✍️ Editor's take: TopAgentsRanked can help you find an agent fast, but with poor quality control and no savings, alternatives offer better value.
TopAgentsRanked — along with its smaller sister site, Agent Machine — is a free service that connects home buyers and sellers with real estate agents.
The company makes big claims about its vetting process and promises to match you with the top agents in your area. But when we put our team of mystery shoppers to work, we found TopAgentsRanked falls short in almost every category.
While TopAgentsRanked has decent customer service, the agents it matched us with often didn’t fit our criteria, with many not even based in our area.
Also considering some misleading marketing claims, a lackluster website, and zero built-in savings, we think TopAgentsRanked has way more drawbacks than benefits, especially compared to the competition.
Clever Real Estate, for example, offers an even better no-cost agent matching service, but also pre-negotiates discounts with agents on your behalf.
Sellers can list with a top local agent for just $3,000 or 1% vs. the typical 2.5-3% rate you’ll get with TopAgentsRanked. And eligible Clever buyers get 0.5% of their home’s purchase price in cash back after closing.
Our team spent more than 1,400 hours researching TopAgentsRanked and other agent matching services. Read on to learn how TopAgentsRanked compares to the competition — or skip ahead to read TopAgentsRanked reviews from real customers.
Should you use TopAgentsRanked to find a realtor?
👍 What we like about TopAgentsRanked:
👎 Where TopAgentsRanked misses the mark:
TopAgentsRanked is not the best option if you’re looking for a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a house.
Our team tested TopAgentsRanked and while we did find its customer service representatives were knowledgeable and professional, the company fell short in most other areas.
TopAgentsRanked allows agents to pay to rank higher in your matching results, so you can’t be sure if you’re actually getting the best agent for you or just someone who has paid extra.
More importantly, the service offers no savings or discounts for buyers or sellers. You’ll pay as much for an agent through TopAgentsRanked as you would finding an agent on your own — and much more than if you got an agent through an agent matching service, like Clever, that has discounts.
Bottom line: Is TopAgentsRanked worth it?
TopAgentsRanked isn't worth your time. It fails at its most important job: Helping you find a qualified local agent who’s a good fit for your situation.
All agent matching services are free and come with zero obligations — and most do a better job of quality control and tailoring recommendations to your needs.
Plus, unlike TopAgentsRanked, other agent matching services, like Clever, come with big discounts that could save you thousands of dollars.
What is TopAgentsRanked?
TopAgentsRanked is an agent matching service — a company that will find real estate agents for you if you’re looking to buy or sell a house.
TopAgentsRanked’s parent company, ReferralExchange, owns another agent matching service called Agent Machine, which provides the exact same service as TopAgentsRanked. However, while Agent Machine is still active, it hasn’t been updated in a long time and we recommend staying clear of it.
Signing up for TopAgentsRanked is straightforward: You enter basic info about your upcoming sale or purchase, along with what you’re looking for in an agent, and the company will send you a list of agents that it thinks are a good match.
You can set up interviews to compare options and pick the best fit. Or, if you don’t like any of the recommendations, you can simply walk away.
Like all agent matching services, TopAgentsRanked is free to use and there’s no obligation to use any of the agents it recommends.
Is TopAgentsRanked legitimate?
Yes, TopAgentsRanked is a legitimate company with an active brokerage license in California. All agent matching services must be licensed brokerages in at least one state to operate legally.
TopAgentsRanked’s parent company, ReferralExchange, is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, where it has an A+ rating.
TopAgentsRanked, at a glance
While TopAgentsRanked is a legitimate company, some of its practices stuck out as red flags.
🚩 Agents can pay for higher rankings
TopAgentsRanked lets agents pay extra to rank higher in your agent matches.
An agent matching service should match you with the best agent for your needs, not with the one who has simply paid to get to the top of your rankings.
This practice is unusual for an agent matching service. Most of TopAgentsRanked’s competitors explicitly ban agents from paying to get more clients.
With TopAgentsRanked, there’s no way to distinguish in your results between agents who are paying to rank higher and those who aren’t. So, don’t assume that your “Top Ranked Agent” really is the best fit for you.
