✍️ Editor’s take: Help-U-Sell offers potential commission savings. But expect to compromise on customer service and agent selection.
Help-U-Sell is a discount real estate franchise with 79 locations in 19 U.S. states.
Its main website advertises low commission fees for home sellers. But because each office is independently owned and operated, actual rates (and savings) will vary by location.
Additionally, Help-U-Sell's general business model creates some potential risks for customers — particularly in regards to agent selection and customer service.
What is Help-U-Sell?
Help-U-Sell is a discount real estate brokerage with 79 offices across the following U.S. states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, ID, MI, MN, MO, NV, NC, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT, VA, and WA.
Unlike many other discount brokers, Help-U-Sell is a franchise. Each local office is independently operated — the same model used by many traditional brokerages, like Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, and more.
Pricing and service quality will vary by location
Help-U-Sell's primary offering is discounted fees for home sellers. But exactly how much you could save depends on where you're selling.
📢 Watch out for Help-U-Sell's misleading advertising
While Help-U-Sell's main website assures home sellers that they'll pay a "low set fee," each franchisee sets their own rates and terms of service.
In fact, several Help-U-Sell offices we spoke with don't use the advertised flat-rate model at all. Instead, they charge a percentage-based commission.
That's also true of the customer experience. While Help-U-Sell advertises "full-service" support — meaning their agents should offer the same basic range of services as a traditional realtor — each local owner-operator ultimately decides what specific assistance they'll provide to clients.
In other words, selling with a Help-U-Sell office in, say, Las Vegas will likely be very different from one in Philadelphia in terms of:
- Service offerings and quality
- Overall customer experience
Choose the best agent — not just a brand
Remember to do your due diligence before you hire ANY real estate agent.
If you're considering listing with Help-U-Sell, we recommend comparing them against at least 2-3 other discount services and/or local agents.
Shopping around will help ensure you get the BEST rates, service quality, and overall value for your money.
Who should use Help-U-Sell?
Help-U-Sell is worth considering if…
You may want to avoid Help-U-Sell if…
» COMPARE: Help-U-Sell vs. top alternatives
Is Help-U-Sell legitimate?
Yes, Help-U-Sell is a legitimate business with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Each individual Help-U-Sell franchise is a fully licensed brokerage in the state it operates in. And every Help-U-Sell Agent must maintain an active real estate license, as well as membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
But there are two things you should know:
- Help-U-Sell's corporate advertising presents a misleading picture of the fees local offices charge
- The company's geographic footprint is shrinking, which suggests its business model isn't working
Help-U-Sell's advertising is misleading
The only way to find out exactly how much you'll pay to list with Help-U-Sell is by calling the local office in your area.
Help-U-Sell's website is plastered with repeated claims that the company charges home sellers a flat dollar-based fee, NOT a percentage amount, to sell your home.
However, in my conversations with three Help-U-Sell Agents located in different areas of the U.S., I found that not to be the case. All three agents charge a percentage-based commission — i.e., 1.5% of the home's final sale price.
The company appears to be shrinking
Help-U-Sell has experienced a steep decline over the past decade.
At its peak in 2006, the company had around 1,000 franchise locations, making it the largest discount broker in the U.S. However, Help-U-Sell filed for bankruptcy in 2008. It's been hemorrhaging local offices ever since.
As of this writing, Help-U-Sell has just 79 offices in 19 states, an approximate 92% decline over the past 15 years.
Additionally, most of the remaining offices only have a few properties listed for sale — at least according to Help-U-Sell's corporate website. And 16 have zero active listings.
The rapid decline in Help-U-Sell locations — and the lack of listings at many offices — suggests the company's business model isn't working.
💡 Why isn't Help-U-Sell's business model working?
The simplest explanation: Help-U-Sell is being displaced by newer, sleeker discount brands offering better technology, customer service, and pricing options.
» MORE: How does Help-U-Sell compare to top alternatives?
If you're considering listing with Help-U-Sell, this is a potential red flag. Struggling businesses rarely provide best-in-class service. And they aren't well positioned to help you achieve an ideal outcome with your home sale.
How Help-U-Sell works
According to Help-U-Sell, it can offer discounted rates because its offices are "small and efficient," staffed by a "team of specialists that function as a unit in the marketing and selling of your home."
It's likely that Help-U-Sell Agents must juggle a higher volume of customers than traditional realtors.
📢 What you should know about Help-U-Sell's business model
Help-U-Sell's high-volume approach limits the amount of personalized attention and support that agents can offer to each customer.
