💲 Listing Fee
2% ($3k minimum fee)
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Editor's Rating
3.5 out of 5
Ideal Agent can match you with a local realtor who sells a lot of homes. But although it pre-negotiates discounted listing fees, you can save twice as much with competitors like Clever.
- Agents in network must meet strict quality standards
- Pre-negotiated listing fees of 2% (or $3k for homes under $150,000)
- 2% listing fee is less than the national average, but it's not the best rate out there
- No built-in savings for buyers
- Only matches you with a single agent
Home sellers who live in or near a major city
Sellers who are looking for a real estate agent with a good sales record
Top-performing agents looking for high-quality leads
What is Ideal Agent?
Ideal Agent is an online service that can match you with a real estate agent for a discounted listing fee of 2%. That’s less than the average 2.5-3% traditional realtors typically charge. Ideal Agent claims it only works with agents who are the “top 1%” producers, in terms of sales volume, in their respective markets.
Like all agent matching services, Ideal Agent is free to use and there’s no obligation to work with any real estate agent the company matches you with. Reviews from past customers are mostly positive, and the reduced 2% listing fee saves you a bit of money when you sell your home. But those rates, while decent, are not the best in the business. Other top discount agents offer a similar service with even lower rates.
Most home sellers will find the best overall savings with Clever Real Estate — it offers almost the exact same service as Ideal Agent, but you'll pay a listing fee of just 1% and you'll get more agents to choose from.
✍️ Key takeaways
Bottom line: Is Ideal Agent right for you?
If you’re looking for the best agent and a competitive commission rate, Ideal Agent is worth considering, but most home sellers can probably do better with one of its competitors. Ideal Agent realtors are highly qualified, but they aren’t always local — which means they may not have experience in your neighborhood.
Other brands, like Clever Real Estate, maintain similar high quality standards for their agents, but also have much larger networks than Ideal Agent does. So you’re more likely to find the best agent with experience in your neighborhood and price range.
You will also save more money with some of Ideal Agent's competitors. With Clever, you'll pay just 1% in listing fees — half what Ideal Agent charges — and you’ll have more agents to pick from. Find a top realtor near you today and save thousands!
Full breakdown: Ideal Agent vs. top competitors
1% or $3,000
4.9 (1,995 reviews)
🥈 Ideal Agent
2% or $3,000
4.9 (5,842 reviews)
4.6 (5,093 reviews)
4.5 (642 reviews)
4.8 (2,940 reviews)
3.2 (5 reviews)
4.9 (1,357 reviews)
4.6 (330 reviews)
4.8 (551 reviews)
2.6 (16 reviews)
4.6 (3,655 reviews)
*Average UpNest listing fee. Actual rates vary.
Comparison shopping is the best way to find a top agent who will save you money and provide great service. Ideal Agent is one of the better realtor matching services, but it’s not the best. Here’s how it stacks up against the competition.
Agent quality is among the best in the industry
Ideal Agent compares favorably with its competitors when it comes to agent quality. It has high standards — especially in terms of sales — for the agents it works with and claims to reject 90% of agents who apply.
Some realtor matching services have much lower standards for its agents. HomeLight, for example, has limited screening criteria, which means that actual agent quality varies a lot. With Ideal Agent, there’s a much higher chance that whichever agent you get matched with is a top performer.
Ideal Agent is not the only realtor matching company that screens its agents, however. UpNest and Clever Real Estate also have strict performance standards that its agents must meet, so in our experience agent quality across all three platforms tends to be comparable.
Good agents don’t always translate to good matches
Ideal Agent has high quality standards for its agents, but competitors do a better job of matching home sellers with local agents who are a good fit for your unique situation.
The reason Ideal Agent can't always give customers a perfect agent match is that it has far fewer realtors in its network than its competitors do. For example, there are only about 2,000 Ideal Agent realtors, far short of the 14,000 UpNest has or the 70,000 that HomeLight boasts. Because of Ideal Agent’s smaller network, its agents are stretched thin over the entire country. It struggles more often than its competitors do when it comes to actually matching you with an agent in your area.