Indeed, we found that many of our No. 1 ranked agents were a lot less impressive than agents who ranked lower. While we can’t be sure, we suspect our higher ranked agents paid to move up the rankings.
🚩 Misleading marketing claims
TopAgentsRanked uses a lot of marketing speak and misleading claims to make agents sound more impressive than they are.
For example, it gives your top-ranked agents a badge that claims, “This Agent is a designated REALTOR®, the highest distinction in the community.”
This claim is nonsense. To become a REALTOR®, agents only need to meet very minimum requirements, like having an active real estate license and being willing to pay membership fees to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In fact, there are over 1.5 million REALTORS® in the U.S. — more than half of all real estate agents.
So TopAgentsRanked’s badge is largely meaningless since most agents meet the NAR's requirements anyway. It is hardly “the highest distinction in the community.”
TopAgentsRanked also gives your highest ranked agents a different “Top Ranked” badge, along with a claim that “This Agent is a Certified Top Agent, meaning they will get you the best possible deal on your home.”
Again, this is just empty marketing speak and it doesn’t appear to be based on any measurable metrics. While our “Certified Top Agents” did have plenty of sales and experience, so did many of the agents who weren’t “Certified Top Agents,” which makes this badge meaningless.
The point is, don’t get taken in by TopAgentsRanked’s marketing tactics. Focus on things that matter, like experience, sales numbers, and fit for your situation — not on flashy badges and association memberships.
How does TopAgentsRanked work?
- You sign up by entering basic information about your upcoming home purchase or sale on the TopAgentsRanked website.
- A TopAgentsRanked concierge will call you — usually within minutes — to learn more and curate a personalized list of agents. But you will still get a list of agents even if you don’t talk to a rep.
- Within a few minutes of the phone call, you will receive your list of real estate agents via email and a customer dashboard.
- Your agents will likely start trying to contact you directly right away. You can also call, text, or email them via your customer dashboard.
- You can interview any of your agent matches or reach out to TopAgentsRanked to request more matches.
- If you don’t feel like any of your matches are a good fit, you’re free to walk away.
🚨 Matches probably aren't personalized
TopAgentsRanked claims it personalizes your agent matches based on your needs. However, we got our agent matches almost instantly after talking to a TopAgentsRanked concierge and many of our agent matches didn't fit our criteria. That suggests TopAgentsRanked doesn't take the time to really tailor agent matches to your needs.
How much does TopAgentsRanked cost?
TopAgentsRanked is free to use, like all agent matching services. However, unlike some other companies, it doesn’t negotiate discounts with its agents, so you’ll still have to pay the full realtor commission rate — just as you would if you found an agent on your own.
If you’re selling, you will need to pay the listing fee — which goes to the seller’s agent — and the buyer’s agent commission, both of which are usually 2.5-3% of the sale price. So, in total, expect commission to cost 5-6%.
Other agent matching services, like Clever, save you money by pre-negotiating lower listing fees with agents before you’re matched with them. That can help you lower your overall commission to 3.5-4% — equivalent to thousands of dollars in savings compared to what you’ll pay with TopAgentsRanked.
How does TopAgentsRanked make money?
Whenever an agent closes a deal with a client referred to them by TopAgentsRanked, then TopAgentsRanked takes a share of the agent’s commission. This is called a referral fee and it is how all agent matching services make money.
Agents can also pay optional fees on top of their mandatory referral fees for extra services, like:
- Referring clients to other agents
- Home seller and buyer validation services
- Improved rankings
- Enhanced customer service
Why do agents work with companies like TopAgentsRanked?
Agent matching services like TopAgentsRanked offer a low-risk way for agents to grow their business. Because real estate is so competitive, agents typically spend a lot of time and money on marketing to find new clients.
TopAgentsRanked does some of that marketing work on behalf of agents so agents can focus on what they do best: helping people buy and sell houses. In exchange for getting more clients, agents agree to pay TopAgentsRanked a share of their commission.
