The Best Real Estate Referral Networks (2022 Updated!)

Jim Gray, Licensed AgentAugust 5, 2022

As a real estate agent, you always want buyer and seller referrals coming in. There are several platforms that offer the referrals agents need to take their business to the next level. While many of them aren’t currently accepting new customers/agents, they are all worth checking out.

This guide will recommend which platforms you should be looking at to build your client network.

The 7 Best Real Estate Referral Networks

Best Overall: Market Leader

A+
Top Features: Doesn't require applications, can get you leads ASAP
Starting at $139/month

Market Leader claims that it provides a guaranteed number of exclusive leads each month that are not shared with other agents. However, lead inventory is limited. Read on to find out more about how it works.

What Market Leader Offers: Market Leader offers a variety of services including the following:

  • Customizable Websites: The service provides a lead-generating, easily customizable website.
  • Optimized CRM: CRM is integrated into the website and allows you to manage leads and connect with contacts.
  • Marketing Automation: The marketing automation will ensure you stay in touch with your client base. It offers a suite of professionally designed templates.
  • Training and Support: Agents get continued training and support including training for generating and converting leads and support to get you up and running and to continue running effective campaigns.
  • Mobile App: The mobile app allows you to respond to new leads quickly, access daily reminders, and manage emails and contacts.

Market Leader stands out from the competition in that it:

  • Gets you the leads you pay for.
  • Provides lead insights in CRM, automated lead nurturing, automated listing marketing and lead conversion training.

Pricing: Market Leader charges a specific amount per lead. The amount charged varies depending on the market you work in. They also charge a flat fee for access to their software.

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Market Leader Pros
  • Gets agents exclusive leads that are not available to competitors
  • Targets specific areas
  • Offers leads generated by digital advertising experts
Market Leader Cons
  • Charges per lead
  • Lead sorting not super sophisticated
  • CRM takes time to customize

Best for Experienced Agents: The OJO Network

A
Top Features: Connects agents with buyers and sellers ensuring you get high quality leads
Split Payment Structure

Here’s what OJO has to offer:

Doing the Legwork: When OJO provides agents with customer leads, they do their homework finding out where the buyer or seller is on their real estate journey. They conduct personalized interactions with potential clients to find out what’s important to them. This allows the agent to step in seamlessly and provide the client with the information they need to close.

Ongoing Support: OJO does not simply introduce agents to clients. They stick around for the long haul offering support until closing.

Expert Customer Matching: The service does not merely throw referrals your way. They use an algorithm to find referrals that are best suited for you. The algorithm bases matches on three factors as follows:

  • Responsiveness: To be successful with the OJO platform, you must show that you are responsive to client inquiries. OJO will keep track of your responsiveness rate throughout the transactions you complete and update ratings accordingly. Agents that are most responsive will get higher ratings and more clients.
  • Effectiveness: OJO rewards agents who are effective in helping clients overcome challenges and provide great service with more referrals.
  • Customer Satisfaction: OJO rates customer satisfaction in terms of how successful agents are in helping people reach their real estate goals.

Preferred Experience: OJO is more likely to accept you into the network if you have at least 3 years of agent experience and have closed around 25 transactions in the past year.

Fees: There are no fees to join OJO. However, they do take a commission off the transactions you close.

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The OJO Network Pros
  • No payment upfront
  • Get exclusive referrals
The OJO Network Cons
  • Must be experienced to qualify
  • Must pay a portion of the commission you make on the transaction

Best for Solo Agents: OpCity

A-
Top Features: Receive qualified leads with no payment upfront
30-38% referral fee

OpCity helps agents generate leads by offering lead generation tools. They claim to have helped thousands of agents generate 1.2 million leads last year alone. This is what they have to offer:

Lead Generation Software: Opcity offers lead generation software that provides done-for-you lead generation. It includes:

  • Buyer and seller lead generation
  • 40 landing page templates proven to convert
  • CRM and marketing tools
  • Complete setup

Automated Follow Up: The platform offers automated follow ups that get conversations started. They come in the form of:

  • Emails and texts
  • 2- way messaging
  • Optional stealth voicemails
  • Automated CloudCMA reports and market snapshot reports
  • CRM integration
  • Preset follow-up funnels

OpCity promises 5 times the return of investment on direct mail.

