Douglas Elliman Real Estate Review: Is it Worth It?

Steven Porrello

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Steven Porrello

December 29th, 2022
Updated December 29th, 2022

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Douglas Elliman Real Estate Review

Overall rating | Customer experience | Agent quality | Brand visibility and reach | Service value | Locations | Methodology

✍️ Why trust us: We strive to provide objective recommendations and advice. Learn more about how we research.

Douglas Elliman is an independent real estate brokerage based in New York. Founded over 110 years ago, the company has grown into the single largest independent brokerage in New York by sales volume and the fifth largest in the U.S.

With nearly 7,000 active agents working across 115 offices nationwide, Douglas Elliman certainly seems like a reputable name. But how do the quality of their agents stack up against competitors? And are they really the best fit for your real estate needs?

Below we’ll evaluate Douglas Elliman based on four main criteria and help you decide if the brokerage is worth the price.

Bottom line: Do we recommend Douglas Elliman Real Estate?

⭐️ Douglas Elliman Real Estate: Overall score
4.375
4.0
4.0
4.5
5.0
Ratings based on 1–5 scale, with 5 being the best

After reviewing Douglas Elliman closely, we give it a 4.375 for the quality of its service, its strong brand presence, and its reputation on review sites.

We were impressed with Douglas Elliman’s size: its team has roughly 6,900 agents in 12 states and DC. In 2021 they completed over 32,000 transactions, bringing in a whopping $51 billion in home sales. The average agent has nine years of experience, just above the industry median.

The bulk of customer reviews suggested clients were content with the service provided. Douglas Elliman offers sellers full service, which includes help with pricing, listing, marketing, and negotiating at the closing table. Buyers can enjoy free access to guides that break down areas where Elliman agents are selling homes.

Whether or not you choose Elliman, we still recommend interviewing at least two to three agents to find the best value for you. The most important thing is the agent, not the brand.

🏡 Compare agents, save money! Try Clever’s free agent matching service. Choose from top local agents from the best brokerages, get built-in savings. Learn more.

Douglas Elliman Real Estate: Our in-depth breakdown

Reputation and customer experience

📊 Our rating: 4.0/5

  • Overall good reviews
  • Well-reviewed professionalism
  • Complaints around communication and lack of experience

Douglas Elliman has a solid reputation on third-party review sites. After combing through 115 reviews across 18 offices, we found that the aggregate customer rating was 4.23. That’s solid compared with brokerages of the same size.

We also ran these 115 reviews through a program that identifies emotional language. Below are some key themes we found:

🟢 Top positive themes
🔴 Top negative themes
  • Friendliness
  • Professionalism
  • Responsiveness
  • Customer service team
  • Communication
  • Experience

The balance of negative, neutral, and positive sentiments tells us that clients were overall happy with their experience. Note: people usually use third-party review sites to voice complaints rather than give positive feedback, which can skew data.

There are lots of Douglas Elliman profiles on the Better Business Bureau, so it’s important to find a BBB profile for the office nearest you. Some of the profiles we found had a low rating (its New York office had 19 total complaints in the last 3 years and an F rating), while others had no complaints and A ratings.

Agent quality

📊 Our rating: 4.0/5

  • Great agent quality overall
  • High average experience per agent
  • Low sales volume per agent

Based on 28 agents who listed their experience on Realtor.com, the average agent has nearly 20 years of experience.

In 2021, the average transaction volume per agent was 4.6 transactions. That’s not bad considering the brokerage has 6,947 agents working on 32,281 listings. But it’s lower than the national average of 12.

Because these numbers are only averages, some agents may have more (or less) experience, while others will have different sales numbers. Before you work with a Douglas Elliman agent, be sure to interview them thoroughly, as they might not be the right fit for you. Ask them questions like:

  • How many years have you worked as a real estate agent?
  • How many transactions do you complete per year?
  • Do you have references from past clients?

Brand reach and visibility

📊 Our rating: 4.5/5

  • Uniformly spread out offices in 12 states
  • Dense amount of agents in each market
  • Decent web traffic, large social media presence

Compared with similar-sized brokerages, Douglas Elliman covers a much larger part of the U.S. and has a denser representation in the markets where it operates. The company has around 570,600 active listingsspread across 115 offices in 12 states and Washington, DC. Most of these offices cover major metropolitan areas, but you can also find offices in smaller towns and cities.

