Real Estate Agents Are an Underutilized Yet Amazing Source for Referrals & Connections
Updated: May 18
After being locked down for nearly a year, home means more than ever before. The pandemic has inspired more than 20% of adults in the U.S. to re-evaluate how they live and where they live. A whole swath of folks, parents with school-age children, older adults, and singles without attachments, are leaving their homes behind and moving to places unknown in search of a better quality of life.
Real estate agents connect individuals with their new homes. They also make many referrals, to attorneys, lenders, home inspectors, septic inspectors, contractors, etc., during and after the purchase process.
Real estate agent Betsy Reinert in Greenville, Delaware, spotted the Covid-related exodus when parents first started to realize that their kids wouldn’t be going back to school. She says that the pandemic has led her clients to make lifestyle changes. Homeowners aren’t just moving five miles down the road. They are moving across the country or, at the very least, to the suburbs.
And parents with kids aren’t the only ones looking to make a change.
Adults in retirement communities want out too! Once Covid struck, retirement communities enforced rules that prevented residents from leaving the grounds and even their homes. For many, this was too much to bear. They figured if they were going to be locked in, they might as well move closer to their children and grandchildren.
Realtor Juan Fuentes, also in Greenville, Delaware, agrees that buyers are flooding the local market. He says people are coming to Delaware from metro areas like New York, northern Jersey, and D.C., with their sights set on less populated areas.
So, if people across the country are taking part in a Covid-fueled migration, how are they connecting with the resources they need to make the move? What about once they get settled?
According to Fuentes, some home buyers are doing research online, finding a house they like, and reaching out directly to the listing broker to make their move.
Real estate agent Sueanne Sylvester of Mountain Lakes, N.J., notes that a growing number of real estate agents are making valuable referrals for their clients to trusted agents they know across the country. She networks with agents nationally in hot markets, resort and second home communities, retirement destinations, and island escapes, to refer buyers to knowledgeable agents who can provide the best service.
“Referrals are a smart business,” she says. Smart indeed. The referring real estate agent can earn a fee of 25% or more.
“But it’s about more than the commission. When you are vested in caring for a client and help them sell their home, you want to ensure that their next real estate experience is also positive. This is a relationship business.”
The referral to a real estate agent becomes the first of many. Once buyers get settled into a new home, they may need an array of professionals and service providers, everything from contractors to doctors to chimney sweeps.
Any number of apps can connect individuals with service providers in neighborhoods across the country. But I think the best referral comes from someone you know and trust, someone who is invested in your happiness: your real estate agent. Real estate agents know all of the best service providers in the communities where they work. In fact, they will tell you that it’s their job to know. And they want you to reach out to them when you need a referral.
“I’m a matchmaker for sure,” Fuentes says, adding that he’s happy to be a referral source for anyone who needs house-related services, whether they’re a client or not. “My business is all about making connections.”
People remember you when you make a great referral. Reinert relates that she has a large database of service providers. She says, “I want my clients to have a satisfying experience, so they refer me to their friends, family and coworkers.”
Real estate agents are a tremendous, if underutilized, resource. If you are looking for someone to fix your front walk, hang windows or clean out your closets, you should turn to your real estate agent. They are an excellent source of quality contacts. And, if you don’t have a relationship with a real estate agent, this may be a good time to make a connection.
If you are a real estate agent, consider a tool like Connector Street to:
Personalize your referrals
Make intros in the moment
Quantify the connections you make
Get visibility into team activity
Andrea Tinianow is a Delaware attorney and founder of the Connector Street app. Andrea is a frequent speaker and Forbes author on a range of topics related to making connections, innovation, blockchain technology and the law. Watch Andrea’s TedX talk on The Power of Making Connections or connect with her on LinkedIn.