It took four years and three developers, but real estate broker Ed DePrato’s vision of an all-in-one mobile app for real estate referrals is now a reality. DePrato, who runs the eight-agent firm YEGPro Realty in Alberta, Canada, built Real Referrals to streamline the process of vetting, securing and monitoring referrals for agents, mortgage brokers and property managers across North America.

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Takeaways:

  • Real Referrals has iOS and Android mobile apps that streamline the process of vetting, securing and monitoring referrals for agents, mortgage brokers and property managers across North America.
  • Real Referrals is free for real estate agents and brokers.
  • Other startups are piloting new ways to help agents connect with each other.

It took four years and three developers, but real estate broker Ed DePrato’s vision of an all-in-one mobile app for real estate referrals is now a reality.

DePrato, who runs the eight-agent firm YEGPro Realty in Alberta, Canada, built Real Referrals to streamline the process of vetting, securing and monitoring referrals for agents, mortgage brokers and property managers across North America.

Instead of diving into the Google rabbit hole to vet potential referral partners, emailing referral agreements back and forth, and tracking a deal through email, real estate agents can do everything they need to complete a referral using the firm’s iOS and Android mobile apps.

RealReferrals

As real estate plunges deeper into the digital era, other startups are piloting new ways to help agents connect with each other.

Launched last year, Balcony helps agents search for, rate and review referral partners, track deals, receive referrals and get paid. RESAAS, a real estate-focused social network designed to facilitate referrals between agents, now has over 300,000 users on its platform.

Another new firm handles the whole referral process for agents.

ReferralExchange gathers agents’ excess leads, scrubs them and then hands them off to agents in its network for a cut of the referral fee.

DePrato wants to help agents secure referrals from their kitchen table.

How it works

Agents, mortgage brokers and property managers activate their Real Referrals account by connecting it to their LinkedIn profile. Approximately 200 real estate pros have profiles on the app now.

Ed DePrato

Ed DePrato

That’s one way the firm makes sure it’s bringing only real estate pros into the network. In cases where it’s not clear, DePrato said the firm verifies professional identities on an individual basis.

Agents’ profiles feature their name, a photo, the name of their brokerage and a description of their real estate focus.

Agents can search for referral partners by name, map or access a list of “top” agents in a city, shown in groups of 10. The app ranks agents by how active they are and whether they invite others to use Real Referrals.

The latter feature is one way DePrato hopes to grow the app’s user count. Another is by marketing it to real estate agents and brokers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Agents can offer their referral up for “bid” to other agents on the platform. Agents interested in the potential client see whether they’re a buyer or seller, if the potential deal is worth over $1 million and other basic information.

Real Referrals has baked a standard referral agreement into its app that stipulates a default referral fee of 25 percent to the referring agent. But agents can customize that split as they wish, DePrato said.

Speaking of fees, agents pay no referral or setup costs to use Real Referrals. Instead, the firm plans to sell advertising to top producers and title, escrow and home inspectors. It’s also considering whether to license white-labeled versions of the app to brokerages.

The app includes a referral management platform that allows users to see all of their referrals in one place. Referring agents can request to receive updates from agents handling their clients every seven, 14 or 30 days.

DePrato has bootstrapped Real Referrals, but he says the firm is on the hunt for $300,000 funding from angel investors.

Email Paul Hagey.

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