Ideal Agent is a service that will match you with a top local real estate agent if you’re looking to sell or buy a house. While it offers some discounts for home sellers and generally has good agents, overall we think you can find a better deal elsewhere if savings are your main goal. Here are the key things you need to know about Ideal Agent:
- Sellers get a slightly reduced listing fee (2% vs. 3%); buyers get no savings
- You’ll only get matched with one agent, not multiple agents like other brands
- Ideal Agent promises that all of its agents are in the top 1% in sales in their local markets
Other similar services match you with a top local agent, but they also provide better savings — and they give you more agents to compare.
Our friends at Clever Real Estate, for example, will also find you a top full-service agent from a trusted brand like Keller Williams or Berkshire Hathaway. But Clever offers an unbeatable 1% listing fee for sellers (vs. Ideal Agent’s 2% fee) and cash back for eligible buyers.
Ideal Agent vs. top alternatives
Ideal Agent has plenty going for it, especially discounts for sellers and high-quality local real estate agents. But it doesn’t particularly stand out as anything special. Just about everything that Ideal Agent does well, other 2% commission companies do better.
Alternative brands offer equally good agents, but with bigger discounts. Or they have more agents for you to choose from, especially outside of major cities. Here’s how Ideal Agent stacks up against some of its biggest competitors on the most important issues.
Clever offers the same service for half the price
Clever Real EstateLearn more
- Listing Fee: $3,000 or 1%
- Available Nationwide
- Full Service, Zero Tradeoffs
Sellers save an average of $7,375 when they list with Clever, compared to a traditional 3% listing fee.*
*Average savings based on listing fees at four common price points: $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $750,000.
Clever has a 4.9 out of 5 rating (1,810 total reviews) on popular review sites like Google, Facebook, and Trustpilot.
Clever is available to sellers nationwide.
If you’re looking to sell with a top local realtor for a lower commission rate, Clever Real Estate is your best option. Both Ideal Agent and Clever match you with great agents from local brokerages. The big difference is that Clever offers double the savings, plus cash-back refunds for eligible buyers.
Clever pre-negotiates discounted listing fees of just 1% or $3,000 with top agents nationwide — half Ideal Agent’s 2% listing fee. That could mean thousands more in your pocket when you sell your home.
Just enter your home sale price below to see how much you could save with Clever vs. Ideal Agent:
Both Clever and Ideal Agent do a good job of vetting realtors and, despite paying a lower listing fee, you’ll make no sacrifices in terms of service. With both Clever and Ideal Agent, you’ll get full-service agents, often from name brand brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX.
But with Clever, you get to choose from multiple handpicked agents matches. That lets you compare your options and choose the best fit for you. Ideal Agent only connects you with one realtor.
We think it’s best to interview multiple agents to find the one you’re most comfortable with. After all, selling a house is a major financial decision. It’s important to choose an agent who’s the right match for you!
HomeLight and other services have larger (but not always better) agent networks
- 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
Sellers who are just looking to compare agents fast and aren’t worried about savings.
While Ideal Agent technically operates nationwide, it actually has a lot fewer real estate agents than most of its competitors. HomeLight, for example, has 70,000 agents compared to Ideal Agent’s 2,000.
Agent network size matters because a smaller network means that some areas will have few or even no agents to choose from. If you live outside of a major metropolitan area, Ideal Agent may not have any local agents for you.
Another problem with a small agent network is that even when you do get an agent match, your options are limited. We suspect Ideal Agent’s small network size is why they only match you with one agent, as opposed to alternative brands that let you choose from several local realtors.
Ideal Agent’s small network size is partly a side effect of its strict screening process, which ensures that only the top selling agents get in. HomeLight, on the other hand, has almost no screening process, which allows it to build a larger (but not necessarily better) agent network.
Redfin and other discount brands offer bigger savings
- Listing Fee: 1.5% (min. fees vary)
- Available in 80+ U.S. Markets
- Listings Featured on Redfin App
Sellers save an average of $5,550 when they list with Redfin, compared to a traditional 3% listing fee.*
*Average savings based on listing fees at four common price points: $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $750,000.
