A real estate referral agent is a licensed real estate professional who doesn’t represent buyers and sellers but connects them with other real estate agents.

Once the transaction closes, the referring agent earns a referral commission, typically 25%.

says referral agent with two people shaking hands over keychain with house on it paperwork below and house in background

This job is a great option for individuals who don’t want to work directly with clients but may have a vast network, excellent marketing skills, and enjoy connecting people.

You can make a living without listing properties or directly negotiating transactions yourself.

To become a real estate referral agent, you must obtain a real estate license and meet your state’s requirements.

Once you’ve achieved licensure, you should focus on building a large referral network and consistently generate leads for other real estate agents.

As your business grows, consider expanding your geographically reach and referral services to maximize your income potential.

Real Estate Referral Agent Overview

• Must obtain a real estate license to become eligible for a referral agent role

• Build a strong referral network through various sources and companies

• Grow your business by expanding your reach over time

Earning Potential

What Is A Real Estate Referral Agent

YouTube video

Requirements to Become a Real Estate Referral Agent

Real Estate License

To become a real estate referral agent, you must obtain a real estate license. The requirements for getting a license vary across states, so it’s important to check your local laws before starting the process.

Pre-Licensing Course

Before taking the licensing exam, you must complete a pre-licensing course approved by your state’s real estate commission. These courses typically cover real estate principles, ethics, and laws, preparing you for the state examination. Remember that the required course hours and content may vary between states.

State Exam

After completing the pre-licensing course, it’s time to take the licensing exam. Your state’s real estate commission will provide exam format and content guidelines. The exam will test your knowledge of real estate laws, principles, and practices, so ensure you are well-prepared before scheduling your test.

Upon passing the exam, you may be required to undergo a background check before receiving your license. This process ensures that only individuals with the necessary qualifications can become licensed real estate agents.

Align With A Real Estate Broker

The real estate referral agent must align with a real estate broker for a few crucial reasons.

First, in many jurisdictions, it’s legally required for all real estate transactions to be overseen by a broker to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

Second, a broker has access to a wide network of agents, which can potentially increase the referral agent’s success rate.

Lastly, the financial aspect: real estate referral agents earn their income through commission splits. When a referral leads to a successful transaction, the broker pays the commission, who then splits it with the referral agent according to their agreement. Without this connection, a referral agent wouldn’t have the opportunity to get paid.

says real estate referral brokerage with a tall business building behind it

If You Are Already With A Real Estate Brokerage

Speak with your real estate broker and ask if they have a program for real estate referral agents.  Requirements are different for each brokerage and each state.


Brokerages That Offer Real Estate Referral Programs

Inquire with your brokerage and see if they have a program that’s a good fit for you.  You can also Google real estate referral. agent programs in your state, such as this one in New Jersey.

Some states do not allow brokerages with real estate referral agents to have both transaction-oriented agents and referral-only agents. If that is the law in your state you’ll need to find a real estate referral brokerage that is exclusively operating as a referral-based brokerage only.

Real Estate Referral Brokerages

Agents Referral Network


Earning Potential Of A Real Estate Referral Agent

The earning potential of a real estate referral agent varies depending on factors such as the number of referrals you consistently provide and the commissions received in each transaction.

No Cap On Income

As a full-time or part-time referral agent, your income isn’t limited by how many sales you make personally but by the quality of your referrals and the network you create.

Referral Fees

Given that referral fees typically range between 20% to 35% of the earned commission, it’s crucial to have a solid crm for managing your referrals and choosing the best agents to work with.

Focusing on quality over quantity ensures that both parties are satisfied, increasing your chances of receiving more referrals from satisfied clients.

Use the calculator below to estimate the referral fees you could earn from each completed transaction.

Real Estate Referral Fee Commission Calculator

Many agents want to know how much they will make per transaction as a referral real estate agent.

The typical real estate referral fee is 25%, but this can vary from 20%-35% depending on your contract and agreement. Use the below calculator to help you determine the referral fee per transaction.

