✍️ Editor's take: Effective Agents is a fast and easy way to find local real estate agents. But unlike some top competitors, it doesn't offer built-in commission savings.
What is Effective Agents?
Effective Agents is a free service that matches you with local real estate agents from conventional brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX.
If you're looking to avoid the hassle of a DIY realtor search, there's no reason not to give Effective Agents a try. The service is free to use and there's no obligation. You can interview multiple agents, compare options, and choose the best fit — or simply walk away.
That said, Effective Agents doesn't offer any real benefits beyond the agent introduction. And some of its top competitors do.
For example, Clever Real Estate matches you with full-service local agents from top brokerages — but also pre-negotiates discounted commission rates on your behalf, saving you up to 50% on realtor fees.
Read on to learn more about Effective Agents — or jump straight to Effective Agents reviews from real customers.
👍 What we like about Effective Agents:
👎 Where Effective Agents misses the mark:
Is Effective Agents legitimate?
Yes, Effective Agents is a legitimate company that can help you find a great local real estate agent.
While Effective Agents does not employ its own agents, its parent company — Acuity Real Estate Services — is licensed as a real estate brokerage in Florida.ⓘ
When researching Effective Agents, we found that, although the company claims to match customers exclusively with agents who rank in the "top 5%," this isn't always the case.
That said, based on Effective Agents reviews, customers are generally pleased with the agents they find through the service.
How does Effective Agents work?
Here's how Effective Agents helps you find a realtor, in a nutshell:
- You enter your sale or purchase details on the Effective Agents website
- Effective Agents looks for agents in its network who may be a good fit for your needs
- You'll receive up to three agent matches via email and text
- Agents may contact you directly, or you can schedule meetings with them through the company's website
- You can interview your agents, then pick the one you like best
- If you don't like your matches, you can ask Effective Agents for more recommendations
- Or, since you can review matches with no obligation, you're free to walk away
How much does Effective Agents cost?
You don't have to pay anything to use Effective Agents' service — it's 100% free!
But, if you're a seller, you'll still be on the hook for realtor commission fees, both for your listing agent and the buyer's agent, just like if you'd found the agent on your own.
Unlike some other agent matching services, Effective Agents doesn't doesn't pre-negotiate reduced commission rates with its partner agents on your behalf.
When you find your agent through Effective Agents, you'll likely end up paying the prevailing commission rate in your area. Rates vary by market, but between 5-6% of the final sale price is typical nationwide.
How does Effective Agents make money?
When you buy or sell through Effective Agents, your realtor pays the company a percentage of the commission they earn on the deal. This is called a "referral fee" — and it's fairly standard among similar services.
Why do top realtors work with agent matching services?
Realtors partner with companies like Effective Agents because doing so nets them a steady stream of new business with zero upfront cost or effort.
Most real estate agents invest a lot of time and money into finding new customers. But even when an agent finds a new client, there's no guarantee they'll actually end up getting paid. For example, when the market is hot, many frustrated buyers give up on their home search if they can't find the right property in their price range.
Effective Agents and similar services refer customers directly to their partner agents. That saves realtors time, allowing them to spend more time selling homes — and less time selling themselves to potential customers.
And since agents only pay a referral fee if a deal actually closes, working with these companies is a lot less risky than traditional advertising strategies like renting space on a billboard or making a TV commercial. Because of this, they can make more money overall despite earning a bit less from each customer.
✍️ Editor's note
Although realtors pay Effective Agents to send them business, the company is still highly incentivized to match you with the best realtor possible. If Effective Agents matches you with a bad agent, that increases the risk that the deal won't close, which means they don't get paid. They'll also probably get blasted with negative reviews, deterring future would-be buyers and sellers from using Effective Agents' matching service.
Should I work with Effective Agents?
If you're looking to find a great local realtor quickly, there's no reason not to give Effective Agents a try. It's free and there's no obligation, meaning if you don't like any of the agents it matches you with, you can simply walk away.
We wanted to investigate the quality of Effective Agents' matching process, so we requested agents from several locations across the U.S. We were generally pleased with the results. The service was fast, easy to use, and the matches generally lived up to the company's claims about experience and quality.