Other Benefits: The service claims to have great customer service and tools that help you grow your career. These include:

  • Onboarding calls
  • Support calls without a wait
  • Daily training classes
  • Lead conversion webinars

Pricing: OpCity offer three packages for agents as follows.

  • Lite: This package is recommended for new agents looking for leads and simple CRM
  • Professional: The Professional Pack offers more features and is ideal for agents looking to grow their business.
  • Advanced: Advanced offers even more features and is perfect for agents who are ready to take their business to the next level.

Opcity pricing is not available online. You must send an inquiry to the company to see if there is availability in your area.

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OpCity Pros
  • Several packages to choose from
  • 24/7 help center
  • Receive qualified leads
OpCity Cons
  • Referral fee is steep
  • Not prominent in all locations

Best for High Performing Agents: ZillowFlex

A-
zillow-flex-logo
Top Features: Connects high performing agents with buyers and sellers
Pricing varies by market

Flex is a program offered by Zillow Premier Agent. Here’s a summary of its features.

Connections with No Upfront Costs: Flex provides agents with leads from Zillow Premier Agent with no upfront costs. If the relationship moves forward, the agent will work with the client towards closing providing Flex with updates along the way. Once the closing occurs, the agent will pay Zillow a commission out of what they earn. Agents who do well with the program will receive more connections.

How it Works: Flex works by reaching out to a lead and confirming they are ready to work with an agent. If the client confirms, a rep sets up a live phone call between the agent and the client. The rep validates the connection based on the success of the phone call.

How to Qualify: Flex is currently available by invite only. The platform looks for high-performing agents that offer excellent customer service.

Maximizing the Flex Service: To get the most out of the Flex service you should actively engage with the Zillow Premier Agent app at least once a week. The more activity you show, the better. Responding quickly to client inquiries will also be helpful.

Other tips include:

  • Converting phone conversations into in-person appointments
  • Guiding clients to a successful transaction
  • Providing great service to earn a high client experience score
  • Keeping past sales up to date and adding new transactions as they occur

How Does Flex Differ from Zillow Premier Agent? Flex is similar to Zillow Premier Agent but unlike ZPA, no upfront fees are required.

Pricing: The fees agents must pay vary from market to market.

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ZillowFlex Pros
  • Get rewarded for conversions with larger share of the connections in your market
  • No upfront cost
ZillowFlex Cons
  • Only available in select markets
  • Not all leads are ready to buy

Best for Part-Time Agents: Referral Exchange

B+
Top Features: Get high quality leads that are ready to buy or sell
Pay After Transaction Closes

Referral Exchange is a lead generation service that provides agents with high quality leads that are ready to buy or sell. They qualify and nurture leads and give them back to you when they are looking to transact. Here’s how they operate.

How Referral Exchange Works: The platform uses a lead verification system to determine if a lead is real and can be contacted. They will then reach out to the potential client to find out if they are ready to start buying or selling. You can then determine if you want to continue pursuing the lead or if you’d rather refer them to the Referral Exchange nationwide network.

Is Referral Exchange Right for Me? Referral Exchange can help agents in the following situations:

  • If you have difficulty verifying leads
  • If you are getting more leads than your team can handle
  • If you don’t have time to follow up and nurture your leads
  • If you are getting leads and clients that don’t match your area, pricing, or specialty
  • If you are retiring or going part time and want to continue making income off your work
  • If you have personal referrals that you want matched with a reputable agent

To be eligible for Referral Exchange you must be:

  • Handpicked: To qualify you must have an excellent track record and show a commitment to service
  • Monitored: Agents are monitored through their journey with Referral Exchange. If they are performing poorly, they will be forced to leave the program.
  • Experienced: Most Referral Exchange agents have been in the industry for at least 8 years and have generated at least $5 million in sales or have closed 20 or more transactions in the past 12 months.

If you do well with the platform, you will be treated like part of the family.

