UpNest reviews summary
Reviews of UpNest are generally positive, with a 4.6/5 rating based on 5,093 online reviews. It’s also accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it has an A+ grade.
UpNest generally does a good job of finding high-quality real estate agents, and its online dashboard is intuitive and easy to use. But its customer service is lacking. Representatives are sometimes hard to reach or unable to provide clear information. And while UpNest claims its agent matching process leads to lower realtor fees, we found any savings negligible at best.
UpNest is a legitimate company and may be worth looking into if you’re buying or selling a home. But other companies offer better service and more competitive rates.
Our #1 UpNest alternative
Our top alternative to UpNest is Clever Real Estate. Like UpNest, Clever is free to use and finds you top local real estate agents, many from name-brand agencies like RE/MAX and Keller Williams.
But Clever’s customer service is better. It tends to be easier to contact and better at providing clear and accurate information. Clever’s savings beat UpNest as well. While it’s rare to find an UpNest agent with a listing fee lower than 2%, Clever’s listing fee is just 1.5%. That translates into big savings if you’re selling a home.
What is UpNest?
UpNest is a company that matches you with a local real estate agent if you’re looking to buy or sell a home. Like all agent matching services, it’s free to use and comes with no obligations.
UpNest is unique in that, after you sign up to find an agent, those agents compete with one another for your business. The idea is that this competition incentivizes agents to offer lower rates.
In reality, while many agents on UpNest do offer discounted rates, our mystery shoppers found the savings are usually pretty small — similar to what you may be able to negotiate on your own. Unlike some other competing services, UpNest doesn’t offer guaranteed savings, and a lot of UpNest agents don’t offer any discounts.
Who is UpNest best for?
UpNest is good for you if you’re selling a house and:
- Your number one priority is finding a good agent
- You don’t care about saving money
- You’re not concerned about customer service
Agent quality is where UpNest performs especially well and most real estate agents you get matched with are likely to have strong sales records. But watch out, because sometimes UpNest’s algorithm doesn’t get it right and may try to match you with an agent who may not even work much in your area — as happened to our mystery shoppers.
If you’re a buyer, then UpNest’s buyer rebate program could potentially save you money. But beware that it comes with a lot of restrictions and other companies may offer better savings for buyers.
UpNest isn’t the only agent matching service and we strongly recommend comparing your options. UpNest’s savings and customer service leave a lot to be desired and if either of those are important to you (and we think they should be!) you can do better with one of UpNest’s competitors.
Top UpNest alternatives
It’s always a good idea to shop around for the best real estate agent. We recommend trying a couple of the following agent matching services alongside UpNest to make sure you get a top real estate agent for the best price.
Compared to UpNest, Clever Real Estate offers better savings, Ideal Agent has better service, and HomeLight has a lot more agents to choose from.
Clever Real EstateLearn More
Clever Real Estate is the best option for most sellers looking to save on realtor commissions. Its 1.5% listing fee is among the lowest of any full-service, nationwide brand. You’ll save thousands on commission and still get matched with top local realtors from well-known brokerages, like RE/MAX and Keller Williams. Plus, it’s free to try, and there’s no obligation to sign with an agent.
- 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.
Clever Real Estate offers a 1.5% listing fee, half of what realtors traditionally charge. But you’ll still get a top local real estate agent, so you’ll save thousands without sacrificing quality.
How it works: After filling out an online questionnaire, Clever matches you with realtors in your area. You can choose to work with one of the agents, request more agent matches, or walk away with zero obligations.
Why we like it: Clever is the perfect balance of savings and quality: You get all the services and support of a traditional agent, but you pay a fraction of the typical price. By comparing agents, you ensure you’re getting the realtor who’s right for you.
Clever is available nationwide.
Ideal AgentLearn More
Ideal Agent does a good job of vetting its agents, and it offers decent savings for sellers. But it has a limited service area and a small agent network, which limits your ability to choose the best agent for your situation. Alternative services, like Clever, offer the same service — but with better savings, more coverage, and more agents.
- You’ll get matched with a top-performing realtor.
- The 2% listing fee gives you a slight discount.
- Fewer agents makes it harder to compare your options.
- Coverage is limited outside of big cities.
- Savings are mediocre compared to other brands.
Ideal Agent matches sellers and buyers with traditional agents. The company negotiates 2% listing fees with its realtors and screens them for quality and experience.
A 2% listing fee is decent, but you could save more with the 1.5% that Clever and Redfin offer.
Ideal Agent’s partner realtors are good, but there aren’t very many of them, and they’re mostly located in big cities. There’s no guarantee Ideal Agent will have a realtor in your area, and if they do, you’ll get matched with only one.
Ideal Agent is available nationwide.
