A new mobile app aimed at helping real estate agents expand and organize their referral networks is also designed to boost referrals by getting agents involved in long-distance real estate deals earlier in the process.

The Piggy app is the brainchild of Gordon Wood, a Virginia real estate agent with 28 years of experience. Wood said he created the app to address the tendency of clients to ask agents to lend their expertise on long-distance real estate deals too late in the process for them claim a referral fee.

The iOS app — an Android version is on the way — creates a space for agents to manage, receive and send referrals, and to collect referral fees. The app also allows past clients to refer friends, family and colleagues to their preferred agents.

Piggy sets each agent up with a “commission pot,” where the fees that they earn from providing referrals or consulting are collected. Piggy receives a 10 percent processing fee on agent-to-agent referrals that lead to a sale. When past clients make referrals to preferred agents, they receive 100 “Piggy Points,” and the agent pays a $150 platform fee.

Agents can connect the commission pot to their brokerage or personal bank account to cash out on their earnings.

Wood says since the Piggy app launched this month, it’s helped him generate three referrals. He used to average less than one profitable referral each year. It wasn’t for lack of trying, Wood said, but because the referral process could be stilted and overly complicated.

Piggy was engineered by a Virginia-based tech company, Pinxter, which has created five apps in the the 16 months it’s been up and running.

Pinxter CEO Sergei Dubograev says he’s looking for ideas for apps that can help everyone negotiate their daily lives.

“Without Wood and his ideas for Piggy, the benefits it has for real estate agents would have never come to be,” Dubograev said. “You have to take someone who knows the industry and its problems like their own hand to make something that can help.”

Wood and Dubograev say the app is still in beta testing, and that they plan to fix bugs and improve the app’s interface based on users’ comments.

In the new year they hope to open the app up to service providers like mortgage lenders that agents and their clients trust.

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