Compare Nobul and Realtor.com Opcity

For Sellers

Referred Agents
0.2%
Home Sale Price
Nobul does not provide real estate services to home sellers. Instead, this company matches consumers with various real estate agents in exchange for a referral fee. Nobul results suffer from pay-to-play bias because the network does not match consumers with agents unwilling to pay a significant part of their commission to Nobul.

For Sellers

Referred Agents
30%-40%
Referral Fee
Realtor.com Opcity does not provide real estate services to home sellers. Instead, this company “sorts and matches” consumers with various real estate agents in exchange for an undisclosed referral fee; typically these fees are 25%-40% of the agent’s entire commission. Realtor.com Opcity results suffer from pay-to-play bias because the network does not match consumers with agents unwilling to pay 25%-40% of their commission to Realtor.com Opcity.

For Buyers

Referred Agents
0.2%
Home Sale Price
Nobul does not provide real estate services to home buyers. Instead, this company matches consumers with various real estate agents in exchange for a referral fee. Nobul results suffer from pay-to-play bias because the network does not match consumers with agents unwilling to pay a significant part of their commission to Nobul.

For Buyers

Referred Agents
30%-40%
Referral Fee
Realtor.com Opcity does not provide real estate services to home sellers. Instead, this company “sorts and matches” consumers with various real estate agents in exchange for an undisclosed referral fee; typically these fees are 30%-40% of the agent’s entire commission. Realtor.com Opcity results suffer from pay-to-play bias because the network does not match consumers with agents unwilling to pay 30%-40% of their commission to Realtor.com Opcity.
Question: What is the difference between Nobul and Realtor.com Opcity ?
Answer: Both Nobul and Realtor.com Opcity function as a referral fee network that does not provide real estate services.
Compare Nobul and Realtor.com Opcity for home buying and selling. HomeOpenly is an impartial and an open resource focused on trending real estate services, portals and start-ups.

First published: 05 April 2019
Last updated: 29 March 2020

Buying and Selling with Nobul

Nobul works as a referral fee network that collects pricing and services data from a limited pool of Referred Agents and sends it to consumers as non-binding proposals. Nobul operates as a licensed real estate brokerage in Canada, but it does not produce any services that are typically offered by real estate agents and does not represent consumers when buying or selling real estate in any State.

Nobul is also registered as a broker in Florida under license number CQ1056639 so that it is able to collect referral fees in the United States. When consumers submit information to Nobul, this information is simply sold to real estate agents who are willing to pay for it with a share of their commission. If an Agent does not want to pay a referral fee, the consumer will not see any proposals from them using the Nobul platform.

Nobul claims to provide savings, but consumers are likely to overpay for their Referred Agent's commission due to added mandatory platform fee.

Nobul Pricing

Nobul revenue comes from referral fees and sale of user data.

Listing Services

  • This Service Does Not Represent Sellers

Buyer's Agent Services

  • This Service Does Not Represent Buyers

Nobul Editor's Review:

Nobul is a referral fee network in business to collect fees for matching brokers with consumers. Referral fees are highly disadvantageous for real estate consumers because they must be accounted for with excessive real estate commissions. Nobul Service Terms state that: “In consideration of Nobul's Referrals pursuant to this Agreement, the Agent shall pay to Nobul, a referral fee (a “Referral Fee”) based on a percentage of revenue equal to 0.2% of the purchase price of the property purchased or sold. The Agent shall pay the Referral Fee to Nobul within ten (10) days following the closing date of the purchase or sale of the property.

One of the major expenses for real estate consumers, when buying or selling a home, is real estate service fees and closing costs associated with the purchase, or sale. Service fees and closing costs are, for the most part, a necessary expense. Real estate agents significantly help home buyers and sellers to navigate a complicated and competitive real estate process in exchange for a legitimate commission as a reward.

