We strive to deliver objective reviews. The Real Estate Witch team and its mystery shoppers spent a collective 1,400+ hours over a six-week period testing and researching agent matching services. Our goal is to help you find an agent who can get you the best possible value when you buy or sell your home.
What is Effective Agents?
Effective Agents is an agent matching service that helps home sellers and buyers find a full-service real estate agent. The company operates nationwide and claims to have a network of approximately 40,000 agents.
Effective Agents says it will match you with an agent who is a top realtor in your area. Because Effective Agents researches agents for you, it could also save you time in your agent hunt.
Our team of mystery shoppers found that, while Effective Agents does a decent job of matching you with an experienced agent, it falls short of competitors in terms of overall value.
Other companies offer the same free service and level of quality, but with additional benefits.
Our friends at Clever, for example, match you with a full-service agent, but they go a step further than Effective Agents and pre-negotiate a discounted rate on your behalf. You’ll pay just a 1% listing fee or $3,000 for homes under $350,000.
Plus, eligible buyers can get Clever Cash Back equal to 0.5% of the purchase price of their home.
- Effective Agents usually does a good job finding multiple, experienced agents.
- The service is free and easy to use, although it doesn’t have an online dashboard where you can compare agents.
- Agent quality can be inconsistent, especially in rural areas where agents may not have as much experience.
- Savings aren’t guaranteed and you’ll likely pay full commission rates for your agent. Alternative services offer better value and built-in savings.
Is Effective Agents legitimate?
Yes, Effective Agents is a legitimate company. It is a licensed real estate brokerage in Florida. All agent matching services must be licensed to operate legally.
Effective Agents’ parent company is Acuity Real Estate Services, which is also based in Florida.
Effective Agents is fairly well established. It operates nationwide and has been around since 2008. It has a partnership with Capital One to give small business owners discounts on real estate transactions.
Effective Agents reviews found online are mostly positive, with an aggregate rating of 4.9 out of 5.
✍ Editor’s Note
While Effective Agents is a legit company, we did find it makes some misleading marketing claims. For example, it claims to only work with agents who are in the top 1-5% in terms of sales in their local area, but in rural areas our mystery shoppers were matched with agents who fell well outside that range. (Read more.)
How does Effective Agents work?
Signing up for Effective Agents is easy. You enter details about the property you want to sell or buy, such as:
- Property type
- Estimated value/budget
- Contact information
Effective Agents’ algorithm then searches the company’s database of agents to find ones in your area it concludes are well suited to your needs.
A Transaction Concierge — who is essentially a customer service representative — then reviews the algorithm’s suggestions and narrows them down to 1-3 agents.
Effective Agents emails the list of recommended agents to you, usually within an hour. However, if you live in a rural area, it can take a few days to receive your list. The email includes information about each agent’s:
- Customer ratings
- Years of experience
- Number of transactions
- Rank in their area in terms of sales
You’ll also receive a call and text from your Transaction Concierge to go over your results and discuss next steps. You can request more agents at no cost.
You can reach out to schedule a meeting with any of the agents on your list. However, your recommended agents will already have your contact information and, in our experience, they will try to get in touch with you right away.
How much does Effective Agents cost?
Like all agent matching services, Effective Agents is free for buyers and sellers. You are not obligated to go with any recommended agent, so it’s essentially risk-free to try.
However, you will have to pay full realtor commission if you sell your home with one of its partner agents, so you won’t save any money.
Currently, for sellers, the overall real estate agent commission is around 5-6% nationwide, with half going to the seller’s agent and half to the buyer’s agent.
You’ll likely pay that 5-6% commission if you sell with an Effective Agents partner agent, just as you would if you found an agent on your own.
Other agent matching services offer built-in savings, so you can get a great agent and save money at the same time.
Our friends at Clever, for example, pre-negotiate a listing fee of $3,000 or 1% on homes over $350,000 — compared to the standard 2.5-3% you’re likely to pay with Effective Agents.
How does Effective Agents make money?
Effective Agents makes money by taking a percentage of the commission your agent earns when they complete a transaction. This is called a referral fee and it’s how all agent matching services make money.