Redfin has a 3.7 out of 5 rating (301 total reviews) on popular review sites like Google, Yelp, and Consumer Affairs.
Redfin is available in 100+ U.S. markets, giving it near-nationwide coverage.
Ideal Agent is one of a handful of brands that negotiates discounted listing fees for sellers. Ideal Agent’s listing fee is 2% compared to the industry average of 2.72%. While any savings are good, other brands offer bigger discounts while still providing customers with full service.
Redfin, for example, offers a discounted listing fee of 1.5% — which can be lowered to 1% if you sell and buy with Redfin. Clever, meanwhile, offers a 1% listing fee for homes that sell over $350,000 and a flat $3,000 fee for homes below that price point.
These aren’t the only examples of alternative brands offering better rates than Ideal Agent. If you’re selling a high value home and you’re comfortable taking on some of the sale process yourself, a flat-fee brand may offer even more savings.
To learn more about how you can save on real estate commission when you sell your house, we recommend reading our list of real estate companies that offer the lowest commission.
Should I work with Ideal Agent?
Because Ideal Agent offers a free, no-obligation agent matching service and comes with some discounts, there’s no reason not to try it out. If you don’t like your agent match, you can walk away.
But if you’re going to try Ideal Agent, we strongly recommend comparing other options too. In terms of savings, agent quality, and agent choice, Ideal Agent usually falls short of the competition.
Clever, in particular, does just about everything Ideal Agent does, but at an even lower price point — plus Clever offers cash back for buyers.
Give both a try and decide for yourself which provides the best agents and value!
Ideal Agent reviews: Pros and cons
|✅ Pros||⛔️ Cons|
|Highly qualified agents||Limited savings for sellers|
|Dedicated, helpful customer service||You only get a single agent match|
|Agent match quality is inconsistent|
|No savings for buyers|
Ideal Agent reviews are mostly positive, with an average customer rating of 4.9/5 out of 4,343 total reviews.
Our research team mystery shopped Ideal Agent and we were generally pleased with the quality of service we received. We found that Ideal Agent sets high performance standards for its agents so that only the top sellers are able to join. While those standards aren’t a guarantee that you’ll get a good agent, they do help.
Additionally, Ideal Agent’s concierges are highly qualified and knowledgeable about real estate. Each concierge is a licensed agent, which means they are legally allowed to provide advice about your real estate transaction.
However, Ideal Agent fell short in several key areas:
- It only offers one agent match per customer
- Commission discounts for sellers are limited
- There are no built-in savings or benefits for home buyers
If you’re looking for an agent matching service that delivers maximum value, we recommend checking out some of the alternatives — particularly Clever Real Estate, which offers the same service, but with more agents to choose from and bigger savings for sellers and buyers.
We’ve laid out the major pros and cons below to help you determine whether Ideal Agent might be a good fit for you.
✅ Highly qualified agents
Ideal Agent sets a high bar in terms of agent quality. Agents in its network must meet standards, including:
- A minimum of five years’ experience
- A minimum 25 reviews on Zillow or Realtor.com with a 4.9-star rating or above
- A minimum of 100 transactions closed in the last 12 months in large markets (or 50 in smaller markets)
- Membership in the National Association of Realtors
- Top 1% in local sales
Our mystery shoppers also found that Ideal Agent does a thorough job of checking agents’ credentials before allowing them to join its network. This isn’t typical of larger competitors like HomeLight, and made our shoppers feel confident in any realtor the service matched them with.
📌 Important note: Just because an agent meets quantitative criteria doesn’t mean they’re the best agent for you. Take into account other factors, including personality and past experience in your neighborhood, price range, and property type.
Many reviews agree that Ideal Agent’s agents are top quality.
✅ Dedicated, helpful concierge
All of Ideal Agent’s concierges are licensed real estate agents. In fact, one of our shoppers’ concierges had been an agent for 20+ years. The concierges were knowledgeable and helpful when answering our questions about real estate in general and the company.
In each of our shoppers’ experiences, a dedicated concierge handled all communications between the shopper and the company.