That said, Effective Agents does have some drawbacks. Unlike some of its competitors, Effective Agents doesn't offer any built-in commission savings. And we found that customers in rural areas may receive less support, lower quality matches, and slower service than users in big cities.
The agent matches were high-quality
Overall, we felt that Effective Agents delivered on its promise to match us with great local realtors. Plus, the process was a lot more convenient than trying to track down and vet top local agents on our own.
Effective Agents says it has strict performance standards for the agents in its network. And, for the most part, the agents we were matched with lived up to those standards.
🚨 Hire the agent — not the brand!
Every agent matching service — Effective Agents included — claims its partner agents sell homes faster and for more money than the competition. However, quality will always vary between agents, no matter how strictly the service vets them.
The bottom line is that you're hiring an individual agent — NOT a brand. Interview agents on a case-by-case basis to find the best match for your individual needs.
» MORE: The top Effective Agents competitors, ranked
Most of the realtors Effective Agents picked for us were local, boasted 15+ years of experience, and had strong reviews from past customers.
There were a few outliers — mainly agents with only a handful of customer reviews. And although Effective Agents says it only refers customers to agents who rank in the "top 5%," according to the company's rating scale, some of our matches didn't quite meet that threshold.
Less support for rural customers
When we requested agents in metro areas, Effective Agents did a good job of sending us high-quality matches quickly. However, when we searched for realtors in more rural areas, that wasn't always the case.
Even though we were promised a list of agents "in a matter of minutes," Effective Agents didn't send us any matches for several days. The company didn't reach out to explain the delay, either.
In the end, we only received a single match — and that realtor's office was located more than 30 minutes away from our target zip code.
✍️ Editor's note
Agent matching services tend to have less coverage in rural areas. If finding a local agent is a top priority, it's a good idea to request matches through multiple companies. This way, you're more likely to find a high-performing agent who's familiar with your market.
No built-in savings
The biggest disadvantage to working with Effective Agents is that, unlike other similar companies, it doesn't offer any built-in savings.
While its agent matching service is free, you'll still pay full-price for commission — unless you negotiate a discount with your realtor yourself. But that's hard to do! And, even if you're successful, it's unlikely that you'll score a huge price reduction.
How to save on realtor commission fees
Some companies offer the same free matching service and agent quality as Effective Agents, but they pre-negotiate commission discounts for you! The two best examples are Clever Real Estate and Ideal Agent:
- Clever offers a flat listing fee of just $3,000 or 1%
- Ideal Agent charges a 2% listing fee (subject to a $3,000 minimum fee)
Why do top-rated agents agree to reduced commission rates? In short, agent matching services have a lot of negotiating power. Since these companies send agents a lot of customers, they can get you a better deal than if you tried to negotiate a discount on your own.
Effective Agents reviews from real customers
In general, Effective Agents has positive reviews, with an average rating of 4.9 across 986 reviews on Google and ShopperApproved.
However, the vast majority of Effective Agents reviews online were NOT written by customers. Most come from real estate agents reviewing how the service worked for them. Keep that in mind when you look at the company's overall rating.
So, what do actual customers have to say?
What customers like about Effective Agents
Most Effective Agents reviews from real customers have positive things to say about the service — particularly agent quality.
'It was the easiest search ever'
A common theme among positive Effective Agents reviews is that it makes it easy to find a great realtor.
Requesting agent matches is as simple as filling out a short questionnaire. Depending on your location, you could receive a list of local realtors in as little as a few minutes.
And since the company is selective about its partner agents, you shouldn't worry about getting matched with a brand-new realtor — or someone who only moonlights as an agent on the weekends!
'This is a great tool' for making informed decisions
Customers also like that Effective Agents bases its recommendations on data. When you request matches, the company looks for agents who have a strong track record with similar types of sales.
'Helpful if you are moving to a new location'
Agent matching services are an excellent resource when you're buying or selling in an unfamiliar area.
According to this buyer, Effective Agents matched them with the "best" realtor they'd ever worked with, making their move a little less stressful.
