Selling a home with Help-U-Sell may be cheaper than selling with a traditional realtor for a 3% commission. But your potential savings could come with frustrating service trade-offs.
Customer reviews indicate that savings and service quality vary widely across locations. The company has shrunk from more than 1,000 franchise locations to just 56 over a few years — indicating that the it's on the decline.
If you're mainly drawn to Help-U-Sell for its lower fees, know that other options may offer better service at a similar rate.
To get savings without sacrificing quality, Clever's free agent matching tool is a good place to start. With Clever, you can compare agents from the best discount brokerages and from major brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. Agents from these brands offer lower rates through our network.
We send you multiple agent matches, and you decide who to work with — or you can walk away with no strings attached. When you work with a Clever agent, you get a listing fee of 1.5% — half the rate typical brokerages charge.
What is Help-U-Sell?
Help-U-Sell is a discount real estate brokerage with dozens of offices across the U.S. Like many other brokerages, Help-U-Sell is a franchise, which means each local office is independently owned and operated.
The company advertises low listing fees for home sellers, usually $3,000–10,000. However, actual fees vary by location, and so do customer ratings.
Is Help-U-Sell legitimate?
Yes, Help-U-Sell is a legitimate business. Each 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 you should know two things:
- Help-U-Sell's corporate advertising presents a misleading picture of the fees that local offices charge.
- The company's geographic footprint is shrinking, which suggests its business model isn't working.
Biggest risks of selling with Help-U-Sell
Help-U-Sell is struggling (and shrinking fast)
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 US. 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 fewer than 80 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 more than a dozen 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.|
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.
Help-U-Sell fees and service quality vary by location
Help-U-Sell's primary offering is discounted commission 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 advertisingHelp-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 our conversations with three Help-U-Sell agents located in different areas of the U.S., we found that not to be the case. All three agents charge a percentage-based commission — for example, 1.5% of the home's final sale price.
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.
Clever can help you keep thousands more in your pocket without sacrificing the support of a traditional agent.
With Clever, you'll:
✅ Sell your house for only 1.5% in listing fees
✅ Work with a local realtor from top brokers, like RE/MAX and Sotheby's
✅ Get all the service and support you'd expect from a traditional agent
Clever's service is 100% free, with zero obligation. You can interview as many agents as you like, or walk away at any time. Enter your zip code to find a top local agent today!
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 modelHelp-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 do Help-U-Sell fees actually cost?
Help-U-Sell allows each office to set its own pricing. And this is where Help-U-Sell's marketing information gets confusing.
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. We've seen a wide range of $2,950–9,950 for the flat fee model. We also spoke with offices that charged percentage-based commissions varying from 1–2.25%.
And many don't explain their fee structures clearly on their websites. 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.
Get matched with the best local agents from top brokerages and get pre-negotiated listing fees of just 1.5%.
Clever's service is 100% free, with zero obligation. Interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect fit — or walk away at any time.
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.
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.
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.
Remember: 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!
» MORE: How to find the right realtor
How does Help-U-Sell compare to top alternatives?
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, some of Help-U-Sell's competitors offer actual flat fee pricing.
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 noteKeep 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 trade-offs
Whether your local Help-U-Sell office offers a rebate or not — and some don't — you'll face the same potential service-quality trade-offs 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.
Remember: 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 trade-offs.
Help-U-Sell reviews and complaints
Because each office is independently owned and operated, Help-U-Sell reviews and complaints 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 positive Help-U-Sell reviews say
|The most common themes among positive Help-U-Sell reviews are:
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.
Sterling is the best. Not only are his discounted fees reasonable, but he provides really good, knowledgeable service. Claire was also very helpful with paperwork and coordination and quick to respond to any questions. They have helped me sell two homes, one on acreage in 2014 and a suburban home in 2018 and I was very happy with how both transactions went. I no longer live in California but, if I needed a realtor in his service area again in the future, I would not hesitate to call Sterling for help."]
'One of the best realtors' I've ever met
This seller praised the quality of the Help-U-Sell office in Waynesboro, VA. They said their agent was "one of the best realtors" they've ever dealt with.
A 'no-stress experience'
This review comes from a customer who has worked with Help-U-Sell Hawaii twice. She praised her agent's negotiating skills in securing a great deal for her daughter, and said that her agent was both knowledgeable and helpful.
Top Help-U-Sell complaints
|The most common themes among negative Help-U-Sell reviews are:
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.
'I was rushed into accepting the first offer'
Katrina M. felt pressured by their Help-U-Sell agent into accepting the first offer on their home — then later found out they might have been able to get a much better offer.
Katrina felt that Help-U-Sell's flat fees meant their agent didn't have an incentive to get top-dollar for their home.
Our closing 'could have been smoother'
This customer had a decent experience with their agent from Help-U-Sell Greensboro and was happy with the money they saved. But they felt that the communication could have been better throughout the closing process.
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.
Corporate office contact information
|Business hours||Monday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET
Friday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. ET
|Office address||240 N. Washington Blvd #200
Sarasota, FL 34236
Help-U-Sell franchise locations
As of June 7, 2023, Help-U-Sell Real Estate's office finder tool says the company has 56 offices in select markets across 17 states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, MI, MN, MO, NC, NV, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT, and VA. You can use the company's office locator to find the location nearest you.
Conclusion: Is Help-U-Sell right for you?
|✅ Help-U-Sell is worth considering if:
|❌ You may want to avoid Help-U-Sell if:
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 best fit!
Clever makes it easier than ever to find the perfect agent AND avoid overpaying on real estate commission. With Clever, you'll get hand-picked agent matches from top local brokerages. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the right one.
And, when you find your agent through Clever, you also get a pre-negotiated listing fee of just 1.5%, helping you keep more money in your pocket when you sell your home!
If you're looking to buy or sell a house and weighing your options, Clever can help!
Our fully licensed Concierge Team is standing by to answer questions and provide free, objective advice on how to get the best outcome with your sale or purchase.
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Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or enter your basic info below. Our Concierge Team will be in touch shortly to help.
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FAQ about Help-U-Sell
How much does Help-U-Sell charge?
Help-U-Sell claims that it charges a "set fee" based on your home price, but the reality is that every location uses its own pricing structure — and many offices don't adhere to the flat fee model at all! That said, sellers in most areas will find lower fees — and bigger savings — with another low commission real estate company.
Is Help-U-Sell worth it?
That depends. Each Help-U-Sell office is independently owned and operated, and some offer better service (and lower fees) than others. That said, over 90% of Help-U-Sell's locations have shut down over the past 15 years, which suggests the company isn't delivering as much pound-for-pound value as other discount real estate brokerages.