This is beneficial, because your assigned concierge will be familiar with your situation, and you won’t have to re-explain your needs to whichever concierge you happen to get (which has been our shoppers’ experience with other agent matching services).
Sometimes, with competing agent matching services, our shoppers interfaced with three or more concierges, and were confused about who was doing what. Our shoppers said, with other companies, it often felt like a feeding frenzy, with concierges reaching out excessively, trying to be the one to land their business. This wasn’t the case with Ideal Agent.
Concierges generally communicated via text, email, and phone, and responded promptly on all three channels. Sometimes, phone calls went unanswered — the concierge was presumably helping another customer. But Ideal Agent does have a toll-free number, which was answered reliably by a customer service representative who picked up during regular business hours.
Reviewers agree that Ideal Agent’s concierge team is effective.
⛔️ Limited savings for sellers
Ideal Agent pre-negotiates a 2% listing commission with agents in its network, which is about 0.5-1% less than the typical rate nationwide. It offers buyer’s agents a 2.5% commission, which is on the lower end of the spectrum.
You can see the listing fees that alternative brands offer below:
|Ideal Agent||2% or $3,000 for homes under $150,000|
|Clever Real Estate||1% or $3,000 for homes under $350,000|
|Redfin||1.5% (min. fees vary)|
|UpNest||Varies. 2.2% on average.|
While any discount is nice, sellers can save more with other discount brands. You can get the same or similar service elsewhere, but at an even lower rate. If savings are a priority for you, we suggest comparing Ideal Agent to other low commission brokers.
Our friends at Clever, for example, pre-negotiate a 1% listing commission with its network (or a flat fee of $3,000 for homes that sell for less than $350,000). Clever links customers with top-performing agents in their local area just like Ideal Agent does. Why work with a company that charges more for the same service?
⛔️ Single agent match
Ideal Agent provides customers with only one agent match. This is atypical in the industry. The company claims it doesn’t want to overwhelm you with communication from a variety of agents.
It’s never a good idea to sign with the first and only agent you speak to. Interview at least two or three agents to determine the best fit before choosing one. Most agent matching services understand this and accordingly provide two or three agent matches up front.
We assumed that, if our shoppers requested a different agent, Ideal Agent would oblige. They denied our shoppers’ requests. Ideal Agent really is a take-it-or-leave-it service. We don’t believe this approach sets buyers and sellers up for success — a qualified agent who fits your situation and can get you the best outcome on your sale.
✍ Editor’s Note
If you want to try Ideal Agent, consider checking it out alongside another agent matching service. That way, you’ll have a handful of qualified agents to review and interview. Always do your due diligence before making any important real estate decision!
⛔️ Inconsistent agent match results
Our mystery shoppers’ opinions differed on the agent matches they received from Ideal Agent. One felt they received an appropriate match with solid experience in the neighborhood they specified.
The other felt their match was likely a high-performing agent, but with little knowledge of the local area. The agent was located in a major city, and the shopper sought to sell a home in a nearby suburban town. The agent had closed only one deal in that town since 2006, though he had many sales in the city.
Our shopper asked their concierge for another agent located closer to the town, as driving into the city for meetings and signings could be inconvenient. They also mentioned a concern with the agent’s local knowledge given his track record of sales in the area. The concierge did not acknowledge that these concerns were valid and refused to provide another agent match until our shopper gave the original match a shot.
Ideal Agent doesn’t share the criteria it uses to pair customers and agents. In an interview, CEO Steve Johnston compared the company’s matching technology to that used by Uber to find the driver closest to the app user. This made us wonder if the company matches agents and customers solely based on proximity rather than expertise.
Additionally, we wondered if agent coverage may be uneven in certain areas due to Ideal Agent’s relatively small agent network, limiting match options.
Other customers have been dissatisfied with the quality of their agent match.
⛔️ No buyer savings
Ideal Agent isn’t a buyer-focused company. Its advertisements (on television and the internet) tout its “Smart Seller” system. And there’s no place for buyers to sign up for the service online, though representatives confirmed Ideal Agent works with buyers.
