If you’re looking for a discount agent to save money on your home sale, you might have seen ads for Ideal Agent. They promise to match sellers with top agents who accept lower commissions – but are they legit? —-
An agent’s commission is often the most expensive cost for home sellers, so it’s common for sellers to try to save money on commission. If you’ve been looking for “discount agents” or “low commission real estate agents,” Ideal Agent has probably popped up in a search. The company says that their agents will accept a lower commission and still do a great job.
In 2022, a seller can expect to pay between 5%-6% in agent commissions, which is typically split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. Using a median existing home price of $358,000, that amounts to $17,900-$21,480 in commission costs. But just as there are many agent matching services, there are many parts of the home-selling equation to consider when selecting an agent.
Ideal Agent promises to match home sellers with top agents who will accept a lower commission but still give you full service. What is Ideal Agent? And can they really save you money?
What is Ideal Agent?
Ideal Agent is a website that researches national real estate sales data to find what they describe as the top 1% of agents in your local area. Normally, these agents aren’t discount agents and take a full commission on their transactions. But Ideal Agent negotiates a lower percentage with agents in their network so that you can save money.
Ideal Agent says that the typical agent in their network meets these standards:
5+ years experience as a licensed agent
For small markets: closed at least 50 transactions in the last 12 months
For large markets: closed at least 100 transactions in the last 12 months
Must have an agent or broker’s license in good standing
Usually ranked in the Top 1% in sales in their local market
Full-time agents, not hobbyists
Minimum of 25 reviews with at least a 4.9 star rating on Zillow or Realtor.com
Note that while Ideal Agent says this is their “typical agent,” they make no guarantees or promises that any agent you’re matched with meets these criteria.
How does Ideal Agent work for home sellers?
To get started with Ideal Agent, you tell them about your home selling goals. While everyone wants to make money when they sell, you might have other goals — selling quickly due to a relocation, or getting a rent back period. After you’ve answered questions about your needs, you’re matched with what Ideal Agent deems as a qualified agent.
Ideal Agent reviews
No service, or company, can make every person happy all of the time. However, looking across several websites can give you a balanced idea of the experiences of consumers who’ve used their services. We’ve pulled a few examples from around the web to give you an idea of what people are saying.
Trustpilot — Ideal Agent has 4.9 out of 5 stars, with 3,000+ reviews
Reviewers use phrases like “great experience,” and “easy and painless,” with a few complaints about poor communication from specific agents. One review noted that the commission came in higher than promised (again, while Ideal Agent asks its agents to accept a lower commission, it may not be able to enforce this).
Google — Ideal Agent has 4.8 out of 5 stars, with 368 reviews
Google reviews use phrases like “awesome,” “did a great job,” and “impressed and pleased.” Some say that, despite skepticism, the sale went well.
Other reviewers note that the buyer still demanded a 3% agent commission, or that they didn’t save as much as they expected. The Ideal Agent response on one such post — “Wow, sounds like price fixing Davo! You’re what’s wrong with the industry” — could be seen as unprofessional. Negative comments are typically responded to with a breakdown of the commission saved or an explanation of their business model which can read as defensive.
BBB — Ideal Agent has 5.0 out of 5 stars, with 171 reviews
Ideal Agent has overwhelmingly positive reviews on the Better Business Bureau website. Reviewers say that it was a “great experience,” “stress free,” and “professional.” Unlike other review websites, there are no negative reviews on BBB.
Pros and cons of using Ideal Agent
There are pluses and minuses to almost anything in life, so what are the pros and cons of using Ideal Agent?
Pros of using Ideal Agent
Save time researching agents
With their matching service, you don’t have to go online and read agent reviews, comb through their sales data, or ask friends for recommendations. Their service saves you time by connecting you with a top local agent.
Save money on your home sale
A lower commission will save you money — but how much? If you sell a $300,000 home with an agent who charges the typical 3% commission, you’ll pay $9,000 in commission. If the recommended agent lowers their commission to 2.5%, you’d pay $7,500, for a total savings of $1,500.
Cons of using Ideal Agent
You’re only matched with a single agent
Other agent matching services, like Homelight, provide several top agent recommendations so sellers can compare options, specialties, sales results and personalities. Ideal Agent gives you one name, and only one agent will call you. In reviews, sellers noted that if they wanted to talk to another agent they had to call Ideal Agent and request another match.
You have to speak with a concierge first
Ideal Agent prefers having sellers speak to a concierge before they provide an agent match, unlike other services like HomeLight that will respond with recommendations almost instantaneously. This can be a drawback for sellers who like to do their own research before being asked to talk to a company.
Smaller network of agents
As agent matching networks go, Ideal Agent has one of the smaller networks, with only about 2,000 agents compared to HomeLight’s 28,000. This could be due to the strict agent experience parameters, or because of the requirement that agents accept their discounted commission fees. The majority of the country is a seller’s market at the moment, and agents have few reasons to accept a lower commission.
You could make less profit overall
While you may save 1% or 2% on commissions with a discount commission service, our data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
For example, if you are selling a $400,000 home, you may save $4,000 with a 2% commission service agent, but selling with a top agent in a network like HomeLight’s Agent Match, you could earn an additional $40,000 on your home’s final sale price. Your net could be higher than any money saved on commission.
