Selection process

Agents cannot pay to join.

Becoming a Certified TopAgent™ is the result of a rigorous process designed to identify the top 1% of real estate agents across a range of specialties, languages, and neighborhoods. This process is driven by intensive research, the assessment of industry experts, peer recommendations, and client reviews.


Panel of experts

TopAgentGuide’s™ panel of experts is comprised of local real estate insiders who have been in the New York real estate business for decades. They have worked with thousands of agents, either as managers, clients, or counterparties. The panel consists of individuals from the real estate brokerage, relocation, appraisal, and investment businesses.

The panel’s primary responsibility is to review all agents nominated for Certified TopAgent™ status in order to verify that each has high service, professional, and ethical standards. The panel is also able to nominate agents, helping to insure that outstanding agents are not overlooked. Finally, the panel is an important source of “insider information” that allows us to make specific recommendations as to a given agent’s expertise and capabilities.

Peer recommendations

The peer recommendation process allows qualified agents to recommend other agents to be evaluated for Certified TopAgent™ status. In our experience, excellent agents with extensive market experience recognize other great agents and often build their own personal referral networks for areas and/or specialties that they don't cover. We plug into these networks, helping us to provide coverage across all neighborhoods, price-points, specialties, and languages.

Client reviews

TopAgentGuide™ collects only verified client reviews. Our review process does not allow random reviewers to sign on to the site and post reviews. Instead, we eliminate “review spam” by personally interviewing each reviewer, verifying the authenticity of each review in the process. When an agent is initially nominated for Certified TopAgent™ status, we collect the contact information of their recent clients and personally call each of them for a full review. Agents are graded on their professionalism, ethics, persistence, and market knowledge. Overall results and specific comments are posted on each agent’s profile page.

Reviews are added from two sources: 1) former clients of the agent that contact us and verify that they completed a real estate transaction with a Certified TopAgent™ and 2) every TopAgentGuide™ user is asked to support the community by submitting a review upon completion of a transaction with a Certified TopAgent™.

Agents that receive a larger than appropriate number of negative reviews are not certified. Further, Certified TopAgents™ that demonstrate a material decline in service quality are de-certified.

Final approval

In addition to being approved by our panel of experts and receiving strong recommendations from their peers and client, each agent nominated for Certified TopAgent™ status must:

  1. Work full-time as a real estate agent or broker
  2. Have done substantial business over multiple years (usually at least $5m/year)
  3. Have been in business for at least seven years (three years for “Rising Stars”)

The agents that pass our final screening process qualify as Certified TopAgents™. We do not accept any advertising fees, lead fees, or placement fees. We are paid the industry-standard referral fee by the agent only upon a successful closing.