Should I use HomeLight?
HomeLight could work for you if you want a quick, easy way to find realtors and compare multiple options. You get instant agent recommendations after filling out a short form. And the company has a large network of 28,000 realtors, so you’ll likely have plenty of options.
But if you want to save on realtor commission and compare only top agents, alternative companies may be a better fit. HomeLight doesn’t offer commission savings and doesn’t seem to have quality criteria for the agents in its network.
Still, HomeLight reviews online are largely positive, with a 4.6/5 rating based on 1,178 reviews. Customers appreciated the speed and convenience of finding a realtor through HomeLight, although some reviewers didn’t find an agent that was a great match.
» JUMP TO: Our in-depth look at customer reviews
We recognize the positive aspects of HomeLight and view it as a legitimate company. But overall, we consider other competitors to be better options for most buyers and sellers.
Our #1 HomeLight alternative
Our top recommendation for finding an agent is Clever Real Estate. Clever delivers the same free service as HomeLight, matching you with local realtors from name-brand agencies like Berkshire Hathaway and Keller Williams.
But Clever also pre-negotiates big savings on your behalf. You can list your home with a top agent for just a 1.5% commission — a fraction of the 2.5–3% listing fee most HomeLight agents charge. If you’re a buyer, you can also earn cash back on an eligible home purchase after closing.
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 instantly pairs buyers and sellers with a local realtor.
Here are other key takeaways about HomeLight:
- Like all agent matching services, HomeLight is free to use, and you have no obligation to sign with any of the agents it recommends.
- HomeLight is one of the largest services of its kind, so it can present you with more options, especially in smaller towns and rural areas.
- The agent matching process is mostly automated. This leads to matches that are always fast but not always the best fit.
- HomeLight doesn’t offer commission savings.
- Some HomeLight competitors provide more value with built-in commission savings and cash-back incentives.
How does HomeLight work?
Here’s how you can use HomeLight to get matched with agents:
- Fill out a form on HomeLight’s website. If you’re a seller, the form will ask about your property type, its estimated value, and your selling timeline. If you’re a buyer, the form will ask about your desired area, the types of property you’re interested in, and your lender pre-approval status.
- View recommended agents on the customer dashboard. The dashboard has details about each agent, like how many homes they’ve sold in your area, a map of their sales, and their notable achievements or skills. If you want, you can click a button to request more agent matches.
- A HomeLight concierge and your recommended agents will contact you via phone, email, and a message in your dashboard.
- Interview as many agents as you’d like. Here are some questions to ask real estate agents to see if they’re a good fit.
- Sign with one of the agents or walk away. You have no obligation to work with any of the agents.
Other HomeLight services
|How it works
|HomeLight Buy Before You Sell
|You access your current home's equity to make an offer on a new home, move into your new home, and then list your old home with a HomeLight agent.
|HomeLight Simple Sale
|HomeLight connects you with cash buyers who can close quickly, but your offers will likely be far below market value.
|HomeLight Home Loans
|You apply for a loan, HomeLight completes the underwriting process upfront, and your loan is already approved when you make an offer.
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 realtor 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 HomeLight competitors offer the same free service and commission discounts. These companies match you with high-quality real estate agents from the same top brands — but they also negotiate commission discounts on your behalf. In other words, you can work with the same agents you’d find on HomeLight for thousands less.
Top HomeLight alternatives in 2024
While HomeLight is the largest agent matching service, it’s not necessarily the best. We mystery shopped HomeLight and 9 similar services to find out how they all stack up. Here are the three we think are especially good alternatives.
Clever Real EstateLearn More
Pros and cons
Key takeaway: Clever offers the best value for most people because it connects you with top agents who provide full service, allows you to compare your options, and charges a low 1.5% listing fee.
- You get a 1.5% listing fee (half the typical rate) without sacrificing service.
- You get matched with several local agents with strong sales records and great customer reviews.
- Clever’s service is free, and you have no obligation to sign with any realtor.
- Some add-ons, like drone photography and staging, may cost extra depending on the agent.
- You may not get matched with the specific realtor you want if they’re not in Clever’s agent network.
Like HomeLight, Clever is a free service that connects you with top local real estate agents. But with Clever, you’ll pay a lower listing fee, which often means keeping thousands more in your pocket at closing.
The savings Clever offers are some of the best in the industry. Clever pre-negotiates 1.5% listing fees with the agents in its network, while HomeLight agents typically charge 2.5–3%. Clever 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.
Clever is available nationwide.
Ideal AgentLearn More
Pros and cons
Key takeaway: Ideal Agent guarantees you’ll get matched with a top agent, but you won’t save as much or be able to compare as many agents as you would with other companies.
- You’ll get matched with a top-performing realtor.
- You get a 2% listing fee compared to the typical 2.5–3%.
- Ideal Agent’s network is small, so it’s harder to compare your options.
- Its coverage is limited outside of big cities.
- The savings aren’t competitive compared to other brands.
Ideal Agent is another agent matching service that offers sellers discounted commission rates, although the savings aren’t as good as other companies provide. You’ll get a listing fee of 2% versus the 2.5–3% that’s typical with 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 we still think you should compare at least 2–3 agents before choosing who to work with.