If Ideal Agent doesn’t have a local agent, then it could send you a realtor who looks good on paper but has limited experience in your market, as happened to our mystery shoppers. That’s a problem since local market knowledge is one of the most important skills a realtor should have. If the realtor the company sends you doesn’t have a ton of local knowledge, then you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Savings are mediocre compared to Clever
Ideal Agent’s 2% listing fee is good, but it’s not spectacular. It’s a bit lower than the 2.5-3% that is average for real estate agents, but falls short of what a number of competitors offer. We suggest you look at other companies that also offer 2% commission or, even better, 1% commission.
For example, Redfin’s standard listing fee is 1.5%, while Clever’s is 1%. That means you would save twice as much with Clever Real Estate as you would with Ideal Agent. Here’s how the savings break down between Clever, Ideal Agent, and a traditional agent on a $400,000 home:
*Assuming 5% total commission
Ideal Agent also offers zero discounts or savings for buyers, such as home buyer rebates. While relatively few agent matching services do offer buyer savings, you should be aware of the ones that do. Unlike Ideal Agent, both UpNest and Clever, for example, offer savings for eligible buyers.
If you’re looking to save money, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, your best choice will usually be Clever. The rates are twice as good as what Ideal Agent offers and you won’t be sacrificing quality since Clever agents are pre-vetted and come from major brokerages, like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. Get a free agent match today!
Who is Ideal Agent best for?
Ideal Agent is best if you’re looking to sell your house and you live in a major city. Ideal Agent does a good job screening agents, so whoever you get matched with will generally have a strong track record in terms of sales.
But if you don’t live in a city, you’re looking for savings, or you want the freedom of being able to compare different agents, we suggest looking elsewhere. Ideal Agent reviews online show that its partner agents are good, but it has way fewer of them than the competition does. So it’s harder to get matched with an agent who is a top local realtor.
And while you can also use Ideal Agent if you’re looking to buy a home, the agent matching company doesn’t offer any built-in benefits or savings for buyers. You’ll find more overall savings if you buy with a company that offers a rebate.
Whether you’re a seller or buyer, we always recommend checking out what the competition has to offer. Other agent matching services have thousands more agents than Ideal Agent does, while still maintaining high quality standards.
Plus, the savings on offer elsewhere are a lot better. For example, Clever offers a listing fee of 1%, compared with Ideal Agent’s 2%. That means you can save twice as much with Clever, while still getting matched with the best real estate agents in your area.
Our shopper’s ratings
We mystery shopped Ideal Agent — along with 10 other agent matching services — and graded different aspects of the service on a scale of one to five. We weighted agent quality the most heavily, while savings and customer experience we gave equal weight to.
Overall, we rated Ideal Agent 3.5/5, making it one of the better agent matching services. It performed best on agent screening and customer service, but fell short on ease-of-use, coverage, and savings.
Agent quality - 4/5
Agent Quality is the most important factor when grading a company that helps consumers find a local realtor. We grade agent quality on three criteria: Coverage (how widely available is it), Agent Screening and Qualifications (what performance requirements does it have for agents), and Agent Matching Service (how good is it at matching agents with your particular needs).
Coverage - 2/5
Ideal Agent’s network of qualified real estate agents is small, with just over 2,000 agents. Most other services have tens of thousands of agents. Since Ideal Agent operates nationwide, its agent network is stretched thin, which can have a negative impact on your experience.
For example, our mystery shoppers found that Ideal Agent sometimes didn’t have an agent available with local market experience. Instead, we were matched with an agent in a nearby city who had very few sales in our area.
If you are trying to sell in a big city, you probably won’t encounter too many problems getting matched with a top agent. But if you live in a smaller city or in a rural area, the chances of getting a good match are going to shrink.
Agent screening and qualifications - 5/5
Ideal Agent promises that all of its agents are among the best real estate agents in terms of sales in their local markets. We generally found this claim to be true, with Ideal Agent being more proactive about screening out agents that don’t meet their standards than some similar services.
Reviews from past customers also consistently praise the quality of the agent they got matched with.
The company claims that most of its agents are invited to join and that it turns down 90% of applicants. While we couldn’t verify whether that figure was true, it does align with the generally high quality of the agents we encountered through Ideal Agent.
Agent matching service - 2.5/5
The downside of screening out so many agents is that Ideal Agent doesn’t have a ton of agents to match you with. That means your agent match may not be great for you even if they’re a top performer otherwise. For example, if Ideal Agent matches you with a top agent in a city that’s an hour away from you, that doesn’t help you since that agent may have limited knowledge of your local market.