Pricing: You will only need to pay Referral Exchange after a transaction closes.

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Referral Exchange Pros
  • No upfront payment
  • Will be rewarded for each closed transaction
  • Takes nurturing off your plate
Referral Exchange Cons
  • Must be handpicked to qualify
  • Can be forced to leave the program
  • Only experienced agents are considered

Best for Small Teams: Real Estate Connection

B+
Top Features: Select the leads you want when you want them
Starting at $1347/quarter $847/quarter

Real Estate Connection is a lead generation platform that helps agents say goodbye to paying for each zip code. You can hand select the leads you want when you want them. Success is 100% guaranteed.

Here’s what the platform has to offer:

How Real Estate Connection Works: The platform has 65 websites and mobile apps that generate leads every day. The leads are then sent to you so you can choose the ones you want. To get started you must:

  • Create an account: This will provide you with access to the REC real time lead generation database and enable you to get notifications when a new lead match comes in.
  • Set Up Your Profile: In setting up your profile, you will be able to upload a picture, logo and more. You must also enable your notifications to be alerted when leads come in.
  • You can search REC’s real time lead database to find leads based on credit history, price range, income, moving time frame, and location.

Pricing: REC offers three packages all of which offer:

  • Real time lead alerts
  • Lead managing features
  • Returns on bad leads
  • Lead credit rollover

The packages also come with the following features:

  • Starter: This package comes with all the features listed above as well as 30 lead credits per quarter. It costs $847 per quarter.
  • Advanced: This package comes with all the features listed above as well as 45 lead credits per quarter and one legacy lead per day. It costs $1097 per quarter.
  • Top Producer: This package comes with all the features listed above as well as 75 lead credits per quarter and two legacy leads per day. It costs $1347 per quarter.
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Real Estate Connection Pros
  • Multiple packages to choose from
  • Offers returns for bad leads
Real Estate Connection Cons
  • Cost is steep
  • Lengthy setup required

Best for New Agents: Sold.com

B+
Top Features: Matches clients with the best agent for their situation

Sold.com is a platform that specializes in helping buyers and sellers through the real estate transaction process. However, they also offer a partner center that allows agents to apply to be considered for their exclusive network. Here’s a summary of how they operate:

How Sold.com Works: The services Sold.com provides to clients includes matching them with the best agent for their situation. If you demonstrate that you are effective in providing excellent customer service and closing deals, the platform will send more referrals your way.

How to Join: Joining Sold.com is easy. All you need to do is fill out their sign-up form. The platform will send you an outline stating the terms of partnership. If you agree to the terms, your profile will be activated, and you can start growing your business.

Agent Referral: Agents on Sold.com will get a chance to receive 25% off their Guaranteed Display program if they refer another agent. The Guaranteed Display increases your local market presence as well as your presence within the algorithm.

Pricing: You will only need to pay a referral fee if the transaction closes.

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Sold.com Pros
  • Saves time
  • Mentor helps with transaction
  • Improve sales outcomes
Sold.com Cons
  • Algorithm can be confusing
  • Must sign contract

Which Referral Network is Best?

Each of these platforms offers different referral strategies and that will be a huge factor in considering which is best for you. But if you are looking for more of a traditional lead generation platform, Market Leader stands out from the competition.

Market Leader does not require applications and offers an open door for agents. It provides quality leads quickly. It also stands out for its ability to target specific areas, provide expert backed, exclusive leads, and the many features it offers that other platforms do not.

A lead generation platform can be highly effective in helping agents grow their business. Now that you have the downlow on the best ones out there, you can choose the one that’s right for you. Which will you be your preferred pick?

About the Author

Jim Gray got licensed in 2013 and sold 57 houses in his first year. Over the next 6 1/2 years he went on to sell 437 homes with a small team. He went on to manage the lead generation department of the 13th largest expansion team at Keller Williams and designed lead generation and conversion systems for 60 agents in 7 locations in 4 states that drove 600 home sales in a 2 year period. Jim currently does real estate team development and coaching for some of the largest real estate teams in the country.

Last Updated: 8/5/2022