The company's marketing indicates that agents offload some tasks to a back-office team. But remember: the more people juggling your sale, the greater the risk of mistakes and delays that could jeopardize the outcome.
How much does Help-U-Sell cost?
Help-U-Sell allows each office to set its own pricing. And as previously mentioned, this is where Help-U-Sell's marketing information is confusing.
In researching Help-U-Sell, we've seen a wide range of $2,950-7,950 for the flat-fee model. We also spoke with offices that charged percentage-based commissions varying from 1-2.25%.
It's tricky to learn what Help-U-Sell will charge to list your home
The best way to find out exactly how much Help-U-Sell will charge for selling your home is by calling an office directly.
Your actual listing fee will depend on your location. Offices DON'T adhere to the same pricing model. And many don't explain their fee structures clearly on their websites.
✍️ Editor's note
Help-U-Sell Agents may require you to provide extra information on your home before they'll give you a straight answer about pricing. For example, one agent told me she would have to perform a market analysis of my home before telling me the exact fee.
Don't forget about buyer's agent commission
Keep in mind that, as with most home sales, you will likely still need to pay your buyer's agent's commission. While average commission rates vary by location, sellers typically offer 2.5-3% to the buyer's agent to incentivize them to show it to buyers.
That said, there are two scenarios in which you could pay less — or potentially avoid the buyer's agent fee altogether.
What you'll pay
Buyer is represented by a Help-U-Sell Agent
A "Professional Assistance Fee" that's comparable to the discounted listing fee*
Buyer is not represented by any agent
No buyer's agent commission — just the listing fee
*Actual rates vary by location
However, both of these scenarios are uncommon. Approximately 90% of buyers work with a realtor. And unless they're also listing their home with a Help-U-Sell Agent, it's unlikely that an average buyer is going to hire an agent with a company called Help-U-Sell.
» LEARN: How does realtor commission work?
How good are Help-U-Sell Agents?
All Help-U-Sell Agents are fully licensed realtors. They provide the same general range of services as agents at a traditional real estate brokerage — but charge lower rates.
However, there are a few crucial factors that could affect your experience.
You may get less hands-on service and support
Help-U-Sell's business model requires its agents to handle a higher volume of customers to compensate for its discounted rates.
This means your agent may not be able to offer you as much hands-on service and support as a realtor from a traditional brokerage.
This increases the risk that you'll have a less-than-stellar experience, especially if your selling situation is complicated.
Services and support will differ between locations
Although Help-U-Sell is a national brand, each office is independently owned and operated. This means your experience with Help-U-Sell could be vastly different depending on where you're selling.
You’re hiring an individual agent, not a brand!
Make sure to interview multiple realtors from different companies to find the best fit for your situation.
Compare key factors like price, relevant experience, approach, and personality. Selling a house is a high-stakes endeavor. It pays to shop around!
Avg customer rating
4.9 (590 reviews)
3.2 (287 reviews)
4.6 (415 reviews)
Dedicated point of contact?
National (select states)
1% or $3,000
1.5% (min fees vary by market)
1% or $5,000
*Fee structure and rates vary by location
**Average fee compared to a 3% commission at four price points: $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, $750,000.
Help-U-Sell offers savings — but they may not be the best
While Help-U-Sell's discounted rates are generally much cheaper than a traditional realtor, savings vary quite a bit between locations.
Some offices charge a flat fee, while others charge a commission based on a percentage of the home's sale price.
In many places, sellers may be able to find lower prices with another discount service.
Other discount brokers offer genuine flat-fee pricing
Although the Help-U-Sell corporate website says home sellers will pay a "low set fee" based on local market factors, each local owner-operator sets their own rates.
Many locations have tiered pricing models; they charge a variable fee based on your listing price. Others don't offer a flat fee model at all — they charge a percentage of your home's sale price.
However, other discount brokers offer actual flat fee pricing. Houwzer, for example, charges a $5,000 listing fee, no matter how much your home ends up selling for.
Help-U-Sell's dated tech could put you at a disadvantage
Help-U-Sell tells prospective franchise operators that they will have access to in-house technology that will give them a leg up on the competition.
However, spend a few minutes browsing its website — or watch a few of Help-U-Sell's YouTube videos — and it's clear that this is NOT a tech-forward company.
This dated tech could put you at a competitive disadvantage — and it may explain why Help-U-Sell is struggling to maintain its geographic footprint as more tech-savvy competitors enter the real estate industry.
