HomeLight reviews | How does HomeLight work? | HomeLight alternatives | HomeLight Simple Sale | FAQ
HomeLight reviews summary
HomeLight has largely positive online reviews, with a 4.5/5 rating based on 642 reviews. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives HomeLight an A rating, with a 3.9/5 customer score, but the company isn’t accredited by the BBB.
Our review of HomeLight gives the company high marks for the convenient, automated agent matching platform. We also note that HomeLight’s sizable agent network is a plus, but there doesn’t seem to be any quality criteria for realtors to meet, like other agent matching services use. HomeLight also doesn’t offer any cost savings through using its platform like some of its competitors.
We recognize positive aspects of HomeLight and regard it as a legitimate company. But overall, we consider other competitors to be better options for buyers and sellers.
Our #1 HomeLight alternative
Our top recommendation for agent matching is Clever Real Estate. Clever delivers the same free service as HomeLight, matching you with top local agents from name brand agencies like Berkshire Hathaway and Keller Williams.
What sets Clever apart is that it also pre-negotiates big savings on your behalf. Sellers can list their homes with a top local agent for just 1.5% commission — a fraction of the 2.5–3% listing fee most HomeLight agents charge. Buyers can also earn cash back on their home purchase after closing.
💰 Find top local agents, get a 1.5% listing fee with Clever!
What is HomeLight?
HomeLight is an online real estate company that offers a variety of services to home buyers, home sellers, and real estate agents. Its core offering is its agent matching service that pairs you with a realtor in your local area if you’re buying or selling a home.
Like all agent matching services, HomeLight is free and there’s no obligation to use the service once you’ve signed up. But you still need to pay realtor commission fees. Unlike its top competitors, HomeLight offers zero discounts on realtor commission — so you pay the same as you would if you found an agent on your own.
- HomeLight’s agent matching service gives buyers and sellers a fast and easy way to connect with a local realtor.
- As one of the largest services of its kind, HomeLight presents customers with more options, especially in smaller towns and rural areas.
- Customers generally like the service; HomeLight’s online reviews average 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- HomeLight’s agent matching process is mostly automated. Matches come fast, but the company’s reliance on technology may lead to poor matches.
- Some HomeLight competitors provide more value for buyers and sellers with built-in commission savings and cash back incentives.
How does HomeLight work?
Signing up for HomeLight’s agent matching service is relatively easy — you simply fill out a form on the company’s website.
If you’re looking for an agent to help you sell your home, HomeLight will ask for information about your home, like the address, type of property, estimated value, and timing of the sale.
If you’re looking for an agent to help you buy a home, you’ll need to provide the area you’re targeting, type of property you’re interested in, lender, pre-approval status, and other related information.
After entering this information, HomeLight directs you to a customer dashboard where you can immediately view agent matches. These matches populate automatically, based on the company’s algorithm.
You can easily read important details about your agent matches in the dashboard, including the number of homes they’ve sold in your area, where those homes are located (via an interactive map), how long the agent has been in business, and any of the agent’s notable achievements and specialties.
A few minutes after you receive your agent matches, a HomeLight concierge will reach out to you via phone, email, and a message in your dashboard. Your agent matches will also begin to call you.
📌 Important Note
One of our mystery shoppers didn’t hear from any of their HomeLight agent matches. The shopper’s home was valued below the median home price in the area. We’re not sure if the agents in the area weren’t interested in working with someone who would net them a smaller paycheck or if HomeLight’s system glitched.
If you don’t like the initial three agent matches HomeLight provides, click a button on your customer dashboard to request more agents. Immediately, HomeLight will provide two more agents to consider.
You can also speak to your HomeLight concierge to request more options. Since a conversation can yield more nuanced information about your personal situation, the concierge may be able to assign you better agent matches based on their expertise and your unique needs.
Once you review and interview your agent matches, you can choose to work with one or simply walk away. There’s no obligation to work with a HomeLight agent.
What is HomeLight Simple Sale?
HomeLight Simple Sale — sometimes called HomeLight cash offers — connects sellers with property investors and flippers who pay cash for homes. HomeLight Simple Sale is a way for you to sell your home fast, but your cash offers are usually a lot less than you’d get on the open market.
HomeLight takes bids from its investor network, which it presents to you within 48 hours of signing up. You don’t have to accept a bid. But if you do, closing goes fast — cash deals can often close in less than two weeks.