Other closing fees usually include required services such as property appraisals, inspections, title insurance, etc. – all in some way help to legitimize the sale and to manage risk. There can be much said with regards to managing closing costs by choosing a motivated competitive agent who is willing to offer a buyer’s refund or a competitive listing rate.

On the other hand, while claiming it saves money to consumers, Nobul simply adds referral fees into already a fee-ridden process – consumers experience false and fabricated savings in this model. In economics, this process is known as reverse competition, where consumers end up being "sold as leads" to Referred Agents.

The platform works with a limited pool of Referral Agents willing to pay a significant part of their commission to Nobul. This referral fee is back-loaded into Referred Agent's agreement, instead of being handed to the consumer directly. The consumer technically does not pay Nobul, but she ends up with a higher cost of commissions when working with their Referred Agent. Nobul is not a free platform, these fees are simply hidden inside the commission.

Let's say a real estate consumer, James, wants to hire a listing agent when selling a median-priced home for $250,000. A local competitive agent, Jill, offers James a 1.5% commission while helping him in this process. The estimated commission, in this case, is $3,750.

On the other hand, James also receives non-binding proposals using Nobul platform from Referred Agents with a referral fee attached to the back of every proposal. When James is faced with these types of proposals, results are quite different. Firmly assuming that the profit margins and service offerings remain the same for Jill and Referral Agents using Nobul, any possible buyer's refund offered by Referral Agents must be reduced to account for the Nobul referral fees.

The referral fee in this scenario estimated at $500 due to Nobul from a Referral Agent. With the profit margin fixed, the estimated commission Referral Agent may offer to James is now up by $500 set at $4,250. James just effectively paid Nobul $500 for a "service" that is supposed to be "free."

These fees significantly increase with the price of a home and damage quality of service the agent is willing to provide. One reason the amount of savings may ever be matched by Referred Agents versus Jill's competitive savings is due to broker-to-broker pricing collusion - if Referral Agent is willing to reduce their fee beyond market rates to compensate Nobul out of their own pocket, which is highly unlikely and unreasonable to assume. Because referral fees are pre-set between Nobul and Referral Agents in advance, the cost of the referral is easily incorporated with the excessive commission.

The reason we give Nobul a low score is due to exigent fees and the way these fees are structured. Nobul operates a Referral Network that commoditizes consumers as leads. With Nobul agents are forced to quote higher commissions due to added fees. The vast majority of competitive agents refuse to play this game and Nobul simply steers consumers toward a very limited pool of agents in its pay-to-play network.

As a licensed real estate agent that doesn't perform any real estate services, or takes any responsibility for the transaction, it's not entirely clear how this process works under the Business and Professions Code.

Should real estate agents distribute "bids" of other agents for a fee? If one to say that the referral fee is indeed necessary, why not structure it as an actual service fee that is properly charged, instead of having to be back-loaded into Referral Agent's agreement?

The answer is simple – if Nobul was to charge Agents for its service directly, no Agent would ever sign-up. Agents only sign-up with Nobul because the price of the referral fee can be easily incorporated into their client's agreement.

Nobul further violates the privacy of consumers because it requires Referred Agents to disclose major details about the actual home purchase or sale. Nobul states that: "The Agent shall maintain adequate records of all fees and commissions received from the Client and shall make such records available to Nobul at its request. Such records shall include copies of the applicable real estate association’s Listing Agreement, Agreement of Purchase and Sale, a statement of commission earnings and the Trade Record Sheet, as applicable."

Despite collecting the referral fee, Nobul takes absolutely no responsibility for the transaction and consumers to acknowledge and agree "that no employment, joint venture, partnership, or agency relationship exists between you and Nobul as a result of this Agreement or your use of our Services. We are solely independent contractors."

Nobul clearly doesn't provide any tangible value to the real estate consumers as a licensed real estate agent. Nobul further audits all transactions because it needs to find out how much money real estate agents receive in commissions, inevitably collecting private details of consumer’s agreement for home purchase or sale.

