By Connie Adair

News travels fast in the real estate industry, and when it’s good news, well, that’s good. Refery is a “refer, reward, repeat” program that its creators say rewards real estate professionals for their referrals to mortgage brokers. Refery was launched in June and 400 Realtors have already signed up after hearing about it mainly through word of mouth.

Refery offers a second income to agents for doing what they already do – look after their clients by referring them to mortgage providers, says Christopher MacNeil, founder and CEO of Refery (ree-furry), who has been in the mortgage industry for five years. Refery is a referral agency run by trained mortgage professionals.

Agents fill out a short online referral form. A Refery professional then reviews the referral and sends the application to three licensed mortgage professionals, who contact the clients directly. When the mortgage is in place, real estate agents receive their referral fee.

The new national program benefits clients by providing financing options, the company says. It also helps self-employed people and those who have credit issues and may have trouble getting a traditional mortgage. That opens up a whole new roster of clients for agent referrals, the company says.

What sets the program apart is its rewards. “For a broker arranging a $500,000 mortgage, the commission can range between $5,000 and $6,000, depending on the lender,” says a company news release. “With Refery, a real estate professional referring a borrower to a broker would earn 55 per cent of that commission, or close to $3,000 in rewards and cash back.”

MacNeil came up with the idea for Refery after dealing with a few clients who had been referred by their agents to a bank. When it came time to refinance, the clients found the costs to break the terms were too high so they couldn’t do it. What the clients needed were options, something mortgage brokers could offer, says MacNeil, who also realized agents were making referrals with little or no compensation. Refery was set up to be a win-win-win situation for all involved, he says.

Refery is client driven. “We would never put a client into a situation where it’s going to cost money for them to refinance. We offer so many products,” MacNeil says.

The company also offers an online platform, the first of its kind in the mortgage industry, he says.

At press time, 240 mortgage broker affiliates were registered with the program. It had 120 commitments with a total value of just less than $60 million, which equals just less than $300,000 in cash backs and rewards for agents, MacNeil says.

Refery’s goal is to register 5,000 agents. “We’re 10 per cent there, a robust start since the June launch,” he says.


  1. I personally find this kind of program is deplorable. To offer me payment for sending my clients to you? My Inspectors, Lawyers, Contractors etc all get sent business because they are great at what they do. And if everyone does their job, the home closes and everyone is renumerated fairly for their role. To suggest that a client benefits for me getting a referral fee from a 3rd party for recommending them is frankly insulting. How about you choose instead to take this extra money that is found in the mortgage process and invest it in Realtor relations, training and improving the client experience? I will always refer for 3 reasons: (1) I’ve used them (2) my clients have used them (3) trusted peers in the industry have used them. I will not refer because I get a kickback, legal or not it’s not in the best interests of the client. If you have extra money to pay out the client always pays. Always.

  2. Realtor fills out a form, is sent to 3 Mortgage Brokers to pitch to a client, and the ‘winner’ gives up over half of their commissions to work with that client? All of this before expected buydown of rates for client’s benefit, agent to brokerage splits, and other costs of course, which is not represented in the compensation model above. What cut does Refery take away from this?

    Would a Realtor also agree to the same referral fee if the situation was reversed?

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