These are companies, that collect money (many times illegally), take a cut and refer you to a broker in your state. The main problem for you as a customer, you do not get to ask questions or interview the broker before you pay. These referral companies are not interested in finding the best broker to serve you, they are ONLY interested in finding the cheapest broker to maximize their profit. They constantly search for different brokers that work cheap. In fact, they have an open bidding process to find the cheapest brokers and often the worst brokers to work with. These brokers, they refer you to, often provide terrible customer service and because they work so cheap, will try to up-sell you on many vital services or steal your buyer leads.
Many of these 3rd party referral sites are under investigation by the Real Commission due to their illegal practice of real estate. Agents are regulated by the commission and must have an active license to practice real estate. This is for consumer protection.
How do you know you are dealing with one of these 3rd party referral sites?
You should always call a company before you list and research who your listing broker will be. When you call, simply ask, are you my listing broker or will you be referring me out to some other broker?
What is a 3rd party referral site, and why you would NOT want to do business with one of these companies?
The BBB has in fact, revoked some these 3rd party referral site certifications, due to their terrible customer service.
Legitimate real estate companies are required by to put the listing broker on the real estate commission website. It is important, you know before paying, who your listing broker will be. It's the law!