Also, unlike similar services, you’ll only get matched with one agent — again, likely a reflection of the fact that it has few agents overall. If you don’t want to deal with comparing multiple options, Ideal Agent is worth a look. While letting someone else choose your agent for you poses major risks — we definitely don’t recommend it — if you want to go this route, Ideal Agent’s agents are solid, so there’s a good chance your match will have experience in your area and know how to get your house sold.
Savings - 2.5/5
Ideal Agent pre-negotiates discounts with its real estate agents, so you pay a listing fee of 2% or $3,000 for homes under $150,000. The nationwide average is 2.5-3%. In a major purchase like a real estate transaction, even that seemingly small reduction could potentially save you a significant amount of money.
But while decent, those savings lag many of Ideal Agent’s competitors. Some brands offer listing fees as low as 1%.
Ideal Agent also doesn’t offer buyers any discounts that let you save money when you purchase a home. While few real estate brokerages offer buyer discounts, you should be aware that some companies offer home buyer refunds.
Customer experience - 3/5
Customer experience is based on two metrics: Customer service and ease-of-use. Customer service is a grade for how knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful the company's representatives are. Ease-of-use refers to how convenient and seamless its product is, including how easy it is to sign up and whether it offers an online dashboard.
Customer service - 5/5
All of Ideal Agent’s customer representatives are licensed realtors, which means they are legally able to provide real estate advice. Some other agent matching services don’t require their concierges be licensed, which limits the type of advice they can provide to consumers.
When we spoke to Ideal Agent’s concierges, they explained the process to us clearly and walked us through why they thought our matched agent was a good fit. They answered all of our questions and we came away better understanding the service.
We also liked that we got assigned just one concierge for the entire process. That concierge developed a strong understanding of our needs.
With some other companies, you may communicate with multiple representatives, which can lead to miscommunication or confusion.
Note, however, that Ideal Agent isn't the only realtor matching service to have a licensed concierge service. If getting expert service is important to you, other real estate companies, such as Clever, also offer licensed concierges.
Ease-of-use - 1/5
Unlike most similar companies, Ideal Agent offers no online customer dashboard where you can view your agent match and keep track of your real estate transactions. After you fill out Ideal Agent’s online form, all communication is by phone.
If you prefer communicating online, then this phone-first approach may be off-putting. Plus, it means you’ll only be able to get your agent matches during Ideal Agent’s operating hours.
While an online dashboard isn’t the most important consideration when finding an agent, it does make keeping your communications all in one place a lot easier than trying to stay on top of different texts, emails, and phone calls.
Ideal Agent pros and cons
Ideal Agent matches you with a qualified agent
Small agent network means some poor matches
Built-in savings help you save money (but not much)
You get matched with only one agent
Ideal Agent concierges are highly knowledgeable
Communication is mostly over the phone
Limited support or value for home buyers
- Ideal Agent claims that it works only with the top-performing agents in their local markets. We generally found this to be true, with our agent matches having plenty of experience and closings.
- You’ll pay a listing fee of 2% (or $3,000 for homes under $150,000). The nationwide average is 2.5-3%. You'll still have to pay the buyer’s agent commission on top of this, which is usually around 2.5-3%. So, the overall real estate commission will be 4.5-5% versus the industry average of 5-6%. Not bad, although other companies offer better rates.
- We found Ideal Agent’s concierge service helpful and friendly. Each concierge we spoke to was a licensed real estate agent, which means they can provide real estate advice and answer questions about the buying or selling process in detail.
- Ideal Agent has one of the smallest agent networks of any agent matching service, with just 2,000 agents. Other services have thousands or tens of thousands of agents. As a result, Ideal Agent's network is stretched thin, which may mean there are few — if any — agents in your area, especially if you don’t live in a big city.
- Ideal Agent only gives each customer one agent match, which is another drawback. Most similar companies usually suggest at least a couple agents to choose from. It’s important to interview multiple agents to make sure you’re getting the right one for you.
- Ideal Agent’s website and digital experience is lacking. Communication takes place mostly through phone and email, and to get your agent match you'll have to talk to an Ideal Agent representative on the phone. Unlike most competitors, Ideal Agent offers no online customer dashboard.