Why do agents work with services like Effective Agents?
Agents typically spend a lot of time and money trying to find new clients. Services like Effective Agents help them cut back on that expense by finding new clients for them.
Because agents can spend more time closing deals and less finding clients, they’re usually happy to pay these referral fees. In the long run, more deals can mean more money for agents, even if they’re making a bit less on each individual transaction.
Effective Agents reviews: Major benefits and drawbacks
Effective Agents reviews are generally positive, with an average rating of 4.9 out of 987 total reviews. However, the vast majority of those reviews are from agents, not customers. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you need to know what Effective Agents is like for customers.
Our team of mystery shoppers found that Effective Agents usually — but not always — delivered what it promised: Matching you with an experienced local agent. However, it fell short at times, especially for our mystery shoppers in small towns and rural areas.
Overall, while Effective Agents does a decent job of finding agents, alternative services offer a better product and built-in savings — something Effective Agents doesn’t provide. We recommend giving one of them a try alongside Effective Agents.
Effective Agents pros and cons
✅ Agents are usually high quality
Effective Agents generally did a good job matching our mystery shoppers with experienced agents. All of the agents Effective Agents recommended had at least 100 sales, excellent customer ratings, and at least four years of experience — with most having over 10 years of experience.
Many online reviewers had similar feedback. This customer, for example, found her agent to be skilled and professional:
We also found that Effective Agents gave us our matches quickly, usually within an hour. However, we did find that in rural areas it could take a few days for Effective Agents to make a match.
Effective Agents has a large agent network, and while the company claims that agents can apply to join, the vast majority are invited. The fact that Effective Agents doesn’t let just any agent into its network means that when you get matched, you can be fairly confident it’s with a good agent.
Plus, Effective Agents manually reviews agents to ensure they meet not just quantitative requirements (such as minimum sales), but subjective criteria, like having high-quality listing photos and a professional-looking website.
We like that Effective Agents maintains this human touch during the agent matching process rather than leaving it entirely to an algorithm. This can help ensure your agent matches are personalized to your needs.
✅ You can choose from multiple agents
With Effective Agents, you get emailed a list of up to three agents. While Effective Agents is far from the only matching service that lets you choose from multiple agents, we still think it’s a great feature worth mentioning. We also think three agents is a good number: It gives you options without overwhelming you with choices.
Our mystery shopper in Columbia, MO, for example, received three high-ranking agents:
However, shoppers in other areas didn’t get the same number of matches. We found that if you’re in a rural area, you may only get one match. For example, our mystery shopper in southwestern Virginia was matched with just one agent.
It’s worth noting, however, that in some rural areas agents are in short supply. That’s why you should always compare multiple agent matching services to increase your chances of getting matched with a top agent.
⚠️ Service is easy to use, but limited
We found Effective Agents’ website pretty intuitive and easy to use. You choose the buyer or seller option and answer a couple simple questions. Then, Effective Agents emails or texts your matches to you.
Your agent matches are managed entirely through email and phone. If that works for you, great! But if you prefer a more robust digital experience, you may be disappointed by Effective Agents’ lack of a customer dashboard.
Other agent matching services, like UpNest and HomeLight, offer an online customer dashboard where you can easily compare your agents and view their profiles. The fact that Effective Agents doesn’t have one isn’t a major concern, but it is a “nice-to-have” that could make a difference for some buyers and sellers.
⚠️ Agents will have your contact information
Effective Agents shares your contact information with the agents it recommends. In our experience, this information is only shared with the 1-3 agents Effective Agents matches you with and not with other agents or outside companies.
However, Effective Agents doesn’t do a great job of making it clear that your contact information will be shared. In fact, they make it sound like it’s entirely up to you to contact the agents you’re matched with.
As a result, you may get calls, texts, and emails from agents once you receive your matches. That led this customer to feel as though they were getting inundated with calls they didn’t want:
To be clear, it’s normal for agent matching services to share your contact information with the agents they match you with. Many customers even prefer to have the agents call them instead of the other way around.
However, we understand that others prefer to contact the agents themselves. While we don’t fault Effective Agents for sharing contact information with agents, we do think they could be more transparent about it.
