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Beware of referral site rip-offs

By Andrew Huggins

If you don’t know any agents in your area then sometimes the temptation is to find an easy way to compare agents when looking to sell.

There are numerous and growing numbers of sites offering to find an agent for you or have the best 3 or so local agents supplied to you.

These sites usually say that they are a free service, are completely independent and often offer some common sense advice on how to choose from the ones presented to you. Some even state that they are paid by the real estate industry itself. Sounds ok so far.

What they don’t tell you is that the agents they choose are found from a simple glance or search of websites like and What they also don’t tell you is that they email these agents and tell them that a seller is wanting to sell and would they like to know about it for a referral fee? This referral fee is usually 20% of the agent’s commission. If any agent doesn’t play ball then they just choose another agent who will.

At the end of the day you may think as long as I’m not paying for it, who cares? The reality is the agent you are paying has had to effectively jack up his fee to cover the cost of the referral and if you call in another agent not through the referral website then they have an unfair advantage so you may actually miss out on choosing a better agent when in fact their fee may have been the same or less in normal circumstances.

If you don’t have an agent, take 10 minutes to browse through or, do a Google search for ‘City of Belmont Agent’ or similar and choose a couple you’d like an appraisal from. Don’t hamstring yourself from day one by getting sucked into a referral rip off!

For a general article on how to choose an agent check this out

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