a must.
I have taken a flat in a BH managed building here in Barhsa, thinking it will be well taken care of and no dodgy business will take place there. But sure enough, if you are not being cheated at least a little bit, the Dubai experience is not complete. It's simple, because anyone can become an agent or a property manager, you don't need any qualifications.
I listed my property with a leading British run agency. After several weeks there had not been one inspection. The web site looked lovely but no viewings at a very discountedselling price. I sold the property through another agency for the asking price. First agency said that I would not be able to sell the property at the asking price and suggested that I reduce the price by more than one hundered thousand. That agency still has the property listed for sale and are actually showing it on their web site even though settlement from the sale occured more than 7 weeks ago. The agency agreement was withdrawn as soon as the property was sold. They have had the temerity to show an increase of price by several hundred thousand on their web site, to make their other properties seem realistic in price. Yes the real estate market in Dubai is less than honest and people dealing with agencies, even former award winning british run agencies are advised to be careful.