🙅 Zero Obligations
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by agents contacting you, just remember that you’re under no obligation to choose any agent Effective Agents recommends. That goes for every agent matching service. You always have the final say in choosing your real estate agent!
⛔ No built-in savings or discounts
Effective Agents doesn’t negotiate any discounts on behalf of customers. You’ll pay full commission for your agent, just as you would if you had found them without Effective Agents’ help.
For sellers, that’s usually 2-3% for the listing fee and another 2-3% for the buyer’s agent commission. In total, commission is usually 5-6% of the final sale price.
You don’t have to choose between getting a skilled agent and getting a discount. Other agent matching services match you with experienced real estate agents while also offering built-in savings.
Our partner Clever, for example, pairs you with a top full-service real estate agent, but at a discounted listing fee of 1% or $3,000 for homes sold under $350,000. That means you could save thousands of dollars with Clever compared to Effective Agents without sacrificing quality.
🚨 Don’t fall for Effective Agents’ “savings” claim
Effective Agents says it saves you money because it matches you with a “top agent” who will negotiate the best price possible for your home. This claim is highly misleading.
While a great agent can make a difference in terms of the final sale price, other factors are just as important, like your home’s condition, location, and your timeline for selling.
Don’t be fooled! The savings Effective Agents advertises are not guaranteed.
⛔ Your agent may not actually be a top sales performer
Sometimes Effective Agents failed to live up to its promise of matching us with an agent who was in the top 3% of sales for their local market. Our mystery shopper just outside of St. Louis, for example, was matched with an agent who wasn’t even in the top 10%:
This is inconsistent with Effective Agents’ claims that it only works with agents who are in the top 3% in terms of total sales in their area. While the vast majority of agents we were matched with were in the top 3%, this wasn’t true all the time.
Generally, we found Effective Agents to be a little fast and loose with its 3% rule in smaller towns and rural areas. That’s not a huge surprise given fewer agents usually work in those areas, but we don’t think Effective Agents should be making claims it can’t live up to.
The best Effective Agents alternatives in 2021
Clever Real Estate
Clever Real EstateFULL REVIEW
- List for $3,000 or 1%
- Up to 0.5% cash back for buyers
- Helpful, licensed Concierge
Clever is a free, no-obligation service that matches home sellers and buyers with top-rated, local real estate agents nationwide. Unlike most of its competitors, Clever pre-negotiates big discounts with its agent network, so customers land major savings! Sellers can save up to 50% on realtor commission fees. Buyers can qualify for 0.5% of their purchase price back after closing.
- Partners with full-service agents from top brokerages like Century 21 and RE/MAX
- Provides multiple agent matches so you can compare and choose the best fit
- Pre-negotiates low rates with agent network
- As with most agent matching services, customers may have fewer agent options in certain rural areas
Like Effective Agents, Clever matches buyers and sellers with 2-3 full-service agents. A licensed Clever Concierge handpicks every agent to ensure your agent match best suits your needs.
Unlike Effective Agents, Clever goes further and pre-negotiates a discounted listing fee of $3,000 or 1% over $350,000 vs. the traditional 2.5-3% you’ll likely get through Effective Agents.
Plus, qualifying buyers get Clever Cash Back after closing equal to 0.5% of their home price.
- Automated match process
- Impressive localized coverage
- No built-in commission savings
HomeLight is the largest agent matching service in America, with more than 28,000 agents in its network. That means more choice in terms of agents and brokerages relative to its competitors — particularly in rural and small town markets. The agent matching process is fully automated, which makes it a bit more streamlined but also comes with some quality risks. HomeLight does not offer any kind of commission savings for home sellers or buyers.
- Well-known and established agent matching service
- More choice in terms of agents and brokerages
- May offer better coverage in small towns and rural markets
- Does not pre-negotiate savings for customers
- Process is 100% automated — lack of human oversight can result in bad matches
- Many customer reviews cite unsolicited calls and spam emails after signing up on the HomeLight website
HomeLight is a nationwide agent matching service. Because it has such a large network, it’s better than Effective Agents at finding agents in small towns and rural areas.
