Why become a referral agent?
Referral agents come from varied and unique backgrounds, but there’s one thing they all have in common: a desire to earn extra money doing something they love!
We see everyone from industry veterans winding down their career to newly minted real estate agents choosing to become referral agents. It’s also a great option for anyone looking to keep one foot in the business while pursuing another career or interests. If your other pursuits involve real estate in any way, becoming a referral agent would be a very clever way to increase your income.
Who can become a referral agent?
If you meet the minimum requirements for a real estate license in your state, YOU can become a referral agent at General Referral! In New Jersey, that means you must: (i) be at Least 18 years old, (ii) complete your required education, (iii) register for and pass the state licensing exam, (iv) get fingerprintied and obtain a sponsoring broker and (v) submit your license application to the state.
In fact, referrals from non-real estate agents can be sticky -- or possibly even illegal. That's why a licensed referral agent can be a significant resource. General Referral is a Real Estate Referral Company and we'd love to be your sponsor!
Will I need to change my license type to join General
Not necessarily. A handfull of states, like New Jersey, do have a special license type classification for referral agents (more on that below). Otherwise, you can join General Referral with your existing license!
In New Jersey, there were recent changes in the law which created two new license types and eliminated one. The "Referral Agent" license was replaced with "Salesperson (Referral)", and there is now a second license type that can be held at the brokerage level in addition to "Real Estate Compeny", called "Real Estate Referral Company". As General Referral is licensed in New Jersey under the new company classification, all New Jersey licensees under General Referral are classified as "Salesperson (Referral)", consistent with the law.
We put together a brief introduction to get you up to speed with the most important aspects of the new real estate licensing law.
How do I sign up?
Follow the simple steps on our Sign up Process page.
When do I get charged?
There are two types of scheduled charges all members will see: (i) GR Membership plans and (ii) State Fees. Members will receive invoice notifications and a receipt for all payments received.
When you initially complete the GR signup process, we immediately make a non-refundable charge to your payment method for all Plan and State fees calculated. If, for any reason, you are unable to forward any documents required for transferring your license, including terminating your license with your prior broker, this will not impact your GR anniversary date.
In addition, within 15 days of the anniversary date of your initial signup, we charge the payment method on file for your annual membership fee. Your plan can be changed for the following year, up to 20 days before your GR anniversary date, by logging into the member portal.
Upon signup, we calculate your state fees based on the information you provide. Initial fees often include a license transfer fee payable to the state by the broker.
Based on your circumstances, you may also see fees for license type change, license reactivation or license renewal. Consistent with regulations in your state, real estate agents are typically charged a license renewal fee of a set amount on a regular basis.
We never pad state fees. They are passed directly to the state once we collect them.
Are state license fees included in plan prices?
No, since these fees can vary depending on the circumstance, we decided it wouldn’t make sense to include those costs in the plans. However, during sign-up, you will see separate line items clearly identifying each state fee you are being charged. Those fees are collected from you by General Referral and passed along to the state.
Can I change my plan after I sign up?
You’re free to login and switch your plan for the following year at any time, up to 20 days before your GR anniversary date. Unfortunately, we don’t offer refunds or partial credit once you’ve made payment.
While we’re always sorry to see an agent leave, we love to be supportive, so don’t hesitate to bring us any questions about the next move for your license.
Are there additional features I can add to my plan?
We’ve got you covered. Marketing resources are available for all GR membership plans. We work with you to develop an outreach strategy that best achieves your objectives.
What happens after I choose a plan and make payment?
Once payment is made, you are redirected to our page clearly describing any next steps you will take. The great thing is that everything can be done online.
Depending on your circumstances, any necessary paperwork can be sent to you for electronic signature. For actively licensed agents, we’ll also send you an email template for requesting termination from your current broker.
What’s your satisfaction guarantee? Can I leave GR if I’m
We're so confident you'll be delighted with our services, at any time, if you choose to leave GR for another referral company because you're unsatisfied, we'll cover your real estate license transfer fee!
What are my next steps after signing up with GR?
Depending on your situation, there are a few easy steps to complete after sign up. For a detailed breakdown, see our "Next Steps" page.