Effective Agents complaints from customers
There aren't many negative Effective Agents reviews online. But one customer's complaint is worth highlighting: the company doesn't do a great job of explaining how it handles your personal information.
Like most agent matching services, Effective Agents sends your contact details to agents so they can get in touch with you. However, the company's website doesn't make this clear. This can lead to some unwanted phone calls if you're not ready to start talking to realtors.
Top Effective Agents alternatives
1. Clever Real Estate
💲 Listing Fee
$3k or 1%
💰 Buyer Savings
Up to 0.5% cash back
⚡ Avg. Customer Rating
Clever is a quick, easy, and free way to find a top-rated local agent. And, unlike many similar companies, Clever pre-negotiates big discounts on your behalf, so you can save thousands without sacrificing on service.
- Free, nationwide agent-matching service that partners with full-service local agents from conventional brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX
- Provides multiple agent matches so you can interview, compare marketing plans, and choose the best fit
- Pre-negotiates low rates on your behalf — you get full service for a flat $3,000 listing fee, or just 1% if the home sells for more than $350,000
- If you buy with Clever, you could get a check worth up to 0.5% of the home price
- You may not get matched with an agent from your preferred real estate brokerage.
- Like other agent matching services, Clever may have fewer agents in rural areas.
- Agents may not provide premium services like drone photography and professional home staging.
Clever pre-negotiates steep discounts with top-rated realtors so you can save on commission without sacrificing on service.
When you sell with Clever, you'll get full service for a flat $3,000 fee — or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000. To put that in perspective, on a $500,000 home sale, finding your agent through Clever would save you about $10,000 in commission fees!
Also, qualifying buyers can get a check for 0.5% of the purchase price back after closing.
But Clever does more than just help you find a first-class realtor and negotiate savings on your behalf. Clever offers additional benefits, like ongoing support from its fully licensed Concierge Team. Call any day of the week to get expert help and advice as you navigate your home sale or purchase.
💲 Listing Fee
Standard rate (2.5-3%)
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Avg. Customer Rating
HomeLight is an excellent tool for finding a great local agent quickly. However, it offers zero built-in commission savings for sellers or buyers.
- Get a list of local real estate agents in as little as two minutes
- One of the largest agent networks in the industry makes it less challenging to find an agent who specializes in short sales and other non-traditional sales
- Optional Trade-In program makes it easier to buy a new house if you need to sell your current one first
- No built-in savings for home sellers or buyers
- No minimum qualifications for partner agents, so quality may vary between locations
As of April 2, 2021, HomeLight has an average customer rating of 4.6 across 515 reviews on Google, Sitejabber, and the Better Business Bureau.
If you're involved in a non-traditional sale, HomeLight's agent matching service may be a better choice than Effective Agents. HomeLight has more than 3x as many realtors in its network, so it's more likely to have partner agents who specialize in short sales and other less common situations.
HomeLight's Trade-In program also makes it easier to buy a new house if you need to sell your current one first.
Unfortunately, while both HomeLight and Effective Agents make agent recommendations based on actual performance, neither one pre-negotiates discounts on your behalf.
» MORE: Read the full HomeLight review
3. Ideal Agent
💲 Listing Fee
2% ($3k minimum fee)
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Avg. Customer Rating
Ideal Agent can match you with a local realtor who sells a lot of homes. But although it pre-negotiates discounted listing fees, you can save twice as much with competitors like Clever.
- Agents in network must meet strict quality standards
- Pre-negotiated listing fees of 2% (or $3k for homes under $150,000)
- 2% listing fee is less than the national average, but it's not the best rate out there
- No built-in savings for buyers
- Only matches you with a single agent
As of April 2, 2021, Ideal Agent has an average customer rating of 4.9, based on 2,010 reviews across Google and Trustpilot.
Ideal Agent is another agent matching service that offers built-in savings for home sellers. Its 2% listing fee is less than the national average — but still twice as expensive as competitors like Clever.
And, unlike most similar services, Ideal Agent only connects you with a single realtor.