This effect is known as a “blind” match. Truly competitive agents who offer great savings to consumers can never use Nobul. For example, a highly competitive flat fee listing service has a set competitive price – they would never be able to pay an excessive fee amount to a third-party.

Nobul referral fee only works is with services who are silent on their commission – if a client comes directly to an agent, one price is given, if a client uses Nobul, another price is in play. We strongly believe that real estate consumers looking to buy or sell a home should always use 0% referral fee platforms in order to avoid paying a higher cost in commissions.

By using Nobul, consumers further encourage pay-to-play bias in a broken real estate industry.

Nobul Service Areas:

Canada, Florida

Buying and Selling with Realtor.com Opcity

Realtor.com Opcity is a referral fee network designed to collect fees by matching consumers with local real estate agents willing to participate. Opcity operates as a licensed real estate brokerage in Texas under TREC License # 9005100, but it does not produce any services that are typically offered by real estate agents and does not represent consumers when buying or selling real estate in any State.

When consumers submit information to Realtor.com Opcity, this information is simply sold to real estate agents who are willing to pay for it with 30%-40% share of their commission.

Realtor.com Opcity Pricing

Realtor.com Opcity revenue comes from referral fees and sale of user data.

Listing Services

  • This Service Does Not Represent Sellers

Buyer's Agent Services

  • This Service Does Not Represent Buyers

Realtor.com Opcity Editor's Review:

Opcity is a Texas licensed real estate broker that collects an undisclosed referral fee (estimated at 30%-40% of agent’s commission) from all real estate age. This fee makes it hardly a free service for anyone since referral fees are inevitably passed down to consumers.

More importantly, Opcity is a real estate agent that “does not engage in actual real estate broker services.” Opcity systematically applies pay-to-play bias towards all matching results, meaning, only real estate agents that have agreed to pay a referral fee are matched with consumers.

Opcity audits all transactions and requires agents to update the status of each transaction on continued the basis because it needs to find out how much money real estate agents receive in commissions and when these fees will be due, inevitably collecting private details of consumer’s agreement for home purchase or sale.

Opcity further calls it a "dispatch process that matches agents to available leads based on lead's proximity, lead's price points." The main qualification for real estate agents who participate with Opcity is their willingness to pay a referral fee. With Opcity is a subsidiary brokerage for Realtor.com, what used to be an independent MLS Aggregator, now is a middle-man broker.

Realtor.com had acquired Opcity in 2018, making this scheme one of the most scaled and damaging Referral Fee Networks in the United States. Realtor.com Opcity scheme is the low point of a transparent real estate process. From Opcity's own description of the service, the nature of the process could not be clearer: "We send a lead alert via text or mobile push notification to the agent 1st in the queue. That agent has approximately 5 seconds to click-to-claim the lead alert before the 2nd agent receives a lead alert and can also click-to-claim the lead. 5 seconds later, another agent is alerted, and so on."

In this process Opcity "qualifies" and "dispatches" consumers, where consumers are no longer in the driver's seat, but instead, are traded as a commodity.

Opcity plays fees down, claiming there are "no upfront costs" and does not publically disclose the exact amount of referral fees it charges each agent, but it rigidly locks every participating real estate agent into a referral fee attached to the back-end of every contract. As a licensed real estate agent that doesn’t perform any real estate services or takes any responsibility for the transaction, it is not entirely clear how this process works under the Business and Professions Code and RESPA.

Clearly, real estate agents only sign-up with Opcity because the price of the referral fee can be easily incorporated into their client's agreement with excessive commissions.

Opcity receives the lowest score because this service is clearly biased and it claims to provide the complete opposite of what it actually does. Realtor.com Opcity must be well aware of this issue but continues to operate on pay-to-play methodology in order to collect fees that needlessly make home buying and selling more expensive. As a matter of this review, it is impossible to segregate Realtor.com from Opcity - consumers should avoid using either service in order to protect their information from being "sold as leads" to random agents while being subjected with heavy referral fees.

Realtor.com Opcity Service Areas:

United States