HomeLight might be a good alternative for sellers in small markets or rural areas who can’t find a local agent through other platforms. HomeLight’s agent network is double the size of some competitors, so realtor matches are good in terms of local knowledge.
But if you want savings and a guaranteed match with a top agent, HomeLight isn’t the best option. The company doesn’t offer any savings on realtor fees. And it doesn’t screen its agents for quality and experience; any agent can sign up.
- HomeLight is a well-known and established agent matching service.
- You have more options for agents and brokerages.
- The company may offer better coverage in small towns and rural markets.
- HomeLight doesn’t pre-negotiate savings for customers.
- The agent matching process is 100% automated, which can result in bad matches.
- Many customer reviews cite unsolicited calls and spam emails after signing up on HomeLight’s website.
HomeLight is the largest agent matching service in the US, with more than 28,000 agents in its network. That means That means you have more agents to choose from compared to competitors — particularly if you’re in a rural or small-town market.
HomeLight also has an easy-to-use online platform. Its agent matching process is fully automated, which makes it a bit more streamlined but also creates some quality risks.
The company doesn’t offer any savings for home sellers or buyers.
HomeLight is available nationwide.
Pros and cons
- It’s easy to sign up for UpNest’s service.
- You receive agent matches within an hour.
- You can use the customer dashboard to easily compare agents.
- Savings are inconsistent and often less than other companies offer.
- Customer service is difficult to reach.
- Some UpNest Advisors aren’t very knowledgeable about the real estate process.
|Weighted avg.||4.6/5 (5,093 total reviews)|
|Better Business Bureau||4.8/5 (76 total reviews)|
|4.8/5 (290 total reviews)|
|4.8/5 (346.0 total reviews)|
|Shopper Approved||4.6/5 (4,381 total reviews)|
UpNest reviews online are generally positive and the company has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5,093 total reviews. A few common themes came up in reviews — both among those who like UpNest’s service and among those who felt let down. Here’s a summary of what we found.
What customers give UpNest top marks for
Customers were often especially pleased with the agents they found through UpNest. Many customer reviews noted that their agents seemed to be especially good at their jobs. We believe this likely reflects the fact that UpNest does a good job at vetting agents and requiring them to meet specific performance criteria.
Customers were also generally pleased with how easy and fast UpNest’s online dashboard is. Indeed, our mystery shoppers also found UpNest’s online dashboard made comparing agents very easy and helped take some of the stress out of finding an agent.
Where customers felt let down by UpNest
Poor customer service was the focus of many UpNest complaints. Customers found that UpNest representatives were often difficult to get a hold of and not great at answering questions.
Our mystery shoppers felt the same. We often had trouble getting through to UpNest via phone or their chat box, even during business hours.
This is a big issue because if you have a problem with the agent UpNest matches you with, you want UpNest to help resolve the situation. If your UpNest representative is difficult to reach, then you could largely be left on your own to deal with any agent problems.
Is UpNest legitimate?
Yes, UpNest is a legitimate, licensed real estate brokerage with headquarters in California. Agent matching services must hold brokerage licenses to collect payment from the agents they work with, which is how they make money.
Reviews from past UpNest customers are generally positive, with a rating of 4.6 out of 5,093 reviews. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, where it has an A+ rating.
Current CEO Simon Ru founded the company LessThan6Percent in 2013, followed by UpNest in 2014. At first, LessThan6Percent was an agent matching service for sellers, while UpNest was for buyers. Both companies used the same model, encouraging commission discounts through competitive bidding among agents.
Ru combined the two companies into UpNest in November 2014, serving both buyers and sellers. The company claims to have helped more than 500,000 customers through its network of 14,000 agents.
UpNest: Company info
|description 1||description 2|
|Public or private company?||Private|
|Number of employees||11-50|
How does UpNest make money?
UpNest takes a percentage of the commission its partner agents earn on deals for buyers and sellers referred through UpNest. This is known as a referral fee, and it’s how all agent matching services make money.
UpNest also has a home loan service that presumably makes money for the company.
UpNest for agents: Why do realtors work with UpNest?
Compared to other means of marketing and advertising, joining the UpNest agent network and paying a referral fee to the company for successful sales offers a more cost-effective and lower risk way for realtors to find new customers.
Real estate agents typically spend a lot of time and money on marketing to attract new business. There’s no guarantee that those investments will generate returns, since not every deal closes. Plus, this takes time away from working on deals, which is how realtors make money.
UpNest delivers a steady stream of new prospective customers to agents at no upfront cost. This lowers the agent’s risk, since they only have to pay UpNest for deals that close. It also saves the agent time, which allows them to close more deals.
The bottom line is a higher volume of customer leads means agents can earn less on each deal (by offering lower commission rates, providing buyer rebates, and paying referral fees) and still turn a profit while growing their businesses.