Its widespread presence in each state helps the brokerage stay on top of new real estate trends — not to mention help them connect buyers with listings. Around 31,000 people search “douglas elliman” and other branded terms on Google each month. And the website gets over 156,000 visits every month. Both of these are good, only slightly above average.

Service value

📊 Our rating: 5/5

  • Excellent quality for the price
  • Great free resources for buyers and sellers

Buyers can enjoy free resources on Elliman’s website. Its “neighborhood guides” break down hot markets in the states where the brokerage operates. They’ll tell you which neighborhoods have the most sales and factoids about popular restaurants, annual festivals, and things to do.

If you list your home with Douglas Elliman, you’ll get full service, which includes professional (even drone) photography, expert pricing, MLS listing, and a beautiful listing on Elliman’s website. Many of the homes listed also have photography. You can also access free seller resources, such as a home value estimator and CMA generator.

A Douglas Elliman agent will likely charge full commission. For a rough estimate of how much that might cost, here are the state averages where Elliman does business:

State
Avg. listing fee
Avg. total commission
Avg. cost*
California
2.50%
4.91%
$37,300
Colorado
2.73%
5.52%
$31,500
Connecticut
2.66%
5.12%
$18,500
Florida
2.70%
5.40%
$21,900
Massachusetts
2.58%
4.85%
$28,100
Nevada
2.48%
5.02%
$21,700
New Jersey
2.63%
5.13%
$24,400
New York City
2.88%
5.75%
$35,500
New York state
2.61%
4.97%
$20,500
Texas
2.71%
5.59%
$17,600
* Based on each state's median home price from Zillow

» MORE: Average Commission Rates Across the U.S. 2022

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Additional info about Douglas Elliman Real Estate

General contact info (corporate office)

📍 Address
575 Madison Ave.
Suite 400
New York, NY 10022
☎️ Phone
(212) 692-6111
📱 Social media

Douglas Elliman also provides a helpful search tool to filter through its 100+ offices.

Other Douglas Elliman Real Estate services

This review is focused on Douglas Elliman Real Estate's core real estate agent service. We’ve listed its other services (mortgage, title, insurance, etc.) and links to their respective websites below.

Make sure you shop around to get the best fit and value. Don’t go with a Douglas Elliman service just because of the convenience!

Next steps: Start interviewing agents!

Interview multiple agents (ideally two to three) to ensure you get the best fit and value. Remember: always hire the agent, not the brand. When you’re ready to start searching, check out our guide on how to choose the right real estate agent. Clever’s free agent-matching service makes agent shopping fast and easy, and it can save you money.

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  • Sellers get a pre-negotiated discount on listing fees (avg. seller savings is $9,600.)
  • Buyers can get a rebate after closing

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Rating methodology

We evaluate brokerages based on four core criteria we think will help readers make informed decisions. We broke those criteria down into discrete metrics so we could make the score as objective as possible. Here’s a quick breakdown of that criteria and methodology:

Do most people who work with this brokerage have a generally positive experience? Are there any red flags?

What we looked at:

  • Average customer ratings across various third-party review sites, like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Google
  • The content of those reviews, via sentiment analysis tools and manual reading, to pull out key positive and negative themes and summarize key risks and benefits
  • The Better Business Bureau profile for formal complaints

How strong is the agent team? What are the chances of ending up with a solid realtor that will meet different needs, preferences, and availability?

What we looked at:

  • Total number of agents vs. offices to gauge how wide the selection is
  • Average experience of the entire team, based on public agent data on sites like Realtor.com and Zillow
  • Average annual transactions per agent, sourced from RealTrends or brokerage-provided data, compared with the industry average

How much "brand power" does this brokerage have? Does it increase awareness and get more eyes on your listings, more showings, or quicker offers?

What we looked at:

  • Social media presence across all major consumer-facing social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)
  • Online audience size through web traffic volume and monthly Google searches for the brand name
  • Marketing reach, like listings on all major MLSs and populator listing sites like Zillow and Realtor.com

How does the brokerage compare with other conventional brokerages? How does it compare with the market rates for commission (~3% listing fees)? Are you getting too little, the right amount, or more service for the tentative fee?

What we looked at:

What we consider "full service" for a real estate brokerage:

  • Professional home valuation
  • Advice on how to stage your home
  • High-quality professional photography
  • Listing on a multiple listing service (MLS) and home-buying websites
  • Open house management
  • Negotiation
  • Assistance with paperwork

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