Selling with Help-U-Sell
Biggest benefits of selling with Help-U-Sell…
Biggest risks of selling with Help-U-Sell…
As a seller, you can expect Help-U-Sell to provide most of the same services provided by any other brokerage, including:
- Yard sign
- Professional photos and/or video
- Open house support from a Help-U-Sell Agent (who might not be your own)
- Listing on MLS
- Paperwork assistance
- Negotiation assistance
- Closing assistance
✍️ Editor's note
Keep in mind that each Help-U-Sell franchise offers its own menu of services. Contact your local office to find out exactly what it can do for you.
Don't sign a listing agreement without reading the fine print
Help-U-Sell doesn't make clear the typical length of its contracts and whether there are penalties for early cancellation.
The most explicit information we received came from an agent we reached who suggested that we ask for a 90-day contract, but that we could also ask for a 60-day agreement as well.
This agent informed me that if we were not happy with Help-U-Sell's services with "good reason," the office would be "flexible" to try to work with us "without any cancellation fee."
Always read the fine print before signing any agreement with any agent. Make sure you won't be penalized if you change your mind before the contract expires.
Buying with Help-U-Sell
You wouldn't know based on the name, but Help-U-Sell works with home buyers, too.
Help-U-Sell Agents provide the same general range of services for buyers as traditional agents. They'll take you to tour properties and help with negotiations and paperwork. Note: Agents will show you any home, not just Help-U-Sell homes.
However, most Help-U-Sell Agents handle a higher volume of customers than traditional agents, which may limit their ability to provide personalized service and support throughout the process.
Some Help-U-Sell offices offer rebates to *qualifying* buyers
To attract buyers, some Help-U-Sell offices offer commission rebates — also known as home buyer rebates — to qualifying buyers. If you qualify for a commission rebate, your Help-U-Sell Agent will kick you back a portion of their fee when you close on your home.
However, each Help-U-Sell franchisee sets their rates and service offerings, so make sure your local office offers home buyer rebates — and that you'll qualify — before you start the purchase process.
📢 An important note about commission rebates:
There are a TON of rules and restrictions surrounding commission rebates. This is why you’ll almost always see conditional language in advertisements — i.e., “Get up to X%” or “$X on average.”
Be prepared for potential service tradeoffs
Whether your local Help-U-Sell office offers a rebate or not — and some don't — you'll face the same potential service-quality tradeoffs as sellers.
Help-U-Sell Agents juggle more clients than traditional realtors, and they'll likely offload some aspects of your purchase to a back-office team.
Buyers don't have to cover their agent's fee out of pocket — it comes out of the seller's proceeds from the sale. So, aside from the possibility of a commission rebate, there isn't a ton of upside to buying with Help-U-Sell, unless you really hit it off with an individual Help-U-Sell Agent.
If getting a rebate is a top priority, we recommend that you shop around. Many discount brokers and agent-matching services offer them too — often with fewer service-level tradeoffs.
Note: The following review information is up-to-date as of 1/4/2021. We will update this section as new information becomes available.
Because each Help-U-Sell location is independently owned and operated, customer reviews and ratings vary considerably by location.
We recommend researching reviews for your local office using tools like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. These resources will give you the most accurate picture of customer experiences and outcomes.
So what are people saying about working with their local Help-U-Sell offices?
What customers like about Help-U-Sell
The most common themes among positive Help-U-Sell reviews are:
- Excellent service for a discount price
- Individual owner-operators and agents who go above and beyond for their clients.
I 'would not hesitate' to use my Help-U-Sell Agent again
Here's an example of a positive review on Yelp from a repeat seller who had a near-perfect experience with a Help-U-Sell office in Folsom, CA.
She commended her agent for providing "good, knowledgeable service" throughout both of her sales. She also said the back-office team helped the logistical aspects of her sale move smoothly.
'One of the best realtors' I've ever met
Google reviewer P. Lozano praised the quality the Help-U-Sell office in Waynesboro, VA. They said their agent was "one of the best realtors" they've ever dealt with.
What customers DON'T like about Help-U-Sell
The most common themes among negative Help-U-Sell are:
- Business practices customers felt were deceptive
- Agents who communicate poorly or behave unprofessionally
- Outdated tech and websites that aren't user-friendly
Working with Help-U-Sell was an 'absolute nightmare'
Here's an example of a negative review on Yelp from a customer who had a less-than-stellar time working with a Help-U-Sell Agent in Honolulu, HI.
