Lisa and Jim's Northern Nevada Real Estate Blog: Let's talk about "Pay for Referral Services"

Let's talk about "Pay for Referral Services"

I'd really like to know which "Pay for Referral" services AR Members have found to be valuable and worth the cost and which services are Shams and Rip-offs!

I recently joined ... a referral service that gathers leads and sends them out to agents in the local areas for a fee.  It sounded wonderful ... the theory is.  Yet, what I have found is that the leads are gathered from a huge variety of sites and many of them aren't really viable real estate leads.  

One example ... I received a referral from Reply that was a friend of mine and a local agent who works for another office. I don't think she will buy or sell from me so, of course, I declined the lead.   Two leads were homes already listed; one was a man who logged into a site promising they would buy his home.  He got mad at me because he thought he would be contacted by a home buyer - not an agent. 

So ... any tips or ideas?  Who have you used and what has been successful for you?

Comment balloon 16 commentsLisa Wetzel • June 29 2008 07:10PM


Hi there, I used several years ago. It was very expensive and after about 5000K in fees, I finally got a listing the last month before I cancelled. I never went back to them.

Posted by James D'Amato, GRI, QSC (Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty) over 12 years ago

I have heard so many say that you shouldn't pay for leads.  You should put your money into your website instead to capture any potential leads.

Posted by Latonia Parks, Certified Military Relocation Expert (Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV) over 12 years ago

I tried House Values and one that offered but neither one worked for me.

Posted by Gene Allen, Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate (Fathom Realty) over 12 years ago

So ... I also tried many many years ago, it really was a bust then and seems to be no better now.  I have not personally used any referral system from butI've heard from associates that it hasn't been satisfactory either.  Isn't the Realtor System called Homegain?

I also recently briefly used  I liked it and it was very reasonable.  It's not a referral service like the others, more like advertising on their site and having potential customers click on the link to get more info.  It's a flat monthly fee not a per lead fee. 

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 12 years ago

I do not like the idea of paying someone else who uses our listings to generate leads and sell them back to us.

Instead, as a previous person said, that money can be directed to your website or marketing a listing that can generate your own listings.  Also, I have had decent success with that allows for listings to be showcased and so forth which in turn has resulted in more leads as well.

Posted by The Somers Team, Delivering Real Estate Happiness (The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia) over 12 years ago

Amen to Christopher and Stephanie!  Some of the franchises require that the agents register their customers at closing then the franchises "follow uo" at regular intervals.  I always thought that was just a clever way to gather info then they can refer the client back later. 

How about - they allow customers to receive just listed info but also capture the contact info and sell it back to agents.   Isn't that the same thing?

So ... does anyone have anything positive to say about any of these systems?  I Wonder?

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 12 years ago

Save your money and do it the old fashioned way... and LeadStreet!

Posted by David Slavin, CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier (Keller Williams Premier) over 12 years ago

David - Back to basics ... good old fashion work!  What a concept. 

Is Lead Street really working for you?  I've given it a half hearted shot, maybe I should get serious.  Thanks for you input.

Posted by Lisa Wetzel over 12 years ago

I found this post interesting because contacted me today.  I had not heard of them and thought I would research them a bit.  Thanks everyone for the posts here.

Posted by Christine L, Broker (Property Cupid, LLC) over 12 years ago

I've tried House Values and that is a waste of money and time, ii had 7 leads with no numbers and just 2 emails that worked.

The problem i found with it was that both people from the emails had agents in my own office.  Its one of those things that you have to look at (cant believe im going to say it) your ROI return on investment.  for the price i judt dont knwo that there worth the money

Posted by Jeff Abram (Magic Valley Realty) over 12 years ago


Let me give you "The Rest" of "The Rest of The Story".  In fact, I probably should post this so everyone can see it.  

Here's the deal, was not for me!  Their idea is probably good but their internal workings are not quite all together, in my opinion.  The sales person offered me one thing, I bit ... the personal rep was gracious and worked hard to help me ... the IT  guys didn't come through.  The promises made by the sales team and the customer service dept were not backed up by the IT guys, again, in my opinion! 

I'd suggest you might give them a try but make sure you monitor what's up.  I can't say I'm unhappy with the company but I personally don't think they deliver what they proclaim they do.  

Your market might be diferent! Good Luck!

Lisa and Jim

Posted by Lisa Wetzel over 12 years ago

Well, they offered to have me try out their service for $4.00 for a few days and see what I thought.  I don't want to get stuck haggling over $ with them and having them billing my card like I have read others on AR have had happen.  I also am busy and would rather not be COLD calling folks that are irritated when their phone rings.  So...I don't know.

Posted by Christine L, Broker (Property Cupid, LLC) over 12 years ago


Check out my previous response!  I agree with you .... they are just not worth it.  I was treated fairly from the guys but the bottom line is their system just does not work! ... SO! ... OH Opps! ... we just got to go to work! 

God Bless your effort!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel over 12 years ago is not any good either.  The sales person promised me one thing and my personal account rep offered something much less appealing.  However, they were gracious and did not bill me excessively and let me get out of the program after just one month.

Posted by Brien Berard, Maryland Real Estate Agents - Laurel Real Estate (Remax Professionals Laurel MD) over 10 years ago

A smaller "niche" referral service I've had a great deal of success with is a company that escentially allows it's visitors to choose a gay, lesbian or gay friendly agent when buying or selling a home.

It's quit resonable, in fact free if there are no agents listed in your city... charging a nominal referral fee ~ my motto is I'd rather pay of piece of something, than all of nothing!

Close about 6 - 8 deals per year with this one service... and trust me, I've paid hundreds and hundreds to others that have provided zilch.


Posted by Merlin Parker over 9 years ago

Thanks for the tip Merlin!  I've also heard of a referral company that caters to specific churches.  I guess a lead that closes is a good lead .. regardless where it comes from.

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 9 years ago