Once your license transfer is complete, you can start earning extra income with General Referral immediately!
Are there hidden fees? This looks too easy!
Not from General Referral. Make sure you understand how your commission is calculated, sometimes it can seem complicated, but the fee you will see, outside of your membership, is only applied when you complete a transaction. If you opt to have General Referral manage the referral we take 5% from the negotiated referral fee, otherwise, you keep it.
You are probably already aware, but the State charges fees that are required to maintain your license status. General Referral never pads these fees, we just pass them along to the state.
Are there any discounts available?
While we have offered discounts in the past, there are no plans for future offers. You can check out our current offers.
For existing members, we always have two offers available: (i) receive a one year credit for each new agent you help us recruit and (ii) we waive your membership fee for the following year every time you refer three closed deals in the current period.
Manage your Membership
Can I switch my plan midyear?
Great question! Answer: Not for the current year, but there are no restrictions on changing your plan for the following year (up to 20 days before your GR anniversary date).
How do I change / manage my membership plan?
Simply login to the payment portal and make your changes. Have questions? Reach out to us anytime!
What happens when my GR membership comes up for renewal?
As long as your payment info is up to date, we automatically notify you in advance and charge your payment method on the renewal date.
We also comply with all state laws that require us to conduct reviews or submit annual paperwork. This can usually be completed via text or email.
My payment was rejected, what can I do?
Update your information in our system and send us a note. Occasionally this happens, that’s why we always send out a notice when a payment is coming due. Typically, there’s an additional notice sent if there’s a problem with your payment information.
If your GR membership is unrenewed by the renewal date, we provide a 30 day minimum window to reactivate your membership with GR. There is an additional fee for reactivating an expired membership.
How do I cancel my plan?
We make it really easy to canel your plan. Simply sign-in to the member portal (click the member sign-in link at the bottom of the any page on our website), "Edit" your plan and select cancel. This will prevent any further charges to your account.
If you would also like us to terminate your license associated with GR before the end of your plan renewal date, Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request immediate termination of your license.
Unfortunately, we are not able to issue partial credit or refunds, but we can assure that you will not be charged going forward. While we would be sorry to see you go, if there are any questions about your license going forward, we are happy to help you think through your options.
Do you offer performance incentives?
Yes! Existing members always have two offers available: (i) receive a one year credit for each new agent you help us recruit and (ii) we waive your membership fee for the following year every time you refer three closed deals in the current period.
Will I have the option to join an MLS?
No, but you also avoid the costs, which can run northof $2,000 per year. That said, we know how useful the MLS can be, so if online portals, such as Zillow, don’t meet your needs, we suggest exploring how a partnership with a full-time agent can put your referral business in overdrive.
What are my support options?
If you have questions during sign-up or about choosing a plan, Feel free to reach out by chat, email or phone.
For members, your support options vary based on your plan. Every plan includes the option to contact us online by chat or email. Essentials plan members also have the option of scheduling a block of time for a support call. Professional plan members can get support using any of these methods, plus they have the option to call General Referral during business hours for phone support.
Is there a minimum number of referrals I'm required to complete?
Other referral agencies set minimum production standards. General Referral does not.
Our purpose is to offer referral agents simplicity, not to add stress.
Preparing for Launch
What minimum level of car insurance will I need?
For GR, there is no minimum coverage requirement!
What’s the cost for Errors and Omissions insurance?
$0. As referral agents, our transactions primarily take place in an agent-to-agent (B2B) context and no agency relationship is ever created with a member of the public.
Is there a required Board or MLS membership?
No, it’s one of many reasons a referral agent license is a great option.
How much is a referral worth?
Short answer: it depends on how likely it is a transaction takes place and the potential commission at stake, but typically, it should be 20% to 25% after the GR transaction fee or 25% to 30% on referrals you manage.
Most folks will tell you that market rate is somewhere in the range of 20% to 35%. At GR we put the floor at 25%. Depending on the viability of the referral, you could see 25% to 30%.
What is the GR transaction fee?
We receive a fee of 5% on all referrals that we manage. GR members can always identify, negotiate and place their referrals to avoid that fee.
How do I find referral leads?