This focus on sellers is echoed in Ideal Agent’s lack of savings for buyers. If you’re looking for a way to save money when purchasing a home, Ideal Agent won’t be a good fit.
The good news: Similar services offer potential savings for home buyers. Clever Real Estate, for example, gives eligible buyers 0.5% of the purchase price back after closing. On a $400,000 home, that’d be $2,000!
That’s cash in hand just for buying with Clever!
How does Ideal Agent work?
It’s pretty quick and easy for home sellers to sign up for Ideal Agent. Simply fill out a form on the company’s website, providing some basic details about your sale, including:
- The type of property you’re selling (e.g., condo or single-family home)
- The estimated value of your property
- When you’re hoping to sell by
- Your contact information
📌 Important Note
If you’re just looking for an agent to help you buy a home, there’s no way for you to sign up via Ideal Agent’s website. The form only facilitates seller sign ups. However, a member of Ideal Agent’s customer service team told us the company does work with buyers — but they have to reach out directly to sign up, which requires a little extra effort (and is pretty confusing, in our opinion).
Within a few minutes of submitting the form, an Ideal Agent concierge will reach out via phone and email. During our mystery shoppers’ phone conversations, which averaged about 10 minutes each, the concierge explained the benefits of working with Ideal Agent, provided the name of an agent match, and highlighted the agent’s experience and accomplishments.
📌 Important Note
Ideal Agent will not provide an agent match until you speak to a concierge via phone. The concierge team communicates via text and email as well, but that outreach mostly attempts to set up a phone call. In other words, if you don’t like speaking on the phone, this service might not be for you.
After our shoppers’ phone conversations, the concierge followed up with an email providing the agent match’s name and contact details. Almost immediately upon receipt, the agent called to learn more about our shoppers’ needs.
Is Ideal Agent available near me?
While Ideal Agent is available nationwide, its coverage is spotty. With only 2,000 agents in its network, there are many areas of the U.S. where it has no agents. This is especially the case if you live outside of a major metropolitan area. If you’re looking for a discount broker near you, there are alternative brands that have much more extensive coverage.
Ideal Agent fees and savings
Ideal Agent pre-negotiates limited commission discounts with its real estate agents on your behalf.
Ideal Agent’s partners agree to sell your home for a 2% seller’s agent fee compared to the current industry average of . You will still have to pay the buyer’s agent commission, which is between 2.5-3%. So, you’ll pay about 4.5-5% of the final home sale price in commissions, rather than the conventional 5-6%.
|Fee||Ideal Agent||Traditional agent|
|Buyer's agent fee||2.5-3%||2.5-3%|
The potential cost savings aren’t insignificant: On a $400,000 home sale, you could save $2,000-$6,000. But it’s worth noting that some of Ideal Agent’s competitors offer bigger discounts without sacrificing service or agent quality.
For example, when you work with our friends at Clever to find an agent, you’ll get a full-service, top-quality realtor. But Clever pre-negotiates a 1% listing commission — or $3,000 for homes that sell for less than $350,000 — compared to Ideal Agent’s 2%. That’s the same service for half the price (or less)!
|Fee||Ideal Agent||Clever Real Estate|
|Listing fee||2%||$3,000 or 1%|
|Buyer's agent fee||2.5-3%||2.5-3%|
|Potential savings*||Up to $6,000||Up to $10,000|
As you can see, the savings with Clever are potentially much higher than they are with Ideal Agent.
And since Clever also works only with vetted real estate agents, you’ll be paired with a top local expert, but for much less.
Is Ideal Agent a legitimate business?
Yes, Ideal Agent is a legitimate company. They are a licensed real estate brokerage in Florida. Agent matching services like Ideal Agent must be licensed to collect payment from the agents with whom they work, which is how they make money.
CEO Steve Johnston (the guy in the TV commercials) founded Ideal Agent in 2016. Johnston has previously started other similar companies in the real estate industry. Ideal Agent is currently funded by private investors.
Ideal Agent only has 2,000 agents in its nationwide network, which is considerably smaller than its competitors (HomeLight, a top competitor, has 70,000). However, Ideal Agent claims it’s created a more exclusive network; it rejects 90% of agents who apply, according to a company representative we spoke to.