Because it moves quickly, Simple Sale may be worth considering if you are:
- Selling a distressed property
- In distressing personal circumstances and need cash fast
- In a rush and the typical transaction timeline of multiple weeks of showings followed by a 30-day close won’t work
For most sellers, however, HomeLight Simple Sale isn’t a good option. Like other companies that buy houses for cash, sellers typically receive 30–50% less than what their homes would sell for on the open market.
In our mystery shoppers’ experience, HomeLight also estimated a much higher sale price (by $10,000!) than a Simple Sale investor actually offered for their property. So don’t get too excited by HomeLight’s seemingly high estimates — you may be disappointed with the actual offer.
If you’re looking to sell for the best price, HomeLight Simple Sale is not the way to go. The estimate is created using an automated valuation model and available public records, not actual knowledge of your local market.
We recommend Clever Offers. This free service will will match you with a top local realtor, who will help you screen and compare offers from top local cash home buyers. A free professional home valuation also comes with the service, so you can compare cash offers with your home’s market value.
Top HomeLight alternatives in 2023
|Company||Listing fee||Buyer rebate*|
|Clever||1.5% (min. $3,000)||$250–500|
|Ideal Agent||2% (min. $3,000)||None|
|UpNest||Varies. 2.2% on average.||Varies (usually 0.3–0.75% of the sale price)|
|Agent Pronto||Market rate (2.5–3%)||None|
|Dave Ramsey ELP Realtor||Market rate (2.5–3%)||None|
|FastExpert||Market rate (2.5–3%)||None|
|MyAgentFinder||Market rate (2.5–3%)||None|
|Sold.com||Market rate (2.5–3%)||None|
|TopAgentsRanked||Market rate (2.5–3%)||None|
While HomeLight is the largest agent matching service, it’s not necessarily the best. We mystery shopped HomeLight and 10 other agent matching services to find out how they all stack up. Here are three that we think are especially good alternatives.
Clever Real Estate
Clever Real EstateTRY CLEVER NOW
- List for 1.5% (min. $3,000)
- Cash back for buyers
- Helpful, licensed Concierge
Clever is a free, no-obligation service that matches home sellers and buyers with top-rated, local real estate agents nationwide. Unlike most of its competitors, Clever pre-negotiates big discounts with its agent network, so customers land major savings! Sellers can save up to 50% on listing fees. Buyers can also qualify for cash back after closing on their purchase.
- Partners with full-service agents from top brokerages like Century 21 and RE/MAX
- Provides multiple agent matches so you can compare and choose the best fit
- Pre-negotiates low rates with agent network
- As with most agent matching services, customers may have fewer agent options in certain rural areas
- Sellers who are looking for top local real estate agents at the best rates.
- Buyers who want a great agent while also potentially saving money.
6358 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Like HomeLight, Clever is a free service that connects you with top local real estate agents. Overall, we think you’ll get better service and much better savings with Clever than you would with HomeLight, while still getting a top local agent.
The savings Clever offers are some of the best in the industry. Clever pre-negotiates commission discounts with the agents in its network, whereas HomeLight doesn’t offer any savings. Clever’s agents will list your home for 1.5% commission — way less than the 2.5–3% you’ll likely find on HomeLight. It also gives eligible buyers cash back after closing.
And Clever partner agents are top quality. They come from the same name brand brokerages that HomeLight partner agents come from — including top brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. This means you’ll get guaranteed full-service throughout your sale.
In other words, Clever and HomeLight can both help you find a top local agent and negotiate the best possible sale. The only difference is Clever lets you do it for a fraction of the price — keeping thousands more in your pocket at closing.
As seen on TV
Ideal AgentFULL REVIEW
- List for 2%
- Limited agent network
- Licensed, helpful Concierge
Ideal Agent can match you with a top-rated local realtor who has agreed to offer full service for a discounted 2% listing fee. Ideal Agent has strict standards for its agent network, claiming it only works with agents whose sales numbers are in the top 1% of their local markets. Notably, Ideal Agent only provides customers with one agent match, so if comparing options is important to you, it might not be a good choice. And while it does offer built-in savings for sellers, they’re not as significant as those offered by some top competitors, like Clever.
