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Tips For Handling Negative Reviews

As a real estate agent, you work hard to ensure your clients receive high-end service, ultimately resulting in positive reviews. Reviews are ingrained in our online lives and make it easier for future clients to decide whether or not to hire you as their agent. No real estate agent is perfect, and there may come a time when you receive a negative review. Let’s look at some tips for handling negative reviews.




  • Transparency
  • Authenticity
  • Quick Response

Although most of us want a perfect 5-star rating as real estate agents, having an imperfect rating can be valuable. According to a recent Google Business Profile update, a mix of positive and negative reviews make agents appear more trustworthy. A negative review may make you more appealing to today’s consumers. In other words, don’t sweat it if your review rating average drops from a 5-star to a 4.5-star rating. 


“... an average rating of 4.2 to 4.5 stars out of 5 [is] the ideal average star rating.”  - Northwestern


Transparency and Authenticity


When you receive a negative review or comment on social media, use it to improve your business and offer transparency. How you respond to negative reviews can give your brand reputation more authenticity. Kindly reply, apologize and let the reviewer and future readers know that you care about their feedback and are willing to tackle any issues head-on.


“Hi, Ben. Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I apologize for anything that may have left you feeling like you didn’t receive top-notch service while working with me. It’s rare to receive a complaint after nearly 30 years in the real estate industry, so I want to gather more information to understand your issue and make it right. Please get in touch with me at [phone number] or [email], and I will get back to you promptly.”


Quick Response



You want to be proactive and respond quickly to negative online reviews. Address the reviewer by name and reply within days of receiving the review. When you respond to a negative review within a week, you satisfy 53% of customers, according to ReviewTrackers.


When you respond quickly to negative online reviews, it can lead to the possibility of getting higher overall ratings. For example, research shows that an average response time of 1.04 days vs. 8.8 days (industry average) results in a higher overall rating of 4.31 out of 5 stars vs. 3.92, respectively. 


“53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. 1 in 3 have a shorter time frame of 3 days or less.”  - ReviewTrackers


Wait a day or two to respond to a negative review if you feel:

  • Upset
  • Defensive


Anonymous Reviews


If you receive an anonymous review with a generic screen name or no name, reach out to learn more about the reviewer. For example, respond by letting the anonymous reviewer know that you’re happy to address their concerns but need more information.  


“I appreciate the time you took to write a review, and I would like to reach out to you directly to understand your concerns fully. Please get in touch with me at [phone number] or [email], and I will get back to you to resolve the issue.”


If a negative review is written by someone you’ve never worked with before, you may be able to contact the website that featured the review and have it removed.  


This brings me to the importance of taking negative online review discussions offline. Although you may want to respond to the negative comment by defending yourself and stating that no such thing happened, remember to stay professional. Keep your response positive and brief, and include your contact information.


Filtering By 4-Star Ratings


Searching by 4-star ratings and higher is common when researching a company or real estate agent. Without a 4-star or higher rating, you could be overlooked by potential real estate customers. Although a negative review might drop you under 5-stars, a rating in the 4’s will make you appear more authentic in the eyes of future website visitors.  


Continue in a professional manner, offering stellar service as you work with future clients. To keep your rating above 4 stars, remind your real estate customers to leave reviews following the sale or purchase of a home. Finally, get in the habit of regularly checking your review pages to stay on top of any negative reviews.  

Respond quickly and professionally to negative online reviews, and you’ll bounce back quickly.

Janelle D.

I've worked in the real estate sector for more than a decade and enjoy sharing my knowledge on the subject and researching the latest trends. In my free time I like to craft, spend time with my family and dog, participate in outdoor activities like hiking, and I'm passionate about photography.

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