TopAgentsRanked pros and cons
👍 Customer service reps are helpful
The TopAgentsRanked representatives we spoke to were highly knowledgeable and able to answer our questions about the process.
This may be because TopAgentsRanked representatives, like Clever’s Concierge team, are all licensed real estate agents. This is an important distinction: Legally, a representative who isn't licensed can’t offer you advice about your real estate transaction.
A licensed representative can advise about real estate decisions and provide more useful information that could help you with your buying and selling needs. Plus, representatives who are licensed tend to know more about how real estate works.
At companies where the representatives aren’t licensed, the reps may act more like sales people rather than focusing on getting you the best agent.
👎 Agent matches weren’t great
Many of the agents TopAgentsRanked matched us with were totally off-base in regards to our criteria. Since getting good agent recommendations is the primary reason agent matching services exist, the fact that TopAgentsRanked can’t get this right defeats the entire purpose of using it.
We often got matched with agents who lacked experience in our area. Given that TopAgentsRanked claims to have a network of 25,000 agents, you’d think they’d always have an agent available nearby!
We found it especially strange that, often, our No. 1 agent match wasn’t based in our town and had fewer sales than agents who were ranked lower but were based in our town and had more sales.
Upon further digging, we discovered that TopAgentsRanked allows agents to pay for what it calls “PRIME Service.” Among other things, this service allows agents to get “priority ranking for referral distribution” — in other words, TopAgentsRanked will rank them higher in your agent matches than non-PRIME Service members.
Nowhere is it made clear whether an agent match is a PRIME Service member. You’ll have no way of knowing whether the match was based on your actual needs or because the agent paid to rank higher.
👎 Customer dashboard makes it hard to compare agents
TopAgentsRanked’s customer dashboard lags behind the competition. It feels clunky and doesn’t provide enough information to make an informed decision about your agent matches.
Some agent profiles were incomplete and only provided the agent’s contact details, average selling price, and number of clients helped. You’ll also see a list of their “specialties,” but a lot of these are just empty marketing speak.
For example, the below agent gets a star for being “perfect for first-time home buyers” — but that’s something that should be true of almost all experienced real estate agents!
Important information, like customer reviews, recent listings, and links to the realtors’ Zillow/Realtor.com profiles, was often missing.
Some of the info TopAgentsRanked shares with clients via the dashboard is also incorrect or out of date. For example, our top agents always had a badge designating them as a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), whereas lower ranked ones didn’t. But when we Googled the agents who didn’t have a badge, we found out that they were all NAR members too.
👎 Zero built-in savings
While TopAgentsRanked is free to use, it won’t save you any money on your home sale or purchase. It doesn’t pre-negotiate discounts with real estate agents, so you’ll pay the full agent commission just as you would if you found the agent on your own. The total commission is usually around 5-6%.
Other agent matching services actually pre-negotiate discounts with agents beforehand, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
Clever, for example, pre-negotiates a discounted listing fee of 1% — compared to the 2.5-3% you’re likely to get through TopAgentsRanked — or $3,000 for homes under $350,000. That means you could save $8,000 with Clever vs. no savings through TopAgentsRanked on a $400,000 home:
Buyer’s agent fee*
*Assumes a 3% buyer’s agent fee
**Compared to a standard 6% total commission
What are TopAgentsRanked reviews?
In general, TopAgentsRanked reviews online are positive, but its overall rating is lower than most of its competitors. It has an average rating of 4.6 from 3,278 reviews. While that may appear high, it’s actually low for an agent matching service.
We searched hundreds of online TopAgentsRanked reviews to find out what the service does well and where it comes up short.
While many reviews we found online were positive, others complained about problems with the company. Here is what our team found out.
What customers like about TopAgentsRanked
Most of the positive TopAgentsRanked reviews concerned the quality of the agents and how easy the service was to use.
“Great communication & negotiating skills”
This customer, for example, was very happy with their agent matches:
While we’re glad this customer was able to find a good agent, our team of mystery shoppers actually had many issues with the agents TopAgentsRanked matched us with. Many were outside of our local area or they just didn't meet our criteria.
However, with such a large network of agents, quality will vary, meaning some agents will be very good, others less so. You may end up finding a great agent like the customer above did or you may not.