- Offers some built-in savings for home sellers
- Sets high performance standards for its agent network
- Offers a discounted 2.5% buyer’s agent commission, which might disincentivize realtors from showing your home to clients
- Only matches you with one agent
- Its limited network size may mean spotty coverage in smaller towns and rural areas
Sellers who live in a major metropolitan area, don’t want to spend time comparing agents, and would like some savings.
802 E. Whiting St.
Tampa, FL 33602
Ideal Agent is another agent matching service that offers sellers discounted commission rates, although the savings aren’t that impressive. You’ll get a listing fee of 2% versus the 2.5–3% that’s typical on HomeLight.
Unlike HomeLight, Ideal Agent’s customer support representatives are fully licensed real estate professionals and are generally highly knowledgeable about real estate. They can answer most questions you have about your transaction specifically or about selling a house generally.
However, Ideal Agent also differs from HomeLight in that it provides only a single agent match. Ideal Agent claims that this is because it only works with the best real estate agents in each market, but as we explain in our full Ideal Agent review, we still think you should compare at least two to three agents before choosing who to work with.
» MORE: Read our comprehensive Ideal Agent review
Real estate agent marketplace
- Agents compete for your business
- Potential commission discount
- May offer buyer rebate
UpNest calls itself a “real estate agent marketplace” because agents compete for your business through its platform. After you sign up on UpNest’s website, local agents will submit proposals for you to review. Because they’re competing with one another, they’re incentivized to lower their rates to make their proposals more attractive. While this may drive savings, they may not be significant — particularly in less competitive markets. And unlike some other brands, the savings aren’t actually guaranteed.
- Agents compete for your business, which can drive savings
- Platform allows customers to easily shop around for the best agent match
- Discounts are not guaranteed and may be minimal
- Sellers who are looking for a good agent and aren’t concerned about savings or customer service.
- Eligible buyers who are looking to potentially lower their closing costs
3 E. Third Ave., Ste. 200
San Mateo, CA 94401
UpNest is an agent matching service that claims to be a real estate agent marketplace, where local realtors submit proposals to compete for your business. But these will be boilerplate proposals, unlike the customized proposals based on your property that a full-service agent will provide.
In theory, that competition incentivizes agents to offer lower commission fees. Some agents may quote you a lower commission rate to make their proposal more enticing.
Our testers found the UpNest customer dashboard intuitive and helpful, and agent matches arrived within an hour. The matches were generally solid, with agents having good track records and experience based on the information we submitted.
But as we explain in our full UpNest review, the savings are usually minimal, with most UpNest agents charging listing fees of 2–2.5% — only slightly less than the average realtor fee in most states. Other agent matching services, like Clever, offer larger discounts, plus they guarantee you’ll pay the same low rate no matter where you are or which agent you choose.
» MORE: Read our full UpNest review
HomeLight reviews: Major benefits and drawbacks
HomeLight’s reviews online are mostly positive, with an average customer rating of 4.5/5 based on 642 total reviews.
When it comes to sheer speed and convenience, HomeLight is best in class.
HomeLight’s fully automated agent matching process means you can use the service whenever is most convenient for you — not just during regular business hours.
HomeLight’s matches come through instantly. And with the click of a button, you can request additional matches, which also come through instantly.
Many of HomeLight’s competitors provide a match only after you speak to a customer service rep on the phone. That means if you initiate the process outside of regular business hours, you may have to wait until the next morning to hear back from anyone.
📌 A note about data privacy
Many online complaints about HomeLight suggest the company sells customer data to third parties, as users noted an uptick in spam and unsolicited phone calls after signing up with the service.
Our mystery shoppers didn’t experience this. Any calls or emails they received were exclusively from HomeLight or agents the company matched them with.
Since HomeLight matches customers with a high volume of agents compared to its competitors, the surge in emails you’ll notice is probably just from your matches.
Ignore these messages if you want to. But if red notification bubbles stress you out, you may want to choose a different agent matching service.
Here’s what else we found about HomeLight’s pros and cons:
✅ Plenty of agents to choose from
HomeLight provides three agent matches right off the bat. You can easily interview and compare multiple options, which we recommend when shopping for the right real estate agent. The service also makes it simple to get more matches if you don’t like the ones initially provided — you just press a button and two more agent matches appear.
Additionally, HomeLight facilitates comparison shopping by giving you information about each agent in its dashboard, including their specialties, sales statistics, and qualifications.
Reviewers also appreciate the ample selection of agents.