Ideal Agent says admission to its network is “by invitation only,” though it does provide a link to apply on its website. A company representative told us Ideal Agent invites the top 1% of realtors to join, as determined by their regional sales volume. As far as we can tell, Ideal Agent adheres to its stringent criteria for agent performance, which is rare in the agent matching space.
Ideal Agent: Company Info
|Ideal Agent locations||Nationwide|
|Who owns Ideal Agent?||Steve Johnston|
|Public or private company?||Private|
|Is Ideal Agent BBB accredited?||Yes|
How does Ideal agent make money?
Ideal Agent makes money by taking a percentage of the commission its partner agents earn on deals for customers the company referred to them. This is a “referral fee,” and it’s how all agent matching services make money.
The company recently announced a partnership with Incenter to offer branded mortgage and title services. This will likely create an additional stream of revenue for Ideal Agent.
Bottom line: Is Ideal Agent worth it?
Ideal Agent offers savings for sellers and the quality of their agents is generally high, so it’s worth considering. However, alternative brands offer even better savings without sacrificing quality. And if you’re a buyer, Ideal Agent doesn’t offer any savings, so you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Brands like Clever Real Estate and Redfin, for example, both provide lower listing fees for sellers. And, unlike Ideal Agent, they also provide savings for eligible buyers.
Clever, for example, charges just a 1% listing fee (or $3,000 for homes under $350,000) compared to Ideal Agent’s 2%. And, just like Ideal Agent, Clever’s agents are pre-vetted and local experts. In other words, you’ll save twice as much with Clever, while still getting a top-rated, full-service real estate agent.
Why do real estate agents work with Ideal Agent?
Agent matching services like Ideal Agent help realtors grow their business. Agents typically spend a lot of time and money marketing themselves to attract new customers. And there’s no guarantee every customer they sign will result in a payday (some homes don’t sell, some buyers don’t end up buying, etc.)
Ideal Agent and its competitors provide a steady stream of new prospective customers at zero upfront cost. This lowers the agent’s risk — they only pay for deals that close. Having someone else find new clients also saves an agent a ton of time, which allows them to close even more deals. More volume and less risk means agents can earn less on each deal but still turn a profit and grow their business.
Is Ideal Agent really 2%?
Yes, if you’re selling with an Ideal Agent partner agent, you will pay 2% for your listing fee as opposed to the standard 2.5-3%. Keep in mind that you will still need to pay the buyer’s agent commission, which is between 2-3%, so the total commission you will pay is likely to be between 4-6%. We recommend shopping around before committing to Ideal Agent. Other brands offer even better savings without sacrificing quality. Find the top discount brands available near you!
Is Ideal Agent a scam?
No, Ideal Agent is a legitimate company and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. It generally has positive reviews from customers and can save sellers some money on real estate commission. However, Ideal Agent doesn’t offer the best savings. Other discount brands have even steeper discounts. Compare the best low commission brokers near you!
What are the biggest Ideal Agent complaints?
Our research shows that the biggest downsides to Ideal Agent are a lack of available agents in some markets, especially outside of major metropolitan areas. Ideal Agent also doesn’t give you the ability to choose between different agents. You get one choice, take it or leave it. Finally, some customers say they are disappointed with the lack of buyer savings. If you’re buying and looking to save, other discount brands that offer buyer rebates are a better choice.
How much does Ideal Agent cost?
Ideal Agent is free for home buyers and sellers — all agent matching services are. Realtors pay Ideal Agent a 25% referral fee on commissions they earn from deals closed with customers referred to them by the company.
Is Ideal Agent worth it?
Yes. Ideal Agent is free for buyers and sellers, and it provides a small commission discount for sellers. However, other services offer bigger savings, like a 1% commission rate.
What do Ideal Agent customer reviews and ratings say?
Most Ideal Agent reviews are positive. The company receives high marks overall for qualified real estate agents and customer service. Ideal Agent customer complaints focus on the lack of savings and number of agent matches.
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