HomeLight has an online customer dashboard that makes it easy to compare agents.
However, HomeLight, like Effective Agents, has no built-in savings, so chances are you’ll pay the full agent commission of 5-6% if you’re selling.
- Agents compete for your business
- Potential commission discount
- May offer buyer rebate
UpNest calls itself a “real estate agent marketplace” because agents compete for your business through its platform. After you sign up on UpNest’s website, local agents will submit proposals for you to review. Because they’re competing with one another, they’re incentivized to lower their rates to make their proposals more attractive. While this may drive savings, they may not be significant — particularly in less competitive markets. And unlike some other brands, the savings aren’t actually guaranteed.
- Agents compete for your business, which can drive savings
- Platform allows customers to easily shop around for the best agent match
- Discounts are not guaranteed and may be minimal
UpNest is another agent matching service with a large nationwide network of agents. But UpNest matches you with agents a bit differently than other agent matching services do.
After submitting information about your sale, agents compete for your business and you receive multiple quotes. In theory, this competition can lead to lower rates.
However, our research shows that the average listing fee on UpNest is about 2-2.5%, which is only marginally better than the nationwide average of 2.5-3% — and more than twice as much as you’ll pay with other agent matching services, such as Clever.
Ideal AgentFULL REVIEW
- List for 2%
- Limited agent network
- Licensed, helpful concierge
Ideal Agent can match you with a top-rated local realtor who has agreed to offer full service for a discounted 2% listing fee. Ideal Agent has strict standards for its agent network, claiming it only works with agents whose sales numbers are in the top 1% of their local markets. Notably, Ideal Agent only provides customers with one agent match, so if comparing options is important to you, it might not be a good choice. And while it does offer built-in savings for sellers, they’re not as significant as those offered by some top competitors, like Clever.
- Offers some built-in savings for home sellers
- Sets high performance standards for its agent network
- Offers a discounted 2.5% buyer’s agent commission, which might disincentivize realtors from showing your home to clients
- Only matches you with one agent
- Its limited network size may mean spotty coverage in smaller towns and rural areas
Ideal Agent is an agent matching service that promises to match customers with a top agent, just like Effective Agents.
But unlike Effective Agents, Ideal Agent pre-negotiates a discounted listing fee of 2%, or $3,000 for homes under $150,000. While that discount is less than what you’ll pay with Effective Agents, it’s still twice as expensive as Clever.
Plus, Ideal Agent’s agent network is far smaller than other agent matching services. So you may have trouble finding an agent if you live in a small town or rural area.
Should I work with Effective Agents?
Effective Agents doesn’t differ much from most agent matching services, but it’s free to use and you’re under no obligation to go with any agent it recommends. There’s really no risk in giving it a try.
That said, while Effective Agents is (ahem!) effective at what it does, it doesn’t wow us. The biggest downside is that it doesn’t offer any kind of built-in savings for consumers, which several competitors do.
If you’re looking to save money, there are better options. Not convinced? Check out Clever’s agent matching service and compare it to Effective Agents. Both are completely free, come with no obligations, and match you with a full-service agent. But with Clever you’ll never pay full commission.
If you’re looking for more information to help you save on a home sale or purchase, check out the following articles.
How to Save on Realtor Fees: 10 Tips
Realtor fees are a big expense when selling a home. Find out how you can lower yours and potentially save thousands.
Must-See Clever Real Estate Reviews
Wondering if Clever Real Estate’s promise to match you with a top real estate agent while saving you thousands is legit? Find out how Clever works and what customers are saying.
Realtor Fees: Your Questions, Answered
Realtor fees are confusing and they can cost a lot. Find out how realtor fees work and whether you can get a discount on them.
Is Effective Agents legit?
Yes, Effective Agents is a legitimate company that will match you with a full-service real estate agent. It has an active brokerage license in Florida. All agent matching services must be licensed in at least one state.
How much does Effective Agents cost?
Effective Agents is free to use, but it doesn’t offer any built-in savings or discounts on realtor fees. Other companies offer lower real estate agent commission, potentially saving you thousands.