Ideal Agent reviews from actual customers
Reviews online are generally very positive and Ideal Agent is accredited by the BBB. We looked through hundreds of IdealAgent.com reviews to discover what real customers were saying. Here’s what we found.
Positive reviews: What customers liked
Positive Ideal Agent customer reviews brought up the high quality of the agents again and again. This likely reflects Ideal Agent’s excellent vetting process for agents, who need to be in the top 1% of sales volume locally or nationally and meet other performance criteria.
Customers also often liked how much they got for their homes on top of Ideal Agent’s discounted fee. Again, this is likely a reflection of agent quality. The best agents are often better at negotiating a higher sales price.
Customers were also usually happy with Ideal Agent’s concierge service. All of Ideal Agent’s concierges are fully licensed real estate agents, so they’re usually very good at providing expert advice to consumers. While a handful of other agent matching services, including Clever, also have licensed real estate concierges, most don’t. So kudos to Ideal Agent for adding this extra level of customer service.
Negative customer reviews and complaints
Most negative reviews include complaints that agents failed to meet expectations or that the company didn't even have a local agent available. This was something our mystery shoppers also found as they were occasionally matched with agents who had limited local real estate experience, despite having strong sales records otherwise.
We suspect the company's small network size is a reason why it's sometimes challenging to use Ideal Agent to find a good selling agent near you. With just 2,000 partner agents, Ideal Agent simply doesn’t have much availability in some local areas, especially outside of major cities.
One thing we were not impressed by was how Ideal Agent sometimes responded to negative reviews in an aggressive manner — even belittling dissatisfied customers — as they did here:
This is not how you should respond to negative feedback. It's overly defensive, unprofessional, and fails to address the consumers’ concerns. Even worse, it may discourage other people who had similar negative experiences from sharing them online.
How much does Ideal Agent cost?
Like all agent matching services, Ideal Agent is free to try and you are under no obligation to go with any agent it recommends. However, you will have to pay your agent a commission, just as you would if you found one on your own — and Ideal Agent’s discounted rates are lackluster compared with other discount real estate brands.
For home sellers, realtor fees typically consist of two parts: the listing fee, which goes to the seller’s agent, and the buyer’s agent commission. Both are typically around 2.5-3% of the home's sale price, so the seller pays a total commission of 5-6%.
💵 Why isn't the buyer's agent commission discounted?
Ideal Agent sets its buyer's agent commission at 2.5%, which is usually about what you'd pay if you went with an agent you found on your own. However, there's a good reason Ideal Agent doesn't discount its buyer's agent fee.
The buyer's agent gets paid through the buyer's agent commission. If your buyer's agent commission is lower than average, you disincentivize buyers' agents from showing your property. That could lead to fewer offers and a harder time finding a buyer.
In fact, if you live in a market where the average buyer's agent commission is higher than 2.5%, Ideal Agent's fixed 2.5% rate could put you at a competitive disadvantage. That lower rate could discourage agents from showing your house to potential buyers.
Ideal Agent pre-negotiates a slightly reduced listing fee with your seller’s agent of 2% or $3,000 for homes under $150,000.
IdealAgent.com savings calculator
You can use the calculator to see how much you would really save with Ideal Agent compared with a traditional realtor:
Keep in mind that you will still have to pay the full buyer’s agent commission, which Ideal Agent sets at a real estate industry standard 2.5%. That will likely add at least a few extra thousand dollars to the total commission.
Also, be aware that while the savings offered by Ideal Agent are good, other companies offer the same free service, but with much bigger discounts. With Clever, for example, the savings are twice as high and you still get a pre-vetted top local agent.
Is Ideal Agent legitimate?
Yes, Ideal Agent is a legitimate company with a nationwide network of top-performing full-service agents. The agent matching company is a licensed real estate brokerage in Florida, and it maintains an A+ accreditation with the Better Business Bureau.
Ideal Agent’s agent network is much smaller than most of its competitors, with just 2,000 agents. However, Ideal Agent’s vetting process for agents is strict, so its network size doesn't make Ideal Agent any less legitimate than its competitors.
But if you’re trying to buy or sell a home in a smaller market or rural area, Ideal Agent’s small network may be an issue. With fewer licensed agents available, you may have trouble getting matched with an agent through Ideal Agent.