He felt that his agent wasn't always completely honest. And he said the experience turned out to be an "absolute nightmare."
My Help-U-Sell Agent wasn't fully in my corner
This Zillow user had a poor experience with their Help-U-Sell Agent in Owatonna, MN.
They specifically called out that they felt like the agent was withholding information about their sale and wasn't fully in their corner.
The common theme among ALL these reviews is that the customer's experience depended primarily on the quality of the agents at their local office.
Conclusion: Is Help-U-Sell right for you?
Help-U-Sell has been in business since 1976, and in that time they've helped many people buy and sell homes successfully. Whether it's the right choice for you really comes down to:
- Your personal preferences (and tolerance for risk)
- The quality and pricing of your local Help-U-Sell office
- How it compares to other discount services available in your area
We recommend interviewing multiple agents from different companies before you make a decision. Remember that you have no obligation to move forward or sign a contract with any realtor when you interview them.
You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by shopping around and comparing rates, experience, and personalities to find the perfect fit!
Monday-Thursday: 9 am-5 pm ET
Friday: 9 am-3 pm ET
240 N. Washington Blvd
Sarasota, FL 34236
Help-U-Sell franchise locations
Note: As of 1/4/2021, Help-U-Sell Real Estate's office finder tool says that the company has 79 offices in select markets across 19 states.
Help-U-Sell Quad Cities Realty
Help-U-Sell Central Properties
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Specialists
Help-U-Sell West Valley Specialists
Help-U-Sell Galleria Realty
Help-U-Sell Realty Advantage
Help-U-Sell Southeast Rita Ranch Realty
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling
Aliso Viejo, CA
Help-U-Sell A&J Real Estate
Help-U-Sell Access Real Estate
Help-U-Sell Bakersfield Equity Savers
Chino Hills, CA
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties
City of Industry, CA
Help-U-Sell Vantage Realty
Help-U-Sell Premier Realty
Grover Beach, CA
Help-U-Sell Town & Coastal Properties
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice
Huntington Beach, CA
Lake Elsinore, CA
Help-U-Sell Inland Valley
Help-U-Sell Julian Team
Long Beach, CA
Help-U-Sell Long Beach Realty
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes
Morgan Hill, CA
Help-U-Sell South Santa Clara County
Help-U-Sell 951 Realty
Help-U-Sell Wisdom Realty
Help-U-Sell Smart Realty Pasadena
Pine Grove, CA
Help-U-Sell Gold Country
Help-U-Sell Achievers Realty
Help-U-Sell Tri-Valley Homes
Help-U-Sell Results Realty
Help-U-Sell Capital City
San Jose, CA
Help-U-Sell Alpha Paladins Realty
San Jose, CA
Help-U-Sell Silicon Valley Properties
San Marcos, CA
Help-U-Sell North County Coast and Valley
San Mateo, CA
Help-U-Sell Mid Peninsula
Santa Ana, CA
Help-U-Sell Coast and Valley
Santa Maria, CA
Help-U-Sell Santa Maria
Santa Rosa, CA
Help-U-Sell Santa Rosa
Help-U-Sell Alpha Realty
Help-U-Sell Experts Realty
Walnut Creek, CA
Help-U-Sell Allied Realty
West Covina, CA
Help-U-Sell Advance Realty
Commerce City, CO
Help-U-Sell Front Range
Altamonte Springs, FL
Help-U-Sell Sunshine Realty
Help-U-Sell Gulf Coast
Hobe Sound, FL
Help-U-Sell Treasure Coast
Help-U-Sell Express Realty
Help-U-Sell Alliance Realty
Help-U-Sell Reed and Associates
Orange Park, FL
Help-U-Sell First Coast Realty
Help-U-Sell Broward Realty
Help-U-Sell Gulf Coast (Branch)
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties
Idaho Falls, ID
Help-U-Sell Winn 4 U Realty
Port Huron, MI
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate of Steele County Inc.
Help-U-Sell Realty Choices
Las Vegas, NV
Help-U-Sell Integrity Real Estate
Del City, OK
Help-U-Sell Sky OKC
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty
Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty
Help-U-Sell Direct Homes
Help-U-Sell Peoples Real Estate
Help-U-Sell MMC Realty
Help-U-Sell Sims Realty
Help-U-Sell San Antonio Hill Country
Help-U-Sell Grein Group
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate
Moses Lake, WA
Help-U-Sell First Choice Realty