Ideal Agent is available nationwide.
Pros and cons
Key takeaway: UpNest can connect you with good agents, but it doesn’t guarantee commission savings.
- Agents compete for your business, which may result in a lower realtor fee.
- There’s a wide selection of experienced and tech-savvy agents.
- The actual savings for sellers and buyers vary depending on the agent.
- Customers complain that it’s hard to get the promised Amazon gift card.
- Service quality can vary between agents.
UpNest is 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 real estate agents having good track records and experience based on the information we submitted.
But 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 similar 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.
UpNest is available nationwide.
HomeLight reviews: Major benefits and drawbacks
|Better Business Bureau
|4.4/5 (109 reviews)
|4.6/5 (535 reviews)
|4.7/5 (267 reviews)
|4.6/5 (1,178 reviews)
HomeLight reviews online are mostly positive, with an average customer rating of 4.6/5 based on 1,178 reviews.
Many customers appreciated the instant agent matches and the convenience of getting agent matches anytime (not just during business hours).
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.
Here are the common themes 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 several agents, 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.
Some online HomeLight reviews also note the ample selection of agents.
Deciding to go to Homelight to help us in the search for a good fit for a realtor was one of the best decisions of our property search. Being able to set the criteria and specialization of the type of realtor we were looking for was simple and straightforward. And the speed with which our matches reached out to us was very impressive. We spoke with 5–6 potential realtors shortly after and made a final decision by the end of the week.”— P.S., Site Jabber, 4 stars
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 of its agents, which makes it a little harder to look them up. Most of HomeLight’s competitors provide full names and contact info upfront for all agent matches.
✅ 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 the 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.
HomeLight provided me with three realtors in my area for selling my house. I interviewed two of them, and finally chose one who is in our town. The one we chose is one of the top realtors in my area, and working with him was a wonderful experience. He knows the market well and knows how to negotiate for a win/win for both sides. Thanks to HomeLight for hooking me up with this professional. We were able to sell our house very quickly.”— Donald M., Site Jabber, 4 stars
✅ Technology to streamline the user experience
HomeLight’s dashboard is easy to use and helpful for comparing options. It lists your matches plus useful background information to help you decide who’s the best real estate agent for you. 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.
I would highly recommend this service if you are about to put your house on the market. The team were prompt and very kind and may l say very helpful, they are very knowledgeable about the business of selling houses and worked tirelessly to get me the best possible Real Estate Agent.”— Doreen R., Site Jabber, 5 stars
⚠️ Fast — but sometimes flawed — automated process
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.
We’ve had some previous horror stories’ with realtors that we used … . This time, we wanted to make sure that we selected our realtor on their merits. I contacted Homelight and got immediate results … . Our realtor … performed exactly as Homelight predicted. I like that we could select a realtor based on their previous sales/price history. It was our goal to list with someone who has a record of quick sales with top price and he did exactly that. Our house sold in 4 days and we received a fair price for it also. Thanks Homelight for pointing us in the right direction for our home sale!— Kim T., Site Jabber, 4 stars
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 of 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 require realtors to 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 HomeLight reviews from customers agree.
Homelight offers to pay people who have used their service for positive reviews. I recently used them and they offered me a $20 Amazon gift card to give a positive review along with an extra $10 if I would post the review on another site. I personally would not use Homelight again they only recommended 2 agents and neither were very good. I don’t believe they really select top agents instead just using agents agreeing to their kickbacks. I have also received a lot more spam emails and calls since sharing the info with Homelight.— Dan J., Site Jabber, 1 star
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.
HomeLight’s algorithm prioritizes agents by the number of sales and successful real estate transactions closed through the platform. This incentivizes agents to do a good job for customers they connect with through HomeLight.
FAQ about HomeLight
Should I work with HomeLight?
HomeLight is a fast, easy way to find and compare real estate agents. You can request agent matches for free, so there’s no harm in giving it a try.
But HomeLight doesn’t offer commission savings, so you may want to try a service with built-in savings first. For example, Clever Real Estate can also match you with a top local real estate agent — but for a 1.5% listing fee versus the 2.5–3% you’d likely get through HomeLight.
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. This service connects you with investors and flippers, who, like iBuyers, 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.
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 upfront to close even more deals. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.
How does HomeLight make money?
HomeLight makes money by charging real estate 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 (1) HomeLight Home Loans, (2) HomeLight Trade-In, a service that helps you buy a new home before selling your current one, and (3) HomeLight Simple Sale, a service that gets you cash offers from local property investors.
We strive to deliver objective reviews. The Real Estate Witch team and its mystery shoppers researched and tested HomeLight and 9 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.
Who Pays Realtor Fees? And Other FAQ: When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s confusing to know who’s responsible for paying what. This article lays it all out.
Top Low-Commission Real Estate Agents and Companies: Want to find the least expensive way to sell your home? This list of low-commission companies is a great place to start.
Seller Closing Costs | Everything You Need to Know: Closing costs can be sneaky. Many buyers and sellers forget about them until it’s time to pay. Don’t be surprised! Read up and be prepared.