ReportCard I’m a big fan of ratings — it’s part of the whole "transparency" thing, whether it’s Consumer Reports or Angie’s List or product reviews.

Now the Houston Association of Realtors is starting the "Client Experience  Rating Program." It allows clients to — obviously — rate the their Realtor. [cue dramatic music]

Clients may rate their REALTOR® on how well they performed in each of the following categories.

* Competency – Explained process clearly, ensured paperwork was correct, use of technology, negotiation skills, attention to detail, represented and protected my interests

* Market Knowledge – Knowledgeable of market, neighborhood and community

* Communication – Kept me updated, responded timely, communicated based on my preference

* My Experience – understood my needs, personal attention, made me feel valued, on time and prompt

Client ratings, which can include comments, will be displayed on with Realtors’ profiles.

By the way, HAR includes a cop-out clause: Realtors can choose whether to display their ratings or not. (One thing isn’t clear: If a member initially opts out, accumulates some good reviews, and then opts in, will those good review be published? Or only reviews after the opt-in date?)

So, is this a good thing — a way to keep Realtors in line (so to speak)? Or it it fraught with danger; one unhappy client can ruin a reputation? Or are most people savvy enough to discount the rare disgruntled client?

Will a Realtor who opts out be ‘punished’ by potential clients ("What does she have to hide?") or will it be like the Better Business Bureau, where membership is a plus, but non-membership doesn’t hurt?

What do you think? Should VAR consider something like this?

In truth, VAR already has something like this through our relationship with QSC. Click here to browse Virginia Realtors (by city) who have voluntarily consented to have consumer reviews posted online.