How to handle a bad real estate agent review

The juggernaut that is the REA Group recently expanded their services by launching an “Agent Ratings and Reviews” capability to their online platform. How does this differ from Rate My Agent, the current industry leading website for agent reviews?

Well, on RMA, buyers and sellers can only submit a review if the agent sends them a link.  On however, any buyer or seller involved in the sale of the listed property can submit their feedback directly on the website. It’s similar to the Google Reviews model, however a team from will first confirm the authenticity of the review and provide an opportunity for the agent to respond before publishing.

Essentially with this model, there’s no where for real estate agents to hide. With RMA, traditionally an agent would only send a link to request a client review if they knew there was a good chance that particular client would write a favourable review. Hence why on RMA everyone comes up looking like a real estate superstar – you’ll be hard pressed to find an agent that rates below 4 stars. On the REA Group review platform however, any buyer or seller involved in the sale can click straight on the link under the agent profile to write a review.

There’s been a lot of mixed feedback from agents regarding the new reviewing tool, however there’s no denying that it will provide greater transparency across the industry. Because as we all know, everyone thinks real estate agents are dodgy.

Exhibit A: Take a look at Urban Dictionary’s definition of a real estate agent:

A person who makes a profit off selling other people’s property and filling out paperwork. See shiester.

“After the nuclear war, the only creatures left were cockroaches and real estate agents.”

Wow. Harsh.

Now unfortunately, as much as real estate agents all strive to deliver the best possible service and get their vendors as much money as they possibly can, sometimes this doesn’t always eventuate despite their best intentions.

Inevitably, a real estate agent is going to cop are bad review. (I can guarantee when the hot water system fails a buyer, 3 weeks after they move into the home, it’s the agent they’ll blame – not the building and pest inspector!)

It’s important to ensure that if this happens, you respond in a quick and calm manner to demonstrate your professionalism and responsiveness to any potential vendors.

So, here’s what you need to do should you ever receive a negative real estate agent review:

Note: The below tips are not restricted to the review function on, but can be used to handle negative reviews on any platform whether it be Facebook, Google, or Rate My Agent.

3 steps to handle a negative real estate agent review:

  1. Check the legitimacy of the review.
    Google is renowned for spammers who create fake reviews. If you confirm that the buyer or seller was not a client of yours in the sale, then dispute this with the host whether it’s Google, Facebook or REA will investigate the legitimacy of the review and remove it if it’s deemed fake. You will need to provide evidence that the reviewer was not a buyer or seller of the property.
  1. If it is a legitimate review, DO NOT IGNORE THE REVIEW.
    Although this is an easier option, this will do nothing to alleviate the concerns of other potential vendors who may be scoping you out as their agent. It also demonstrates poor customer service on your behalf, as it shows you didn’t have the decency, (or the balls!) to address the issue.
  1. Respond to the review.
    This is always going to be a delicate situation so here are some do’s and don’ts to consider when responding to a negative review:


  • Address the buyer/seller by their name if they have used it in the review
  • Thank them for taking the time to write a review
  • Keep the response brief and to the point. Look at the keywords they used in their review and use these in your reply. This will make them feel like you’ve directly acknowledged their concerns.
  • Respond quickly and ensure your response is factual
  • If there were any wrong doings on your behalf, own up to it. Apologise and acknowledge that their feedback has been taken onboard
  • Offer to discuss the situation with them further offline. It shows you care about fixing the problem
  • Sign off with your name. This demonstrates that you, the agent, have personally responded to the review


  • Never make excuses. No one wants to hear that the real estate agent is right. Refer to above Urban Dictionary definition. The public love a good real estate agent bashing!
  • Do not use inappropriate language. Remain professional and don’t stoop to their level
  • Avoid a long winded response of who did this and who did what. It looks petty.

Here’s an example:

“Dear Mr Vendor,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I’m sorry to hear you weren’t 100% satisfied with the service you received from my team and I during the sale of your property. If you would like to discuss with me further the issue you had regarding “insert issue here” please feel free to get in touch.

Mr Superstar Sales Agent

The above example is simple and to the point. More than likely the reviewer won’t take you up on your offer to discuss further with you, but at least you’ve been able to demonstrate to any potential clients who may be reading the review that you are professional and responsive.

TIP:  Always acknowledge a good review. Your client took the time to write it, it’s a nice touch to say thank you and show your appreciation.

Whether you like the idea of an online reviewing system or not, it looks like it’s here to stay. From the client’s point of view, this will be an excellent tool to weed out the good from the bad. If you’re a good and honest agent, hopefully a negative review will be few and far between. But if you do receive a bad one, hopefully the above tips will help you in crafting your response.

To read more about the new review system, check out their handy blog “Agent Ratings and Reviews 101” for all the information you need.

Also, don’t forget to read up on my recent blog about saving client testimonials. Client testimonials are worth their weight in gold. It’s super important you don’t lose them should a website or Facebook unexpectedly update or shut down!