How does UpNest work?
To use UpNest, you sign up on its website by answering a few questions. You enter information about whether you’re buying or selling, your timeline, property type, and contact info.
You can then view your customer dashboard, where local agents send their proposals. You might receive proposals immediately, or you might have to wait anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 days. UpNest displays a list of local agents you can invite to bid for your business while you wait.
After signing up, an UpNest representative contacts you by phone or email to introduce you to the service.
UpNest agent proposals
UpNest’s agent proposals provide a ton of details and helpful information to assist you as you choose a realtor, outclassing most similar services. Most competitors only provide basic information about your agent matches, like their Zillow rating and number of recent sales.
The commission rate is prominently displayed is one of the first things you’ll see:
In addition to the commission rate, UpNest’s agent proposals include:
- The agent’s refund rate for buyers.
- A savings calculator so you can see how the figures add up for your particular sale.
- Statistics like the agent’s number of years of experience and sales in your area.
- Video and audio messages from the agent explaining their background and the advantages of working with them.
- A Q&A section where the agent shares their views on common real estate questions.
- Reviews from past customers.
You’ll also see an itemized list of what services the agent includes, either for free or for an additional fee, like professional photography, printed fliers, and home staging:
📌 A note about agent communication
Some UpNest agents never reached out to our mystery shoppers after delivering their proposals.
This differs from other agent matching services. Once you’re matched, multiple agents typically call you right away and follow up regularly (and frequently!) via email, phone, and text.
While it can feel overwhelming to be inundated with agent outreach, a lack of communication might feel like a different problem: a lack of interest from the agents on UpNest.
That said, UpNest may be a good fit if you prefer to make the first move and contact your agent matches yourself. But if you’re timid and would rather your agent matches call you, another service might be a better option.
How much does UpNest cost?
UpNest’s agent matching service is free for buyers and sellers (all agent matching services are).
If you’re a seller, you still pay your agent a listing fee. UpNest doesn’t pre-negotiate listing fees with its agents. Instead, agents set their own rates and present them to you, competing to earn your business.
Compared to competitors, potential savings are inconsistent and generally small. You can expect to save 0.05–1% on the typical 2.5–3% listing agent commission.
If you’re a buyer, most UpNest agents can offer you a 0.3–0.75% commission rebate. However, rebates at other companies are often larger and less restrictive. And depending on where you live, you might not be eligible for a commission rebate.
UpNest also offers a $150 Amazon gift card to buyers who use its service.
Bottom line: Should I work with UpNest?
UpNest is a free service and there’s no obligation to work with one of its agents once you sign up, so there’s no harm in trying it out.
UpNest is easy to use. It provides agent matches quickly, and its dashboard facilitates comparison shopping.
We like that UpNest encourages agents to drop their rates to help buyers and sellers save money. But our friends at Clever do that, too. And Clever’s rates are better and guaranteed no matter which agent you choose.
To get the best possible value, try both free services and see how the agents stack up!
Is UpNest legitimate?
Yes, UpNest is a legitimate and licensed agent matching service. However, the commission discounts UpNest agents offer are inconsistent and misleading. UpNest doesn’t guarantee savings and most customers can find better rates elsewhere. Compare the top 10 low commission real estate companies.
UpNest vs. Clever: What’s the difference?
Both UpNest and Clever offer high-quality real estate agents, but Clever does better in terms of savings and customer service. With Clever, agents charge a listing fee of just 1.5%, whereas with UpNest agents tend to charge around 2–2.5%. Compare the best discount real estate brands now!
HomeLight vs. UpNest: What’s the difference?
HomeLight and UpNest will both match you with a local real estate agent for free. But while HomeLight has a lot more agents to choose from, it doesn’t offer any savings. On UpNest, agents typically charge a listing fee of 2–2.5% versus HomeLight’s 2.5–3%. Read our full HomeLight review.
Redfin vs. UpNest: What’s the difference?
Unlike UpNest, Redfin hires its own real estate agents instead of matching you with an outside agent. Redfin also offers guaranteed discounts, with its standard listing fee of 1.5% better than the average listing fee of 2–2.5% typically available on UpNest. Read our full ranking of the best discount real estate companies.
What is the UpNest referral fee?
Commission rates for realtors on UpNest vary and discounts aren’t guaranteed. Some agents may offer reduced commission rates of around 2–2.5%, which isn’t much better than the 2.5–3% that traditional agents offer. Alternative services offer better rates. Check out the best low commission realtors.
We strive to deliver objective reviews. The Real Estate Witch Team and its mystery shoppers tested and researched UpNest and 10 other agent matching services over a six-week period. We regularly update this and all of our reviews to ensure they’re accurate and continue to provide relevant information. 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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