When you work with an agent matching service, it’s always a good idea to Google your agent matches before setting up an interview to verify they’re legit. HomeLight, unfortunately, provides only the first name and last initial for its agents, which makes it a little harder to look them up. Most of HomeLight’s competitors provide full names and contact info up front for all agent matches.
✍️ Editor’s Note
HomeLight previously listed the size of its agent network on its website as 70,000. In the spring of 2021, the company changed that number to 28,000. This figure remains on the site as of early 2023. Despite multiple efforts to reach HomeLight, we were unable to confirm the reason for this drastic reduction and how it may impact customers.
✅ Thorough agent coverage outside of major metros
HomeLight seems to have better coverage in smaller towns and rural areas compared to some of its competitors. This is likely a reflection of its large network.
However, since the company’s algorithm prioritizes number of sales, small-town customers may get some matches from a large nearby city instead of agents in their area, simply because fewer sales happen in less populated markets.
Given the abundance of matches HomeLight provides, you can usually weed out the agents outside your town if you prefer working with someone closer to home who has a deep knowledge of your neighborhood and its market dynamics.
Some customers appreciate the localized expertise of their HomeLight agents.
✅ Technology streamlines the user experience
HomeLight’s dashboard is easy to use and helpful for comparing options. It lists your matches plus useful background information for each agent to help you decide which is the best fit. You can reach the company or one of your matches directly through the dashboard, which also tracks all communication between you, HomeLight, and your agent matches.
Some agent matching services don’t have a dashboard with customized information like HomeLight’s. Instead, they provide agent matches and communicate with you by phone, text, and email. Receiving messages from the company through these disparate channels often becomes confusing, especially when agent matches are also reaching out.
Customers welcome this organized space to manage the agent selection process. They also appreciate HomeLight’s speed at facilitating matches.
⚠️ Automated agent matching process is fast but misses details
HomeLight’s agent matching process is automated, which makes it faster than its competitors — you get your agent matches instantaneously. You can even do everything in the middle of the night because the process requires zero human interaction.
But that reliance on technology can also lead to poor-quality matches, technical glitches, and delays. Because minimal information is required from the customer, the agent does not have access to any insight in advance that a personal call with a representative can provide.
Most competitors’ services use algorithms to inform matches, but many also have a human concierge hand-picking the agent that’s the best fit based on the data clients provide and the concierge’s knowledge of the agents in the network.
HomeLight’s method has resulted in good matches for some customers.
On the other hand, HomeLight’s reliance on technology has limitations. Computers can make mistakes, and their match results may not reflect the nuance of your needs.
When you speak with the concierges of competing agent matching services, they aim to learn about you beyond the handful of multiple choice questions you answered when signing up. Additionally, they’re familiar with the agents in their network, so they can tailor your matches using a personal touch.
Of course, this matching process takes a little longer and can typically happen only during business hours, which may be a drawback for some.
If you prefer, HomeLight does provide a concierge who you can speak to via phone. In our shoppers’ experience, HomeLight concierges didn’t respond to texts, even though our shoppers selected that as their preferred method of communication.
⛔️ No commission savings for customers
HomeLight doesn’t offer cost-saving benefits for home sellers or buyers. Some agent matching services do.
With HomeLight, you’ll pay the standard realtor commission, which is 5–6%. Half of that goes to the seller’s agent and half to the buyer’s agent.
Other agent matching services help lower the costs of realtor commission by pre-negotiating a discounted rate with the seller’s agent. For example, Ideal Agent has a discounted seller’s agent commission of 2% (for an overall commission of 4.5–5%), while Clever’s is 1.5% (for an overall commission of 3.5–4%).
A couple agent matching services also offer buyers savings. For eligible buyers, Clever offers a built-in rebate of the sale price, while UpNest offers a commission refund.
If you’re looking for savings while still getting a top local agent, we suggest trying some of the alternatives to HomeLight.
⛔️ Inconsistent agent quality
Most agent matching services make realtors meet certain standards and requirements to join their agent network. These services also usually vet their agents and check their credentials.
As far as we can tell, any agent can join the HomeLight network. There are no requirements for sales numbers, positive reviews, or level of experience. So being part of this network doesn’t necessarily mean a real estate agent is credible.
Some reviewers agree.
HomeLight gives buyers and sellers information about their agent matches up front, including years of experience and sales figures. You can use this data to inform your choice. But don’t assume that just because the agent is listed on HomeLight, they’re among the top performers in your area.