Friends, family, coworkers and your local networks are a great source of leads. The great thing about having your license with General Referral is that you can be as aggressive as you’re comfortable with when it comes to finding opportunities. We’re currently developing internal lead generation data which will be used to assist agents who are interested in developing more business.
What are some proactive ways to develop referral leads?
Social media, farming neighborhoods, contacting FSBOs and expired listings are all proven tactics, but you are free to get creative.
Regardless of your tactics, there are two critical rules you must follow: (i) never suggest or imply that you are actively selling or listing homes, be clear about your limited role. (ii) Always ensure you are complying with local, state and federal laws regarding phone, email and other methods of solicitation.
Do I select who receives my referral?
Absolutely! In fact, it's your choice. GR can also assign the client referral to a professional in our global network of highly qualified & pre-vetted agents.
A couple of caveats: (i) if you are selecting an agent, they must complete our Partner Agent Program form. Once a Partner Agent completes the form, GR reaches our to the agent and their broker to establish the referral relationship. (ii) While you may select an agent for your referral, the ultimate decision to approve the Partner Agent is at GR's discretion. All referral placements must be completed through GR. (iii) When placing a referral, never limit your client to a single option. It's important to offer introductions to at least two Partner Agents – preferrably three. (iv) Referrals placed by GR are subject to our 5% referral management fee.
Whenever you need it, we’re here to help, guide & happy to answer any questions. The bottom-line is that the person you are referring has trusted you to guide them & we feel it’s important that you own the relationship.
Can I refer a client moving to another state?
Absolutely! General Referral is able to refer clients almost anywhere in the world through our network of highly qualified real estate professionals.
What types of transactions can I refer?
Short answer: any real estate related transaction that pays out a commission upon success.
Residential sale and purchase referrals are quite common, commercial real estate referral rates can vary and residential rentals rarely pay out a referral, due to the relatively small commissions at stake.
Can I earn a referral fee when I personally buy or sell a
Sure thing! As a General Referral member, simply place yourself as the referral and earn your commission once your transaction closes. You are not required to refer a personal transaction, but you have the option.
As a referral agent, how do I pitch my services to a buyer or
After learning about their property needs, tell them you are a "[State] Salesperson Licensed with a Real Estate Referral Company". Rather than maintaining an active role, you have opted to use your experience and relationships to connect buyers and sellers with the agents best positioned to help them succeed. Before they throw their wallet at you, it's mandatory to obtain their permission to refer them to a third party.
For specific details on collecting a client's information, please see our referral submission form.
What’s the process for submitting a referral?
If you would like a full description, check out our “Referral Process” page. In short, you submit your referral online to GR. We send it out to your chosen partner agent or we can find a good fit in our agent network. When the transaction closes, you submit your commission invoice and we send you an electronic payment, calculated based on your plan.
What's my role once my referral has been submitted?
Follow up. This is your relationship. After your referral has been introduced to the various Partner Agents, you should be checking in with both client and agent for updates and feedback. If, for any reason, the client is unhappy with the options presented, always have backup agents you can recommend. It's also important to learn from the experience our Partner Agent had interacting with your referral client.
GR is always available to step into this role if you are not in a position to maintain contact with parties. However, this does introduce the referral management fee.
What's my role once my referral has been placed?
Follow through. Once the referral has selected the agent they will be working with, you should be scheduling regular check-ins with both client and agent. Was there an open house? What was the foot traffic like? Did the buyer referral receive a mortgage pre-approval (this could be an opportunity for additional income, so contact GR support for assistance)? What are the roadblocks and how can I help?
As always, GR is available to step into this role if you are not in a position to maintain contact with parties. However, this does introduce the referral management fee.
How do I get paid my referral commission?
Once the referral you submit closes a transaction, simply submit your commission invoice and proof of closing. Then, we verify the funds have cleared and process your payment. Next, you'll receive an email notification with instructions on how to accept your payment electronically, directly into your bank account.
Does NJ impose any restrictions on referral activities?
In most cases, you are subject to the same rules as every other licensed agent.
Due to the “Referral Agent” license type in New Jersey, there are special limitations imposed.
I just passed my real estate exam. Can I choose to become a
referral agent instead of a salesperson?