Home Sales Price: Input the closing sales, or estimation, of the property’s price.

Total Sales Commission Percentage: The receiving real estate agent agrees with the buyer or seller to receive a commission percentage once the transaction is complete. This is typically 1% to 3% of the sales price. Input that number.

Referral Rate Fee: Input your agreed-upon referral agent fee.

Brokerage Transaction Fee: Most referring agents are required to have their license with a real estate brokerage. The brokerage usually has a fee they charge for each referring agent’s transaction. Input your brokerage’s transaction fee.

shows images of people all across the united states and networks of people globally

Establishing a Real Estate Referral Network


Networking with Professionals

To establish a successful referral network as a real estate referral agent, you should start by networking with professionals in the industry.

Building relationships with other realtors, mortgage brokers, and real estate lawyers will help you find potential leads and commission sources. Attend industry events like conferences and local meet-ups to create connections.

Try to develop strong relationships with the professionals you meet, as they may become valuable partners in your referral network.

Collaborating with potential partners and establishing trust can help secure reliable and quality referrals and successfully closed transactions.

Social Media Marketing For Buyers and Sellers

In today’s digital landscape, social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram play an important role in marketing and networking for referral real estate agents.

You should utilize social media effectively to showcase your expertise, connect with professionals, and generate leads.

Develop a consistent social media presence by sharing valuable content, engaging with others in your network, and showcasing your accomplishments.

As a referral agent, building trust with fellow professionals and prospective clients is essential. Maintaining a professional and informative social media presence can boost your credibility and draw in potential leads.

images of people and top says lead generation and a finger pointing to the middle lead person

Generating Real Estate Referral Leads

As a real estate referral agent, one of your main goals is to generate leads you can pass along to other agents.

Below I discuss how to generate real estate referral leads effectively, outlining several lead generation techniques and how to qualify and follow up with those leads. 

Lead Generation Techniques

You can take several approaches to generate leads for your real estate referral business. Some popular techniques include:


Attend local events, join real estate associations, and build relationships with business owners and professionals in your market and countrywide.

Strategic Digital Real Estate Newsletter

By sending a monthly strategic digital real estate newsletter, you can share valuable market insights and keep your brand fresh in the minds of potential clients. This consistent engagement not only solidifies your image as an expert in the field but it also prompts recipients to refer you to others, thereby generating more leads.

Online Marketing

Maintain an active presence on social media, participate in online real estate forums, and create a website or blog to showcase your expertise in the real estate industry.

Cold Calling

While it can be challenging, cold calling is a direct method to reach potential leads who may not be aware of your services. Reach out to your sphere via phone calls or email, introducing your referral services and gauging their interest in the real estate market.

Client Events

Host local events or workshops to build connections and spread the word about your referral business.

Choose techniques that align with your strengths and use multiple strategies to maximize your lead generation potential.

Real Estate Lead Qualification

Once you have generated leads, qualifying them before passing them on to other agents is crucial. This ensures you’re fulfilling your duties as a real estate referral agent and contributing effectively to the real estate transaction.

Consider the following factors when qualifying leads:

MOTIVATION: Determine the client’s reason for selling or buying property, and gauge their urgency.

FINANCIALS: Assess the client’s financial situation, including credit background, budget, and pre-approval status.

PREFERENCES: Understand the client’s property preferences, such as location, size, style, and features.

When qualifying leads, consider the client’s and the agent’s needs to create a successful referral match.

Follow Up For Your Real Estate Referral Business

Timely follow-up with your leads is essential for maintaining trust and keeping prospects engaged.

Effective methods for follow-up include:

EMAIL: Send personalized, relevant updates on the real estate market or new property listings to keep leads informed and engaged.

PHONE CALLS: Periodically check in with your leads to address any questions or concerns they may have and update them on referral progress.