✍️ Editor’s Note
Research, interview, and compare multiple real estate agents before making your final decision. Don’t just conclude they’re a great agent — or the right fit for you — because HomeLight says so. Remember, you’re not obligated to sign with any of the agents HomeLight recommends. If you don’t feel 100% confident, walk away.
HomeLight’s algorithm prioritizes agents by the number of sales and successful deals closed through the platform. This incentivizes agents to do a good job for customers they connect with through HomeLight.
Should I work with HomeLight?
HomeLight isn’t the first agent matching service we’d recommend, but there’s not much harm in giving it a try. You can use it to compare agents, and you’re free to walk away if none of the agents work for you. Plus, it’s fast, easy to use, and has a lot of realtors to choose from.
But we think most sellers should try a service that offers built-in savings first. Other companies offer the same service that HomeLight offers — often with some of the exact same agents — but also negotiate lower fees on your behalf.
Clever, for example, can also match you with a top local real estate agent — at a fraction of the cost. You’ll pay only a 1.5% listing fee with Clever versus the 2.5–3% listing fee you’re likely to get on HomeLight.
Why choose a company that offers the same service at a higher price?
FAQ about HomeLight
How much does HomeLight cost?
HomeLight's agent matching service is free for home buyers and sellers — like all agent matching services. There’s no obligation to work with one of the agents HomeLight recommends once you sign up.
But you’ll still have to pay the realtors’ commission if you use a HomeLight agent to sell your home. Typically, this adds up to 5–6% of the home sale price, with half going to the buyer’s agent and half going to the listing agent.
Some of HomeLight’s competitors, like Clever, offer the same free agent matching service — with high-quality agents from the same top brands — but also negotiate commission discounts on your behalf. With Clever, you’ll pay a 1.5% listing fee instead of the typical 2.5–3%. In other words, you can work with the same agents you’d find on HomeLight for thousands less.
What are the pros and cons of HomeLight?
HomeLight is free to use and has a large agent network, so it can find you a realtor almost anywhere. However, it doesn’t offer any discounts on realtor commission, so you’ll likely pay a 2.5–3% listing fee. You could pay a fraction of that — and still get a top agent — with a 1% commission broker.
Is HomeLight an iBuyer?
No, HomeLight is not an iBuyer and doesn’t buy houses. However, it does have a service called HomeLight Simple Sale that will connect you with investors and flippers, like iBuyers, that will buy your home for cash. While you can sell your home fast with Simple Sale, you’ll also likely get a lot less for it than you would on the open market. Find out which companies buy houses for cash.
Is HomeLight Simple Sale legit?
Yes, HomeLight Simple Sale is a legit way for sellers to connect with property investors and companies that buy houses for cash. However, in our experience, you'll get a lower price for your property using Simple Sale compared to a traditional full-service agent.
How does HomeLight make money?
HomeLight makes money by charging agents a referral fee. Realtors must pay the company a portion of their commission on deals they close with buyers and sellers referred by HomeLight. All agent matching services make money this way.
HomeLight also offers complementary real estate services that presumably make money for the company. These include:
- HomeLight Home Loans
- HomeLight Elite: A tech platform for realtors
- HomeLight Trade-In: A service that helps you buy a new home before selling your current one
- HomeLight Simple Sale: A service that gets you cash offers from local property investors
Why are agents willing to pay HomeLight?
Compared to other means of marketing and advertising, joining the HomeLight agent network and paying a referral fee to the company is more cost-effective and lower risk for many realtors.
Real estate agents typically spend a lot of time and money on marketing to attract new business. These investments don’t guarantee returns, since not every new customer results in a closed deal.
HomeLight delivers agents a steady stream of prospective customers at no up-front cost. This lowers the risk for realtors, since they only have to pay HomeLight a referral fee on the deals that actually close. Marketing through HomeLight also saves agents time, so they can focus more on serving their customers and closing deals.
Agents who work with companies like HomeLight can afford to earn less on each transaction by paying the referral fee because they’re investing less time and money up front to close even more deals. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.
We strive to deliver objective reviews. The Real Estate Witch team and its mystery shoppers researched and tested HomeLight and 10 other agent matching services over a six-week period. We regularly update this review to ensure it remains relevant and factual. Our goal is to help you find an agent who can get you the best possible value when you buy or sell your home.
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