Yes! A referral license can be a great choice for new agents. The ability to earn commissions in a low-cost, low-time commitment environment is a clever path to develop the knowledge and experience needed for a long, fulfilling real estate career.
Newly licensed real estate agents will have a slightly different signup process. Your best bet is to complete the signup form, submit your payment and send us the required paperwork. Don't hestitate to get in touch so we can walk you through the steps. In short, you will need to mail your exam pass notice, fingerprint form and signed fingerprint receipt.
As of 2019, New Jersey has passed a new law that changes some of the terminology around "Referral Agent", so you may also see "Salesperson Licensed With Real Estate Referral Company" ("SLWRERC" for short), which essentially means the same thing. But don't worry, General Referral is a Real Estate Referral Company!
I currently hold a salesperson or broker-salesperson license.
How can I change my license type to referral agent in NJ?
Licensees who wish to change their license type from broker-salesperson to referral agent can do so immediately by joining GR. As of 2019, A salesperson is no longer required to change their license type, simply join a real estate referral company like General Referral!
The NJ fee to change your broker-salesperson license to a referral agent is $50, regardless of whether your license is presently in inactive or active status. The NJ fee to transfer an active license to General Referral is $25.
How will you handle my State License Renewals?
Part of the contract you have with GR directs us to debit your payment method to cover all applicable state fees, payable by the broker during the term of your membership, including renewals. Some plans or offers may include your renewal fee & some states may collect this fee directly from the agent.
What important dates should I be aware of for my state?
Renewal deadline: June 30th, every odd numbered year.
Reinstatement deadline: Must occur by the end of the biennial following your inactive date.
Renewal deadline: Every two years from the date you were initially licensed, you will receive notice three months in advance.
Reinstatement deadline: You must reinstate within two years of your license becoming inactive.
Failure to reinstate, will result in permanent termination of your real estate license. If you wish to become active after your "Reinstate by" date, you will need to complete all courses and tests that every new agent completes.
- What are the ongoing charges from the State for my license?
How can I verify my current license status in New Jersey?
Licensees and the general public may access the “NJ Licensee Search”.
What is required to reinstate my license in NJ?
We can help! In addition to signing up with General Referral, you will also need to complete a qualifying questionnaire.
If you currently hold an inactive license, it will expire upon the "Reinstate by" date displayed in the state licensee database. If your license went inactive during the prior biennial renewal period, you will need to reinstate. If the "Reinstate by" date has passed, you will need to begin the licensing process from scratch.
The state charges a license reinstatement fee of $150 for a salesperson or referral license & $250 for a broker-salesperson. If you were previously not a salesperson or referral agent, there is an additional license type change fee of $50.
My license is inactive. How can I reactivate it as a referral
agent with General Referral?
Depending on how long your license has been inactive, there are two possible directions we can take...
If your license was last active as a salesperson or referral agent during the current biennial term, you can reactivate it with GR. The state will charge a $25 transfer fee.
If your referral agent license was last active in the previous biennial period, we will need to reinstate your license. The state charges a $150 reinstatement fee for a salesperson or referral license & $250 for a broker-salesperson.
If you were previously not a salesperson or referral agent, there is an additional license type change fee of $50.
Licenses last active in an earlier biennial period may not be reinstated and must complete all education, pass the exams and reapply for licensure.
What is a biennial period in New Jersey?
New Jersey real estate licenses expire every odd numbered year on June 30th & must be renewed to remain active. A biennial begins July 1st of each odd numbered year, and ends June 30th of the next odd numbered year (a two year period). For example, July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021 is one biennial cycle.
Are there other State requirements I should be aware of?
Almost certainly. Each state varies, but each one charges licensees a renewal fee, typically on a two year cycle. With only a few exceptions, states also impose continuing education requirements on real estate licensees.
New Jersey is one of the few states with no CE requirements for licensed Referral Agents. You can read more on the official NJ Referral Agent Licensing FAQ page.
What happens if I move out of the state where my license is
You keep your license, keep your General Referral membership and continue making referrals when an opportunity arises. Our agent network is global, so there’s never a place we can’t help a referral. If you’re relocating, it can be a great opportunity to use your personal network to help other individuals moving to the area.