Alternatives to Ideal Agent
Ideal Agent is far from the only agent matching website out there. Some similar agent matching companies include:
These companies can offer valuable services that use real estate transaction data and algorithms to dramatically streamline the agent selection process — a process that used to rely on manual research or luck for sellers. But not all agent matching companies offer the same level of service.
Some, like FastExpert, have limited standards for agents who join their network, but promise a refund after closing if you’re not satisfied. Others say that their agents offer discounted commissions, but reviews indicate that the agent may end up later refusing to honor the discount and delay the sale of your home. You should definitely do your research before picking an agent.
Other services offered by Ideal Agent
Ideal Agent does more than match you with a low commission agent. They offer at least two other services:
Ideal Agent iBuyer program. If you want to avoid the hassle of preparing a house to list and negotiating with buyers, you can check out the Ideal Agent’s iBuyer program. They are currently buying homes in most states, but you have to call them for details. After gathering information from you, iBuyers typically buy a home — often sight unseen — based on local market comparable sales.
Ideal for agents. This is their agent network recruitment. While not geared to home sellers, it gives you an idea of how they bring new agents into their network.
How does HomeLight’s Agent Match work?
HomeLight’s Agent Match analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to find the best agent for you. After you answer a few questions we match you to agents with specialties and certifications best for your needs. If you want an agent who specializes in waterfront real estate, relocations, or selling a home in probate — our Agent Match tool can search on these terms.
In just two minutes, we’ll match you with multiple local top agents, not just one, so you have more options in your search for the perfect, proven agent to sell your home.
Other services and tools offered by HomeLight
HomeLight also offers additional services* in an effort to meet more of a home seller’s needs.
HomeLight Simple Sale — Provides a cash offer to buy your home for a simple, quick sale.
HomeLight Home Loans — We also offer mortgage loans with a dedicated loan officer, fully underwritten pre-approval, no lender fees, and an earnest money guarantee.
HomeLight Trade-In — We’ll work with your agent to make an offer on your current home, so you can make an offer on a new home and close and move on your timeline.
HomeLight Cash Offer — We’ll make a cash offer on your behalf to purchase the home you want. Cash offers are three times more likely to win and can get you a 5% savings, on average, versus offers with a loan.
* Some services like Trade-In, Home Loans, and Cash Offer are not available in all states
Frequently Asked Questions about Ideal Agent and using Realtors®
Here are the answers to a few of the top questions asked about Ideal Agent.
Is Ideal Agent legit?
Ideal Agent is a licensed real estate brokerage in Florida that matches home sellers with real estate agents nationwide.
Is Ideal Agent really a 2% commission?
Ideal Agent tries to get agents in their network to agree to a discounted 2% commission. While some online reviews indicate that the seller might have paid more, it’s unclear if this is due to a lack of understanding of how real estate commissions work. Even if your selling agent takes 2%, you typically still must pay the full buyer’s agent’s commission.
Does Ideal Agent serve your area?
Ideal Agent operates in all 50 states. They don’t specialize in any major cities or markets, rather they focus on finding what they say are the top 1% of agents who specialize in each market and are willing to provide a discounted commission.
Is there a cost to use Ideal Agent?
It’s free to use their service to find an agent. While you have to pay the agent’s commission when you sell your home, there are no upfront fees.
How does Ideal Agent make money?
Ideal Agent collects money from the agents they refer, not from homebuyers or sellers.
Can I try more than one agent matching service at a time?
Yes! No one tracks your online submissions, but you may grow tired of frequent phone calls from agents.
How much does a top-rated real estate agent cost?
Top-rated agents typically charge the industry-standard 3% commission.
Does Ideal Agent work with homebuyers?
Yes, but it’s more complicated to sign up. Buyers can request their services through the online chat window, or call them. They don’t have a dedicated online form for buyers. Keep in mind that buyers don’t pay the real estate agent’s commission — the seller does — so commission is less of a concern if you’re on the buy side.
Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of Ideal Agent: know your options
Ideal Agent provides a convenient way to find a top-performing agent who charges a discounted commission of 2% to 2.5%. After speaking with a concierge, their free service matches sellers with one agent at a time. To request additional introductions, you have to call back. This could be time consuming if you don’t like their first pick.
There are numerous other reputable agent matching services that offer additional benefits, such as more agent options drawn from a wider network. Competitors like HomeLight have a large network of over 28,000 agents, and they give you several options. There’s no dealing with a middleman, within a few minutes you have a list of names, one of whom is likely to be the right agent for you.
Since both services are free, why not try HomeLight’s Agent Match and see which service is best for you?
Try these additional real estate tools from HomeLight:
Home Value Estimator – Get a real time, market value estimate of your home based on current market conditions.
Agent Commissions Calculator – Look up average commission rates by city and estimate how much you’ll pay on your home sale.
Home Affordability Calculator – Calculate how much home you can afford based on current earnings, savings, and expenses.
Best Time to Sell Calculator – Figure out the best time of the year to sell your house to maximize your sale price and sell quickly.
Header Image Source: (Kai Bossom / Unsplash)
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