Whenever you buy or sell, we recommend interviewing at least two to three agents before making a decision. If you do sign up for Ideal Agent, request additional matches through at least one other agent matching service. That way, you can weigh your options and select the realtor who best meets your needs.
Bottom line: Should you give Effective Agents a try?
If you're looking for a high-quality realtor, Effective Agents can definitely help you find one. The service is free — and there's no obligation to hire any of its agents. You have nothing to lose by signing up and requesting agent matches.
However, Effective Agents isn't the only free service that can connect you with local real estate agents. Clever offers the same agent matching service — but also pre-negotiates discounted listing fees of just $3,000 or 1% on your behalf.
Not convinced? Try out Clever's agent matching service. Sign up for Effective Agents, too. See how Clever's agents stack up — and never pay full commission again!
How does Effective Agents work for real estate agents?
Effective Agents helps you find new customers, without any upfront costs. Unlike some lead generation services, it only charges a referral fee when your client closes on a sale or purchase.
If you're done paying for ads that never lead to conversions, Effective Agents offers a safer and more consistent way to generate new business. As many realtor reviews for Effective Agents highlight, you'll get to spend less time making cold calls and more time closing deals.
Read on to learn how Effective Agents works for realtors.
Effective Agents referral fees
Effective Agents charges a 35% referral fee, which is due within ten days after a customer closes on a transaction. You won't have to pay any sign-up or cost-per-lead fees.
🚨 Read your referral agreement carefully
According to the Effective Agents referral agreement we reviewed, partner agents must pay a fee on "any and all" future transactions involving a referral customer. This is a bit abnormal.
With most other agent matching services, you'll only pay referral fees for transactions completed within a set period of time. Usually, that's within two years — NOT all future transactions.
Effective Agents registration requirements
Any real estate agent can apply to join the Effective Agents network. But the company claims it's very selective about who it sends referrals to, so less-established agents may not receive many (or any) leads.
According to its website, Effective Agents ranks its agents on metrics like:
- Transaction volume
- Active days on market (ADOM)
- List-to-sale price ratio
- Overall industry experience
- Online presence
- Listing photo and description quality
Founder Kevin Stuteville says Effective Agents tries to partner with 20-30 realtors in any given market so that it can supply each agent with a steady stream of business.
Effective Agents customer lead quality
Referral services like Effective Agents are typically a more cost-effective way to generate business than pay per lead options like Zillow and Realtor.com. Since companies like Effective Agents pre-qualify leads, you'll waste less time — and money — nurturing low quality leads that never convert.
In a recent interview, Effective Agents founder Kevin Stuteville claimed that roughly 12-14% of the company's leads convert. Compare that to the average 1% conversion rate for leads purchased from Zillow.
Stuteville also said that more than 80% of the company's referrals are home sellers, while listing portals like Zillow and Realtor.com attract a much higher share of buyers.
Effective Agents reviews from realtors
The majority of Effective Agents reviews from realtors say it's a reliable source of quality customer leads.
However, a few agents have complained that they received unqualified leads or that the service sent them prospective customers in price ranges outside their preferred parameters.
What realtors like about Effective Agents
Most realtors who have posted Effective Agents reviews say that the service is a much better lead generation tool than pay per lead platforms like Zillow.
Although Effective Agents' 35% referral fee is on the higher end compared to some other referral networks, partner agents say it's worth it since you only pay when customers actually close.
Effective Agents complaints from real estate agents
While most realtors seem happy with their Effective Agents leads, others claim they rarely receive high-quality referrals.
Another common Effective Agents complaint is that customers sometimes get matched with multiple agents at the same brokerage. This can lead to some awkward conversations around the water cooler, or possibly even spark interoffice conflict.
Finally, some partner agents say Effective Agents sends them leads for price ranges or property types that aren't worth their time. You can set filters that should prevent you from getting unwanted leads, but, according to some reviews, the filters don't always work.
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. "Acuity Real Estate Services LLC Licensing Information."
Clever Real Estate. "Average Real Estate Commission Rate."
Ready Set Thrive Podcast. "Interview with Effective Agents founder Kevin Stuteville."
Mike DelPrete. "Opcity, lead conversion, and the journey down the funnel."