The 6 Best Real Estate Referral Networks (2024 Updated!)

Jim Gray, Lead Generation Expert2/22/2024

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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. Since many of these platforms aren’t currently accepting new customers, If you’re looking for leads ASAP, you should check out our ultimate guide to lead generation companies.

This guide will recommend which platforms you should be looking at to build your client network by bringing in more real estate referrals using top notch networks.

The 6 Best Real Estate Referral Networks

  • Best Overall Realtor Referral Network: Sold.com
  • Best Pay at Closing Leads System: Cloud
  • Best Real Estate Referral Company for Part-Time Agents: OpCity
  • Best Real Estate Referral Network for Solo Agents: Sold.com
  • Best Realtor Referral Program for Experienced Agents: ZillowFlex
  • Best New Facebook Referral Group: Real Estate Referrals

Best Overall Realtor Referral Network: Sold.com

A+

Top Features

: Matches clients with the best agent for their situation
Starting at $

Why I chose it as the best overall realtor referral network: 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 an agent appears on the Sold.com report depends on their individual performance history which is taken directly from MLS data, consumer reviews and the agents history working with Sold.com referrals. 

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.

What differentiates Sold.com from other referral networks: The Guaranteed Display program allows agents who wouldn’t naturally top the agent ranking to be recommended as a “Featured Agent”. This program models similar subscription services on other top sites that you may be familiar with.

Best for: Solo agents on a budget

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Sold.com Pros
  • Saves time
  • Mentor helps with transaction
  • Improve sales outcomes
  • Join for free
Sold.com Cons
  • Algorithm can be confusing
  • Must sign contract
  • Agents are ranked by performance which can negatively impact new agents
  • Does not integrate with CRMs
Starting at $

Best Pay at Closing Leads System: Cloud

A

Top Features

: Ad spend only, top quality leads
Starting at $$

Why I chose it as the best pay at closing leads system: Cloud is a pay at closing referral based lead generation service. They are a great option for brokers and teams, but can help solo agents too! With their in house lead generation team and low service fee at closing, Cloud helps make sure your money goes to exactly what you need to help your business. 

Cloud goes beyond with their PPC leads using a proprietary system to get you better quality leads, going above just getting the name and email. They have invested millions of dollars in A/B tests to help them effectively create, manage, and optimize Facebook and Google ads under your personal brand, including a full suite CRM with built-in call, text, and email.  They qualify those leads into appointments for you, and use their in-house team to follow up with the leads to help you focus on the leads that matter most! 

Cloud does require an advertising budget, with a minimum of spend, but there is no upfront cost. This helps make sure 100% of your money goes to lead generation. In addition to lead generation they offer ISA services for a small percentage of the commission at close, which is highly competitive to other providers. You also get to maintain ownership of all your leads. 

Another thing I like about Cloud is that you aren’t locked into a long term contract, and you can cancel anytime, you just have to give a 7 day notice. They also do not require any monthly fees! 

What differentiates Cloud from other referral networks: If you are looking to use a company that will help you get back some time, let you pay at close, and bring you quality leads, Cloud is a good option for you. With their in-house team nurturing the leads, their proprietary lead capturing system, and their low service fees at close help you to keep your focus where you need it! 

Best for: Brokers & teams, or agents with a large budget

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Cloud Pros
  • Pay at close
  • No setup/recurring fees
  • In-house follow up team
  • CRM included
  • No long term contract
Cloud Cons
  • Ad spend required
  • Service fee at close
  • No additional marketing solutions
Starting at $$

Best Real Estate Referral Company for Part-Time Agents: OpCity

A-

Top Features

: Receive qualified leads with no payment upfront
Starting at $$$

Why I chose it as the best real estate referral company for part-time agents: 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.

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.

What differentiates OpCity from other referral networks: 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, and lead conversion webinars.

Best for: Busy solo agents

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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
Starting at $$$

Best Realtor Referral Program for Experienced Agents: ZillowFlex

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zillow-flex-logo

Top Features

: Connects high performing agents with buyers and sellers
Starting at $$

Why I chose it as the best realtor referral program for experienced agents: ZillowFlex 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: ZillowFlex 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 ZillowFlex 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

What differentiates ZillowFlex from Zillow Premier Agent? Flex is similar to Zillow Premier Agent but unlike ZPA, no upfront fees are required.

Best for: Top producing or long-time agents

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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
Starting at $$

Best New Facebook Referral Group: Real Estate Referrals

A+

Top Features

: Free to join, great way to get referrals and advice from successful agents around the country
Starting at $

Why I chose it: Based on feedback from realtors who visit our site, we have created a brand new referral network group on Facebook.

