HomeLight is a good place to start to have a look for different kinds of real estate agents in your area. However, it tends to rely too much on raw data without interpreting it, which could match you with a bad fit. Clever tends to be a better fit.
When it comes to buying or selling a home, a good real estate agent can make all the difference in the world. That said, the process of finding a good agent is often easier said than done.
Luckily, there are a number of digital services that have emerged in direct response to this problem — platforms that help you find and connect with “top-rated” agents in your area.
But this presents a whole new dilemma: which of these services is actually worth using?
HomeLight, a company that claims to use data to “connect [buyers and sellers] with the perfect agent,” believes that their referral services alone offer enough value to justify the lack of cost savings.
But does it really? Here’s an in-depth overview of HomeLight — i.e., what you pay vs what you get — and how it compares to Clever Real Estate, which offers the same agent referral services, plus up to 50% cost savings on realtor commission fees.
Learn more about Clever here.
What is HomeLight?
HomeLight is effectively a search engine for real estate agents — it compiles and ranks more than one million agents based on their track record.
The website runs the numbers to determine the “best” agents in your neighborhood. That is, who has the highest volume of sales, the shortest sale cycles, and the best individual sales prices.
If you’re trying to sell your house, HomeLight will generate list of agents who operate in the zip code you provide, before allowing you to narrow the field based on more specific criteria.
Do you want a master negotiator? No problem. What about a top seller? Yes, you can definitely find high-volume agents on HomeLight.
The website boasts that because of the hundreds of data points used to match agents with buyers and sellers, it’s easy to find the perfect agent for you in seconds.
So does the process deliver as promised — and what value does it provide beyond the match up?
What Benefits Does HomeLight Offer?
If the prospect of having to choose between thousands of seemingly qualified real estate agents in your area is a bit overwhelming for you, HomeLight’s simplicity could be a major draw.
You can use the platform to search for and quickly evaluate candidates in your local market that have experience working in your price range.
However, HomeLight’s services end at the point of referral. Once connected with the agent, it’s up to you to evaluate the agent and negotiate their commission rate. In other words, you get the connection, but no additional cost savings thereafter.
Don't want to pay full commission? Clever can help!
Work with a top local agent, get full service, save thousands.
How Does HomeLight Work?
The basic premise of HomeLight is that it refers you to an agent based on highly specified criteria, thereby ensuring a better outcome for all parties involved.
HomeLight starts by asking where you’re looking to sell or buy, then what kind of property you’re looking for assistance with, your target price range, your timeline, and so on. With piece of information you submit, the list of matches to the right gets smaller and smaller.
Other criteria that you can use to filter your HomeLight searches include:
- Agents with lots of experience in my area
- Find agents with lots of experience in my price range
- Agents who are good at negotiating
- Look for agents who will spend a lot of time with me (a great option for first-time home buyers)
- Agents who can sell homes very quickly
The idea is to give the tools as much information about your situation, preferences, and goals as possible, which helps create a shortlist of prospective agents that will, in theory, be a great match.
From there, you can arrange to speak with these agents over the phone or in person for a more in-depth interview before decide to sign with them.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using HomeLight?
While HomeLight claims to have nationwide coverage, if you live in a small town or a more rural area, you might find it difficult to use the service.
While the company is undoubtedly investing time and energy into expanding its agent network, options may be limited (or nonexistent) depending on where you’re located.
It’s also worth noting that while HomeLight’s data-driven approach is impressive, it doesn’t guarantee an optimal outcome — or necessarily tell you the full story about the agents it recommends for you.
For example, the website’s analytics engine is primarily focused on sales volume — while you can easily get a clear picture of their sales-to-listing ratio, it doesn’t provide insights into other key qualities like trustworthiness, personality, dedication, etc.
On paper, it might seem like a high-performing agent is a good match, but in practice, they don’t provide the level or quality of service you’re looking for — or simply rub you the wrong way.
As with any automated service, it’s best to approach the generated list of results with caution, rather than accept them as unquestioned truth.
HomeLight vs. Clever Real Estate
While HomeLight, as a tool, seems to do a great job of helping buyers and sellers narrow the field of options, it leaves out one incredibly important factor entirely: cost.
Unlike Clever, HomeLight’s services are limited to agent matching and referrals — it offers no additional cost benefits to the user.
In the U.S., the average real estate agent commission fee paid by sellers is about 6% (typically split evenly between the listing and buyer’s agents) of the home’s final sale price — some agents charge even more!
Even if you find a great agent on HomeLight who sells your home quickly and for top dollar, they’re still walking away with a huge chunk of your potential profits after closing.
For example, if you sell your home for $400,000, you’re handing over approximately $24,000 in commission fees to your HomeLight agent after the deal goes through.
Clever provides the same free referral services, connecting you with top-performing, full-service agents from major brands and regional brokerages (Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, etc.).
The big difference is that our Partner Agents have agreed to list and sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000 — or 1% if the house sells for more than $350,000.
So, using the same example, if you sell your home with a Clever Partner Agent for $400,000, you only end up paying about $15,000 (that’s 1% for the Partner Agent, plus the standard 2-3% for the buyer’s agent). That’s a total cost savings of about $9,000!
If you’d like to learn more about how Clever works and be connected with a top-performing, full-service real estate agent near you, fill out our online form or give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER (9am to 5pm, CST).
At the end of the day, HomeLight’s referral service is undoubtedly helpful; however, Clever offers the exact same service AND significant cost savings. In other words, when it comes to overall value, there’s really no comparison — learn more here.