In the competitive world of real estate, agents and brokers are always looking for ways to expand their business and connect with potential clients. Traditional methods of marketing and advertising can be effective. However, acquiring leads from third party real estate referral networks can also be a quick and efficient way to grow your client base. Compared to paid lead generation providers, agent referral networks provide you with leads that are pre-qualified and motivated to buy or sell a property.
In this article, we’ll explore how you can work with an online referral network. We’ll also cover the top 7 online referral networks that are in our radar from Regentology to Sold.com partner network.
What is a third party referral network?
A third party referral network is a platform that connects real estate agents with potential clients who are interested in buying or selling a home. In exchange, agents have to pay a fee to participate in these networks and or upon a sales transaction. The platform may collect leads from referring agents within their network and/or through their platform itself. Using referral networks allow agents to tap into a wider pool of potential clients and expand their reach.
How are they different from paid lead gen providers?
Quality of Leads
Paid lead gen companies like Zurple and Boomtown offer leads that are at various stages of the sales funnel. However, referral networks usually provide leads that are closer to sealing the deal and are ready to make a transaction.
Quantity of Leads
Paid lead generation companies allow you to select and purchase a specific number of leads. Referral networks do not offer such guarantees. The number of leads referred to you through referral networks is based on how well you match the needs of the potential clients.
List of third party referral networks for real estate leads
We’ll cover two main types of agent referral networks.
- Referrals from platforms that specialize in referral networks, such as Clever, Regentology and Referral Exchange.
- Referrals from property marketplaces.
What is it – A national brokerage that pairs agents with consumers looking to buy or sell a home.
How does it work – Clever provides real estate agents and brokers with a platform to connect with prospective clients. Buyers and sellers are incentivized to use Clever for better commission rates. It also provides them with vetted, highly qualified agents that have a proven track record of success. As Clever sends agents more business at zero upfront cost, agents are willing to pass part of that saving along to clients. By joining the clever network, agents can rest assured that they’ll work with top-notch leads without the need to spend on marketing.
Requirements – To join Clever’s referral network, agents must meet the criteria of having an active real estate license and 5+ years of real estate experience. They also need great reviews from past sellers and buyers and a proven track record of success in their local market.
Costs – Agents pay a referral fee to Clever when they close a deal with a client referred by the network. Unlike the other networks that base this on commission, Clever bases the fee of 1.5% on the flat-rate listing price.
What is it – A nationwide referral network that introduces nurtured leads to realtors.
How does it work – Referral Exchange helps agents find high-quality leads that are ready to transact. They use a lead verification system to determine the validity of leads. They then reach out to the prospective clients to determine if they are ready to start buying or selling. Because Referral Exchange provides agents with leads that have been qualified and nurtured, it reduces the time and effort needed for the agent to close deals. So, agents who join the Referral Exchange network can focus on selling, rather than lead generation and nurturing.
Requirements – To join the Referral Exchange, agents must have an excellent track record and a commitment to service. They must have been in the industry for at least 8 years, with a minimum of $5 million in sales or 20 or more transactions in the past 12 months.
Costs – Referring Agent-Sourced Commission is charged at 35% of the commission the agent earns.
What is it – Regentology is a real estate referral network that connects people to real estate, mortgage, and insurance professionals.
How does it work – The platform provides agents with a hybrid solution that combines marketing and referrals. Regentology matches them with qualified leads in their network. To take it a step further, it also creates a highly visible, professional profile page optimized for search engine visibility. For an effective profile description, try Allready.ai’s agent bio generator. The boost in online presence as a result helps to generate more leads and increase their share of the local market.
Requirements – There are no known requirements for joining the Regentology network.
Costs – One time affiliate fee of $299 and a small referral fee of 25% on commission when a transaction is closed.
OJO Select Network
What is it – Introduces agents to homebuyers and sellers through its property marketplace, Movoto.
How does it work – OJO Select Network is a platform that connects top-performing agents with homebuyers and sellers. The platform uses a consumer-matching algorithm that rewards agents based on their responsiveness, effectiveness, and consumer satisfaction. So, it helps agents grow their business by connecting them with the right clients at the right time. The platform consequently rewards top-performing agents with more introductions and opportunities. They also provide support throughout the entire process.
Requirements – To join the OJO Select Network, agents must have a minimum of 3 years of experience and 25 transactions in the past 12 months. There is no upfront cost for joining.
Costs – 25%-40% of the agent’s commission after closing
What is it – A new lead service offered by Zillow that connects potential clients with the most suitable partner agents at no upfront cost.
How does it work – This is not to be confused with the Zillow Premier Agent advertising solution that boosts visibility of agents on the platform. Flex is an alternative model that aligns the success of Zillow’s business with that of its partner agents. Flex does this by providing leads at no upfront cost, and connecting them to the agents best positioned to convert them. The goal is to increase transactions and help agents grow their businesses.
Requirements – Invitation only to top Zillow Premier Agents for the time being.
Costs – Agents only pay a “success fee” based on the sales price of the home, ranging from 20-35% of their total commission earned on the sale. It only applies if the deal closes successfully.
Realtor Concierge Network
What is it – A lead generation service offered by Realtor.com that connects agents with pre-screened and live-transferred leads.
How does it work – Realtor.com finds leads for agents by contacting online leads immediately after their inquiry. They then screen them for factors such as their intent to buy, price point, location, and more. The leads that are deemed motivated buyers or sellers are then passed along to agents through a lead alert via SMS or app push notification. The advanced algorithm used not only matches agents with leads, but ranks them, determining the order in which they receive the alerts. The platform claims that their leads convert up to 3-5 times higher than the industry average, giving agents a significant advantage in closing deals.
Requirements – No details provided apart from being a member of the National Association of Realtors®.
Costs – Referral fees are determined at the broker level and vary based on a variety of factors.
Sold.com Preferred Agent Network
What is it – An exclusive network to access sold.com’s buyers and sellers who use the platform to navigate the real estate transaction process.
How does it work – Sold.com works by matching clients with the most suitable agent. They take into consideration the agent’s performance history, MLS data, and customer reviews. Agents who demonstrate their ability to provide excellent customer service and close deals will receive more referrals from Sold.com. Furthermore, the platform’s Guaranteed Display program helps agents increase their local market presence and their visibility within the platform.
Requirements – Agents only need to fill out the sign-up form and agree to the partnership terms. New agents may be negatively affected by the platform’s performance-based rankings which rank agents based on their performance history.
Costs – Though not listed on the site, reviews have stated that they charge partners 30% referral fee.
Considerations when choosing referral networks
When choosing an online referral network, there are several considerations to keep in mind. One of the primary factors to consider is the pricing structure. While many will take a percentage of commission earned from referred clients, confirm if this applies only at the closing of sales.
Look beyond pricing. Consider the holistic picture by evaluating their lead qualification process and the additional support provided. The quality of leads is critical. You’ll want to ensure that the network has a robust vetting process to match you with clients who are serious about buying or selling a home.
Additionally, some networks may offer various resources, such as training, marketing tools, or CRM integrations. These offerings can help you succeed in your real estate business. For new agents, it will be necessary to seek referral networks that don’t have high barriers to entry. Networks that rely heavily on past historical performance to match you with referrals are also not ideal.
In conclusion, your success as a real estate agent depends on a healthy pipeline of leads and trusting relationships that you build with the prospects. Leveraging third-party real estate referral networks to expand your business helps you further unlock this success. You can tap into a wider pool of potential clients, reduce the time and effort needed for lead generation, and focus on selling. Overall, by leveraging third party referral networks, you can increase chances of closing deals and achieving long-term success in the industry.