Ideal Agent, at a glance
Ideal Agent BBB rating
Agent network size
How does Ideal Agent make money?
Ideal Agent makes money by taking a percentage of the real estate commission — what’s commonly known as a referral fee — when an agent closes a deal for one of its customers.
All agent matching services make money via referral fees; it's how they're able to provide their services to consumers for free.
In addition to its agent matching business, Ideal Agent also makes money from its additional services, including title transfer, insurance, and home services.
The truth about Ideal Agent: Should you use it?
Ideal Agent is worth considering, but it shouldn’t be the only discount real estate brand you look at. While Ideal Agent reviews demonstrate that the company can match you with a high-quality real estate agent, it offers less choice and built-in benefits than some of the alternatives.
What we like about Ideal Agent is that the agents they work with genuinely seem to be good at their jobs and their concierge service offers expert advice.
But Ideal Agent isn’t the best in the business. The savings for home sellers are good, but not spectacular. And while Ideal Agent has great agents, it doesn’t have very many of them. You’ll only get matched with one agent whereas other companies let you compare multiple agents. The more qualified agents you get to compare, the better, since that means you’re more likely to find the one who is right for you.
We recommend shopping around and finding an agent matching service that combines savings with a high-quality agent. At Clever, for example, you'll pay a low 1% listing fee to work with a top local realtor — that’s double the savings you’d get from Ideal Agent.
Alternatives to Ideal Agent include Redfin, Clever, and UpNest. Like Ideal Agent, they will match you with a real estate agent, although some offer better listing fees than Ideal Agent does. Learn more about the best low commission real estate brokers.
Ideal Agent's customer service and agents are generally high-quality . It will also save you a bit of money, although typically not as much as the competition. Ideal Agent is also much smaller than the competition and has limited coverage outside of major cities. Learn more about the best 2% commission realtors.
- Sign up by filling out an online form on IdealAgent.com, where you provide some details about your house sale like property type, estimated value, and timeline.
- You’ll receive a phone call from an Ideal Agent concierge, who will match you with a qualified agent and discuss that agent’s experience in your area.
- Ideal Agent will send your contact information to your matched listing agent, who will call or email to discuss your real estate needs.
- You can choose to sign a listing agreement with this agent or you’re free to walk away.
- If you sign with the agent, your Ideal Agent representative will check in via phone to see how the process is going.
There are some unusual things to note about how Ideal Agent works:
- Home buyers: Ideal Agent doesn't offer any buyer rebates or built-in savings when you purchase a home. Only home sellers can save money.
- Getting an agent match: Ideal Agent won’t match you with a licensed agent until you speak to its concierge over the phone. Most realtor matching services, in contrast, will make a match via text message, email, or via an online dashboard.
- Additional matches: If you’re not satisfied with your recommended agent, you can request an additional match. However, there's no guarantee you'll get one due to Ideal Agent’s limited number of partner agents.
Agents can close more deals by working with an agent matching service like Ideal Agent. Typically, agents spend lots of time and money on marketing to bring in new clients.
Ideal Agent finds clients for agents, which means agents save time and money that would otherwise go to marketing.
While agents make less on each individual client by working with Ideal Agent, they can increase their total number of clients, allowing them to close more deals in the long run. That’s why they’re willing to pay Ideal Agent a fee while also passing along some of their savings to you.
Ideal Agent is owned by Steve Johnston, who founded the company in 2016. He was previously the founder of Home Discovery Real Estate Services, a discount real estate brokerage that operated prior to the Great Recession.
Our team of mystery shoppers spent hundreds of hours testing Ideal Agent and 10 of its top competitors, including Clever Real Estate, HomeLight, and UpNest. We signed up for the real estate services using addresses from across the country, with a mix of suburban, urban, and rural locations and a variety of sale and purchase price ranges.
Using the data we compiled, we compared Ideal Agent with competitors across three categories: agent quality, savings, and customer service. We weighted agent quality most heavily, which covers factors like coverage, screening criteria, and the quality of agent matches with mystery shoppers. We assigned equal weight to the savings and customer service categories.
We update this and all of our real estate industry reviews regularly to ensure our ratings and recommendations are up to date.