Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

In a market where agents must be expense-averse, Jimmy Burgess writes, generating leads that only have an expense if money comes in can make a lot of sense

With the slowdown in the number of transactions, a lot of agents are looking for ways to generate leads while maintaining a budget. If this is you, the solution might be companies that provide leads with no upfront fees.

The process begins with these companies capturing the leads, nurturing them to a point where they are ready to begin working with an agent, then referring the prospects to agents in their network. In exchange for the leads, the companies do not charge any upfront fees, but they do receive a referral fee at the time of closing. The referral fees can vary from 25 percent up to 40 percent, but with no upfront cost, many agents find these lead sources extremely attractive.

The key to success with these referral-based companies is communication and conversion. They require consistent communication about how the process is progressing with the referred leads. They also want to see the conversion of these leads to closings because the only way they make money is through successful closings. The better your communication and the higher your conversion rate, the better the quality and number of leads you will receive.

Each of these companies have areas they specialize in and specific qualifications to be eligible to participate in their programs. The key is matching your talents, experience and expertise with the clients these companies will be referring to you. If your expertise lines up with their prospects, they may be a lead source that can take your business to a higher level of success.

Rocket Homes 

Rocket Homes is a subsidiary company of Rocket Mortgage, America’s largest mortgage lender. The leads they refer are mortgage-approved, have a verified purchase time frame, and are exclusively referred to you.

The requirements to join their network are that you must have a minimum of 24 months of experience as a full-time agent and have closed a minimum of eight transactions in the past 12 months. In addition, you must complete their Verified Partner Agent training program.

If you’re looking to increase your buyer leads, Rocket Homes is a great place to start.

Redfin Partner Agents

Redfin has a program called Redfin Partner Agents where you can keep your license with your existing brokerage and they will send you buyer and seller leads. Just like the other programs mentioned in this article, they receive a referral fee at the time of closing, and there are no upfront fees for these leads. The referral fees paid vary by state, but for Florida as of the writing of this article, they range from 33 percent to 40 percent depending on the sales price.

The requirements for their program include having an active license that is in good standing with your local MLS. They also state that you should have “your fair share” of closed transactions with proven excellence based on their client surveys. The Redfin website states they’ve had 85,000+ clients buy or sell with their Partner Agents. Partner Agent Program is a website that provides details about 55+ communities all over the country. They partner with agents approved specifically for their program, each specializing in particular communities. The program looks for agents with extensive knowledge about a community’s HOA, floor plans and amenities.

They require prompt response to new leads and consistent communication with the company throughout the buying process. If you specialize in active adult living communities, might be the lead source you’ve been seeking.

Veterans United Realty

Veterans United Realty is a subsidiary of Veterans United Home Loans. They focus on referring veterans and military families with agents who have VA experience and a willingness to go above and beyond in their customer service.

Due to the relocation of active duty military, Veterans United Realty does generate listing referral opportunities as well. If you’re an agent who has expertise serving veteran clients, this could be a productive lead source for you and your business.

ReadyConnect Concierge Program from

ReadyConnect Concierge is a program owned by that connects with online leads immediately after they are generated. They screen the leads for intent to buy, price point, location and timeline. Once the prospect has been screened, a message is pushed out via SMS or their app to a group of agents in their program. The first agent to respond is immediately connected via a live phone introduction to the prospect.

ReadyConnect Concierge has to originate at the brokerage level, but once the brokerage sets the program up, agents of all skill levels can receive leads. They reward agents that respond quickly and that provide consistent communication.


HomeLight is a website that connects prospective buyers and sellers with professional, highly qualified agents in their referral network. The process starts by creating a HomeLight profile outlining your professional achievements. HomeLight then utilizes its algorithm to match the prospects with agents based on the historical information of their past transactions, geographic expertise, price points from past transactions and other transaction-related metrics.

The referral fee paid to HomeLight is 33 percent, but with no upfront fees, the ability to generate buyer and seller leads through HomeLight makes sense for many agents.


UpNest is a site that provides homeowners with a process where they can receive 2-5 listing proposals within 24 hours of their proposal request. Once you are included in UpNest’s program, you will receive requests for listing proposals along with other agents as they come in.

Your listing proposal will include your commission rate, the services you provide and your customer reviews. The prospect also has access to a video greeting from you, which is highly recommended. 

UpNest has a referral fee of 30 percent at the time of closing, and the referral fee is for any and all sales or purchases made by the prospect within 24 months of submitting the original proposal.

Depending on your area and your listing expertise, UpNest could be a reliable source for ready-to-list seller leads.

In a market where agents must be expense-averse, generating leads that only have an expense if money comes in can make a lot of sense. If you’re looking to increase your leads and minimize your upfront expenses, these companies provide a path to profitability.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.


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