TopAgentsRanked isn't worth the gamble with something as important as buying or selling a house.
“All very easy”
Another area where some customers praised TopAgentsRanked was its ease of use.
This customer found TopAgentsRanked to be very easy to use and they got their agent matches quickly:
While we wished TopAgentsRanked included more information about agents — such as recent sales and customer reviews — we do agree that the site is easy to use and we got our agent matches within the same day.
That said, we didn’t find TopAgentsRanked any easier or faster than most other agent matching services, so we don’t think these should be reasons to use it over an alternative service.
TopAgentsRanked complaints from customers
The most common complaint from customers was that agents weren't good matches.
“NOT top sellers”
This customer, for example, went through two agents with TopAgentsRanked, neither of whom seemed to put much effort into selling her house. One didn’t even work very much in the county where the customer was located:
Our experience with TopAgentsRanked was similar. We were frequently matched with agents who didn’t seem to fit our real estate needs and we were often paired with agents based outside our local area.
Agents were “over 30 miles away”
This customer had a similar experience. Their recommended agents weren’t located nearby, despite there being agents in the area:
Because TopAgentsRanked allows agents to pay extra in order to rank higher, we suspect paying agents outranked actual local agents.
“Never saw any statistics or reasons for the recommendations”
Other customers complained that TopAgentsRanked didn’t give them enough information to make a decision about an agent.
This customer, for example, didn’t get much useful data about their agent matches and felt that TopAgentsRanked wasted their time:
We agree that TopAgentsRanked doesn’t provide nearly enough data about agents. If you want to learn about their recent sales or current listings, you’ll have to search on your own.
Since agent matching services are supposed to save you time, the fact that you’ll still have to do your own research means TopAgentsRanked isn't doing its most basic job.
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.
Like TopAgentsRanked, Clever is an agent matching service that will match you with multiple agents quickly. Clever’s Concierge Team is also fully licensed, so its members can provide you with insightful advice about your real estate transaction.
But unlike TopAgentsRanked, Clever doesn’t let agents pay to rank higher in your matches and will call you beforehand to ensure your matches fit your needs.
Clever also pre-negotiates discounted commission rates with top-rated realtors, so you can save thousands without sacrificing service.
When you sell with a Clever Partner Agent, you get full service for a flat $3,000 listing fee – or just 1% on homes above $350,000. If you buy with Clever, you could qualify for a cash-back refund worth up to 0.5% of the purchase price.
💲 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 4.7 across 1,119 reviews on Google, Sitejabber, and the Better Business Bureau.
Like TopAgentsRanked, HomeLight has a large network of agents and can match you with multiple agents.
However, HomeLight has a much better dashboard and gives customers a lot more data about their agent matches. Its online experience is user friendly and makes it easy to compare agents.
But unlike Clever, HomeLight offers zero built-in discounts or savings. If you sell with a HomeLight agent, you'll have to pay full price on commission, just like you would with TopAgentsRanked.
💲 Listing Fee
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Avg. Customer Rating
UpNest has agents compete for your business, which often results in you getting a discounted rate. But savings aren't guaranteed and you will usually find a better rate with competitors like Clever.
- Agents compete for customers, which often results in slightly discounted rates
- Customer dashboard is easy to use and provides lots of each information about each agent
- Savings are not guaranteed and are often only a little better than the national average
- Agent quality and coverage varies, with smaller markets having fewer options than big cities
As of April 2, 2021, UpNest has an average customer rating of 4.6, based on 2,934 reviews across Better Business Bureau, Google, Facebook, and Shopper Approved.
UpNest, like TopAgentsRanked, will match you with multiple agents. But it has a much better customer dashboard that makes it easy to compare your agent matches.
The quality of UpNest's matches is also better, with most agents well aligned with your needs.
UpNest is unique in that it has agents compete for your business, which in theory should help lower agents’ commission fees. However, we found that agents on UpNest offer listing fees of 2-2.5%.
That’s better than TopAgentsRanked, but it is at least twice as high as what you'll get with Clever.