TEXT MESSAGES: Use text messages for quick, efficient communication regarding important updates or urgent matters.

Strive to maintain a consistent follow-up schedule and provide value during your follow-up conversations.

This helps you fully develop and maintain your referral business, ensuring that both you and your client leads thrive in the competitive real estate market.

Maximizing Your Referral Agent Business


Virtual Brokerages and National Franchises

As a real estate referral agent, partnering with virtual brokerages and national franchises can expand your business opportunities.

These organizations often have a broad network of agents in various markets, increasing your chances of connecting buyers and sellers with the right real estate professionals.

Many virtual brokerages, like eXp Realty, offer attractive referral fees for licensed agents who bring in new clients.

By aligning yourself with reputable virtual brokerages and national franchises, you can leverage their resources and presence in the industry to boost your income potential.

Real Estate CRMs

Embracing real estate technology and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems greatly enhances your referral agent business.

Investing in advanced tools can streamline your operations, improve your customer service, and generate more buyer and seller leads.

A solid CRM system allows you to efficiently manage your contacts, track referrals, and ensure your clients receive top-notch service.

You can find numerous CRM options on the market designed specifically for the real estate industry.

Some of these include features like:

LEAD GENERATION: Automated algorithms help identify prospective clients and generate leads.

EMAIL MARKETING: Create and send customized emails using templates and pre-written insights to nurture relationships with potential clients. Send a monthly digital real estate newsletter.

REAL ESTATE NEWS AND ARTICLES: Stay informed with the latest industry trends, allowing you to refine your strategies and maintain expert status.

Expanding Your Real Estate Referral Business

Serving Clients in Multiple States

You can serve clients in multiple states nationwide as a real estate referral agent.

Expanding your licensed agent network and establishing connections with experienced agents in various locations can maximize your referral potential. This will enable you to cater to a wider client base, including those relocating from one state to another, such as Virginia to California.

Remember, to be successful in the real estate business, it is essential to build relationships and stay informed about the industry’s activities within each state.

You can achieve this by attending national events and by regularly networking with your peers.

Scaling Your Real Estate Referral Business

To scale your real estate referral business, you should focus on:

• NATIONWIDE – Expand your network of agents to include a wider variety of locations and specialties.

• COLLABORATION WITH REAL ESTATE REFERRAL COMPANIES – Collaborating with real estate referral companies to gain access to pre-screened and reliable agents.

• DIGITAL MARKETING TOOLS – Investing time and effort into marketing can include using social media, email campaigns, or direct mail.

• EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE – Providing exceptional service to your clients, ensuring they trust you with their referrals and recommend you to their network.

By implementing these strategies and improving your skills as a real estate referral agent, you can create a profitable and sustainable business that allows you to leverage your connections and built upon your professional reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which states require a license to become a referral agent?

All states require a real estate license to become a referral agent. The process and requirements for obtaining a license may vary between states, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for your area.


What is the typical commission structure for a referral agent?

The commission for referral agents is typically a percentage of the commission earned by the agent who closes the deal. This percentage can range from 20% to 35%, depending on the arrangement between the referral agent and the closing agent.


How do referral agent brokerages work?

Referral agent brokerages work as intermediaries between referral agents and real estate agents. You need to maintain an active license to receive commissions for your referrals.


Do referral real estate agents list properties?

Referral real estate agents typically do not list properties themselves. Their role primarily involves referring clients to active real estate agents in exchange for a portion of the commission when a property is bought or sold.


Can a referral agent show a property?

Referral agents generally do not show properties; they mainly refer potential clients to active real estate agents. While regulations can vary by state, typically only active, full-service agents show properties and guide buyers or sellers through the transaction process.


What is a referral agent?

A referral agent is a licensed real estate agent who refers potential clients to other active real estate professionals instead of directly handling property transactions. In return for this referral, they receive a portion of the commission when the property is bought or sold.

Related Articles

Real Estate Referral Agent: How To Become One and Fees