Zillow Flex is a program that is part of the Zillow Premier Agent program. It has many differences from Zillow Premier Agent since Zillow Flex is a “pay at closing” referral program while Zillow Premier Agent is paid leads up front per zip code with no referral fee at the end. Zillow Flex is similar to ReferralCloud in that both charge a referral fee at closing, however, Zillow Flex is a much more expensive program.
Despite being both provider of referral leads for real estate agents, there are substantial differences between the two companies.
What are the differences between Zillow Flex and ReferralCloud?
The main differences are summed up here. Below we will discuss the specifics of each difference and why ReferralCloud will likely end up a better resource for real estate agents than Zillow Flex.
|Referral Fee at Closing||35%||30%|
|Any agent can join||Invite Only||Yes|
|Available in all markets||No||All of the US and Canada|
|Actual Referrals or “leads”||Leads||Referrals|
|Chance of closing||Low||High|
Let’s go over them one at a time for a more specific explanation.
Zillow Flex Referral Fee
Zillow Flex charges a 35% referral fee at closing. This fee is based on the gross closed commission just like other real estate referrals are charged. Zillow also charges this referral fee on numerous transactions if the client buys a house, for example, and then buys another one a few months later.
ReferralCloud charges a 30% referral fee at closing. 25% is given to the agent that placed the referral in the platform. ReferralCloud retains 5% to run the site and maintain the marketplace.
Who Can Join Zillow Flex vs ReferralCloud
Zillow Flex is very picky who they let in. Only agents that are invited, which are usually top producers or agents that have paid Zillow thousands as Premier Agents, can even get in the program. If you aren’t one a handful of these agents, good luck getting into their program.
ReferralCloud is open to all real estate agents. Since we are a referral coordinator, we need agents in all parts of the country to make the marketplace work.
Is Zillow Flex Available in all Markets?
No. According to Zillow’s website, Zillow Flex is only available in Phoenix and Atlanta plus “a few other markets”. This rules out about 99% of all agents. This is because Zillow will only let agents that are already Premier Agents into the Flex program and only agents in a couple market are even eligible. So if you aren’t in the specific market they operate in, and you aren’t in the Zillow Premier Agent program already, chances are you aren’t going to be let into their program.
ReferralCloud is available in all 50 states and even Canada whereas Zillow Flex is not. Anywhere real estate agents can pay referral fees to each other. Additionally ReferralCloud has a very large agent network, which just grows every day, allowing more opportunities for agents in the network to not only get more listings and buyer clients, but also an easier way to place their existing friends and clients with other agents and collect the 25% referral fee.
Leads vs Referrals
Zillow Flex is a provider of leads. They have built their business on getting consumers to come to their site and look at houses. On each page of homes, as well as each individual home a list of real estate agents show up on the right side of the page. These agents have paid for placement with their phone number in the hopes that consumers will see it and call them to ask about the house. Most of the time, the agent is listed next to a home because of the zip code of the house and not because of any directly involvement or knowledge about the house. The agent is looking for “client leads”.
There is also a place where you can “find out more information” about a home. Zillow Flex takes this information and sells it to real estate agents. Not only is it sold to agents, it’s sold to numerous agents. This creates two problems. Consumer get calls and emails from a bunch of agents. Secondly, these are low conversion leads. If a consumer wants information on 10 houses, and Zillow sells that information to 4 agents each time, that’s 40 agents calling and emailing trying to capture that client. Zillow Flex leads conversions are notoriously low.
Referrals are a much higher source of business.
They are usually from agents, who have already worked with a client, or the client is just a close friend that is asking about an agent in another market. Because these types of customers are so valuable for real estate agents, they are willing to pay a large referral fee, usually 25% but as much as 50% in some cases. That referral fee is paid once the home purchase or sale has closed.
Most companies that give referrals charge between 30% and 45%. Companies like Opcity and Cartus are on the higher end while ReferralCloud is definitely the most affordable one. The same with Zillow Flex.
Chance of having a closing
Zillow Flex hands off its leads its agents through a system where the client has agreed to talk to the agent. Only Zillow actually knows their conversion numbers, but anecdotally that number is very low. Higher than the 2% estimate from leads sold directly to agents, but much lower than an actual agent to agent referral.
ReferralCloud has the same closing rate that normal agent to agent referrals have. This is because that’s exactly what they are. Referrals are placed in the system by other agents that are members of the referral network, and then assigned via a priority system to one agent in the appropriate market. The priority system is based on a “give a referral, get a referral” model, where agents are rewarded by inbound referrals for their outbound referrals. For agents that don’t have referrals to enter into the system, there is a program where they can get credit by inviting other agents to join the platform. Those agents also get $100 when each agent they have invited in has their first closing though the system.