Real Estate Referral Companies: How to Find the Right Network

Real Estate Referral Companies

Constantly acquiring new clients is essential to your success—and your commission—as a real estate agent. But getting new clients in real estate is time-consuming, and it can take away from the time you have available to do open houses, showings, and administrative work. It can even take away from the time you have to connect with your existing clients. 

The good news is that real estate referral companies offer a helpful solution, and you might find that using one of these companies to build your business can help you to increase your commissions while saving precious time.  

>> Related Read – How Many Homes Does the Average Realtor Sell a Year? 

How Do Real Estate Referral Companies Work?  

Real estate referral companies provide real estate agents with referrals to buyers and sellers. Because these companies offer convenience, they typically charge a referral fee for the connections that they make.  

There are several different types of referral companies. Networks like UpNest and HomeLight refer buyers and sellers to qualified and vetted real estate agents. Agents pay a referral fee for these client leads.  

Local brokerages also connect real estate agents who have a client to refer to another agent. The referring agent earns a referral fee, and the second agent is able to connect with a client in need of their services. These brokerages serve as a go-between service, helping to facilitate those connections.  

>> Related Read – Real Estate Networking: A How-to Guide for Agents 

What Is a Reasonable Real Estate Referral Fee? 

Referral companies may approach real estate referral fees in different ways. Sometimes, your fee might be a monthly subscription to the referral company. Some companies charge a fee that is a percentage of the sale that you make from the client you’ve gained. Those percentages can range from 10% to 50%.  

>> Related Read – Understanding the Lender-Realtor Relationship 

Top 4 Real Estate Referral Network Features to Look For 

We’ve gathered a few of the top features that referral companies often offer to help their agents. As you explore different referral networks, consider whether they offer these features.  

Lead Screening 

A network that screens its leads has already taken the time to verify the quality of each lead, including verifying that buyers are pre-qualified or pre-approved for financing. This not only increases the chances of the lead converting but can prevent you from wasting time following up with a lead who is a bad fit for your business.  

Real-Time Information 

A network that delivers real-time information on leads gives you a competitive edge. You’re able to connect with those leads using accurate, up-to-date information, and that can increase the chances of those leads ultimately choosing you to be their real estate agent.  


Real estate referral networks can help to grow your client base, but some networks require you to leave your brokerage to join. Networks that give you the flexibility to join up while remaining with your brokerage offer the greatest benefit, and they can help to build your business within your real estate niche.  

Mobile App 

As an agent, you’re almost always on the go. A network that offers a robust realtor mobile app means you can stay connected and can promptly respond to referrals, increasing the chance of their becoming new clients.  

>> Related Read – Real Estate Branding: Ideas for Agents 

Pros and Cons of Real Estate Referral Companies 

If you’re considering using a real estate referral company, then it’s important to understand the pros and cons that you might encounter.  


Cost Savings (Sometimes) 

Depending on factors like the quality of the leads and how quickly a company notifies you of a lead, these companies can be cost-effective solutions for your lead acquisition needs. Since these companies provide leads without your having to focus on efforts like realtor billboard advertising or direct mail marketing, they can save you money on your acquisition efforts, and they may even help to keep your acquisition costs down.  

Time Savings 

Working with a real estate referral company is a largely hands-off process. In most cases, once you’ve set up your profile, you can leave the company to the work of finding leads, then follow up with those leads once you receive them. This can amount to valuable time savings, allowing you to focus on working with your existing clients while still building your client base.  


If you choose a quality referral company, you have a higher chance of receiving more exclusive leads than you would through most traditional or digital marketing efforts. For example, if you send direct mail to a list of contacts in your area, those same contacts may have been mailed to by countless other real estate professionals, meaning you’re facing steep competition to stand out. But by choosing a company that offers exclusive leads, you will be the only agent to receive the referral, which can increase your chances of being able to convert that lead into a client.  

>> Related Read – How to Stay Top of Mind with Real Estate Clients 


Cost Prohibitive (Sometimes) 

Some referral companies have high referral fees that cut into your profits. In fact, some companies may charge as much as 50% on your commission from a referral. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself doing more work for more clients, yet bringing in minimal commissions. If you choose a subscription-based model, you might pay hefty subscription fees and only receive a few (if any) referrals a month. You’ll pay the same amount whether those referrals convert into clients or not.  

High Barriers to Entry 

Referral companies often look for highly successful real estate agents. Referring homebuyers and sellers to vetted, top-quality agents helps to boost the company’s reputation, and it makes it easier for that company to find future referrals. As a result, real estate agents who are new to the industry may find it difficult to get approved with a referral company.  

Limited Long-Term Client Relationships 

Remember that real estate referral companies make their money based on the referrals that they provide. As a result, some companies will limit the relationships that you are able to build with the clients. A company might require you to use their transaction software and provide detailed reporting updates. You may not be permitted to build long-term relationships with the clients, meaning you have only paid for the right to perform the one transaction rather than any future real estate transactions with those clients. If future transactions come up, you may need to pay the fee again. 

>> Related Read – How to Get More Buyer and Seller Referrals: A Guide 

Final Thoughts: Partner with the Right Referral Network 

Connecting with a real estate referral company can give your client base an important boost. The right referral network can give you access to pre-qualified leads, save you time, and help you to increase your commissions and income without charging expensive sign-up and annual fees.  

Guidance Home Services (GHS) is that network. As a real estate agent, you don’t get charged any fees until the referred homebuyer or seller closes. This pay-at-closing structure helps you to keep more of your hard-earned money, and it avoids a situation where you have paid a fee for a buyer or seller who never actually closes a sale. In addition, you can remain with your current brokerage while developing valuable long-term relationships with the clients referred to you. 

GHS also offers concierge team support, partnership opportunities, exclusive financing specials for your clients (through Guidance Residential), and no sign-up or annual fees.  

The Next Step: Learn More about the Guidance Home Services Referral Network 

Get Pre-Approved Referrals