The group is a private community of real estate professionals from around the country who are committed to supporting each other’s businesses by referring clients. If you have a client who is moving to an area you’re not licensed in, you use the group to find a realtor in their area who can help. The best part? You get a referral fee. It’s also a great way to find new clients who are getting referred by other agents.

One of the best things about the Facebook group is that it’s not just about referrals. It’s also a great place to learn about real estate lead generation. The members are very active and share their expertise on various topics, including marketing strategies, social media, and networking. You’ll find valuable resources, tips, and advice that you can apply to your own business.

When you join, don’t be shy! Please introduce yourself & share a question or strategy you’re using to grow your business.

Best for: Solo agents that want to connect with other agents

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Real Estate Referrals Pros
  • EXCLUSIVE group for producing agents
  • Real questions and advice welcome
  • Free to join
Real Estate Referrals Cons
  • Few members so far
  • Requires a Facebook account
Starting at $

Honorable Mentions

I had a high bar in picking the best of the best real estate referral networks. These sites didn’t make the cut (frankly, they’re not as great as my top picks – but were also considered).

The OJO Network

Top Features

: Connects agents with buyers and sellers ensuring you get high quality leads
Starting at $$$

Why I chose it: Here’s what OJO has to offer:

Doing the Legwork: When The OJO Network 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: The OJO Network 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 agent 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.

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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
Starting at $$$

Referral Exchange

Top Features

: Get high quality leads that are ready to buy or sell
Starting at $$

Why I chose it: 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.

What differentiates Referral Exchange from other referral networks: You can earn rewards every time you close a transaction.

Best for: Top producing & long-time agents

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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
Starting at $$

Which Real Estate Agent 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?

My Advice to You

jim gray headshot“Early in my career as a real estate agent, I recognized the immense value of building and nurturing relationships with fellow professionals in the industry. Seeking to expand my network and generate more leads, I actively engaged with other agents, mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and professionals involved in related fields.

One particular experience stands out vividly in my mind. During a local real estate conference, I struck up a conversation with a well-established agent who had an impressive track record of successful transactions. We exchanged business cards and decided to meet for coffee to discuss potential collaboration opportunities.

As our relationship grew, we began referring clients to each other based on their specific needs and preferences. If I came across a buyer looking for a property in an area outside of my expertise, I confidently referred them to my colleague, knowing they would provide exceptional service. Similarly, my colleague referred sellers and investors who aligned with my expertise and geographic area.

The power of this referral company became evident over time. Not only did it result in a steady stream of quality leads, but it also enhanced our professional reputation. Clients appreciated our ability to connect them with trusted professionals who could cater to their unique requirements.

Furthermore, the benefits extended beyond just client referrals. Through our collaboration, we shared industry insights, market updates, and best practices, constantly elevating our skills and knowledge. We attended seminars and workshops together, leveraging our collective expertise to stay ahead of market trends and serve our clients more effectively.

By actively participating in referral networks and cultivating relationships with other professionals, my business experienced remarkable growth. The trust and credibility I gained through these connections opened doors to new opportunities and expanded my reach in the industry.

This personal experience taught me the immense value of referral networks for real estate agents. Collaborating with like-minded professionals not only drives client referrals but also fosters continuous learning and professional development. Building a strong referral network became a cornerstone of my business, allowing me to thrive in an increasingly competitive market and provide unparalleled service to my clients.”

Methodology:

I personally spent hundreds of hours researching, scoring, and ranking the top real estate referral networks. I looked at everything from pricing and ease of use to the specific real estate industry features that are available. I’ve ranked and rated each referral network on 4 different factors to come up with the very best real estate referral networks to boost your business. The short version of factors considered are: 

  1. Cost: Not all real estate referral networks are created equal, so it’s important to look at what’s included with your purchase. Some companies charge high fees for cold referrals, which is why I take into account the price of the service and compare it to the features and extra resources provided to help each agent succeed.
  2. Referral quality: Referrals are the lifeblood of any business as they help provide a steady flow of predictable revenue. However, some referral networks are more effective than others. The type of referrals you need may vary depending on the type of business you are operating. Real estate agents want to be able to bring in an even mix of buyer and seller referrals that will convert quickly – which is why this is a big factor I’ve considered.
  3. Customer support: Many real estate agents don’t have the time to fix technical glitches and/or don’t have access to a tech team, so customer support is very important. Whether you might need help setting up integrations or just to get the software up and running, customer support plays a big role in finding your ideal software—especially when it comes to a real estate referral network that you’ll be using on a daily basis.
  4. Overall performance: At the end of the day, all real estate referral networks need to have a good ROI. I personally looked for how the features meet the specific needs of real estate agents and teams. Real estate agents need to build their brand in order to capture a market, and really scale their business.

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.

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Last Updated: 2/22/2024