✍️ Editor's take: HomeLight's agent matching service is fast, easy, and offers a good selection of agents. But with no built-in savings, several competitors offer better value.
HomeLight is a free service that matches you with local real estate agents from both national and regional brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. It’s the largest agent matching service in the country, with more than 70,000 agents in its network.
HomeLight’s service is faster and easier than finding an agent on your own. And its massive network means it offers more choice and better coverage than many of its competitors — particularly in smaller towns and rural areas.
However, HomeLight doesn’t provide any other substantial benefits beyond speed and convenience. Most importantly, it offers zero built-in savings!
Other brands provide the same free agent matching service, but also negotiate huge savings for you. For example, Clever Real Estate pre-negotiates discounted listing fees with top-rated agents at trusted brokerages like Berkshire Hathaway. When you find your agent through Clever, you’ll get full-service for just $3,000 or 1% — roughly a third of what you’ll typically pay for an agent through HomeLight!
To find out if HomeLight provides value to consumers, our team conducted extensive research to evaluate the service for buyers and sellers.
Learn what we found out about HomeLight — or skip ahead to read read Homelight reviews from real customers.
Should you work with HomeLight?
👍 What we like about HomeLight:
👎 Where HomeLight misses the mark:
If saving money isn't a priority, there’s no harm in giving HomeLight a try. Getting matched is free and there’s no obligation to sign with any of its recommended agents.
Overall, HomeLight was fast and easy to use.
We mystery shopped from a variety of locations around the country, including in big cities, small towns, and rural areas. Most of our agent matches were highly experienced and had plenty of sales — although HomeLight missed the mark a few times, especially in some smaller markets.
But we weren’t thrilled by the level of automation in HomeLight’s agent matching process. While HomeLight does have a concierge service, an algorithm generates your initial matches with zero human oversight. No one double checked our matches up front to ensure a good fit.
We think the biggest drawback is that HomeLight offers zero savings for customers. You’ll pay as much for an agent you find through HomeLight as you would if you found them on your own.
HomeLight’s lack of savings stands in stark contrast to some of its top competitors, who provide the same no-cost agent matching service, but with discounted commission rates that can save you thousands at closing.
Bottom Line: Is HomeLight right for you?
HomeLight’s agent matching service is free with zero obligation, so trying it out carries little risk. With its large network of agents, there’s a good chance HomeLight can match you with someone who is a good fit.
But if you want a great quality agent without paying full price, we suggest checking out alternatives, like Clever Real Estate, that offer built-in discounts.
What is HomeLight?
HomeLight is an online real estate company that has a variety of services for home buyers and sellers.
HomeLight’s core offering is its agent matching service: When you sign up on HomeLight’s website, you’ll get a list of local agents within minutes. You can set up interviews, compare options, and choose the best fit — or, if you don’t like any of its recommendations, you can walk away. Like all agent matching services, HomeLight’s is free and there’s no obligation.
HomeLight asks for some basic info about your sale or purchase, such as your target price range and desired sale timeline, then uses that info to compile a shortlist of agents in your area it deems a good match. This list includes information about each agent designed to help you compare your options quickly, such as:
- Sales numbers
- Years of experience
- Customer ratings
So, instead of spending hours researching agents on your own — or just hiring the first agent who pops up in a Google search — HomeLight does the work for you.
HomeLight has several other services for sellers and buyers, including HomeLight Home Loans and HomeLight Trade-in services. Among the most popular of these additional services is Simple Sale, which helps you sell your house directly to a cash buyer.
What is HomeLight Simple Sale?
HomeLight Simple Sale is a free service that helps you sell your house directly to a property investor or flipper. You submit some basic info about your home, such as its age and condition, and it compiles multiple, preliminary cash offers so you can compare and choose the best one.
Most cash buyers will then conduct an in-person inspection. If any issues come up during the inspection, the final offer may be lower than the initial offer.
HomeLight Simple Sale reviews online are generally positive, with no major customer complaints. Overall, customers love how easy it is to sell their home for cash. Note, though, that you likely won't sell your home for the best possible price — one of the major drawbacks of selling to an investor or flipper, even through a service like HomeLight Simple Sale.
That said, HomeLight Simple Sale may be a good choice if you:
- Need to sell your house fast: This is common if you’re in pre-foreclosure, moving for work, selling an inherited property, or going through a divorce.
- Are looking to sell “as is”: If your home needs significant repairs but you’re unable or unwilling to fix it up before listing, it's often easier to sell directly to a cash buyer.
How much will HomeLight Simple Sale pay for my home?
When you sell directly to a property investor or flipper for cash, you’ll typically get 30-50% less for your home than you would get by listing it. Investors need to invest in repairs and upgrades in order to sell the house later on and make a profit, so they usually pay way less than market value.
You’re free to use an agent when selling directly to a cash buyer through Simple Sale, but doing so doesn't come with a lot of benefits. An agent can advise you about what your home is worth and how long it would take to sell, which is useful information regardless of whether you sell to a cash buyer or list it on the market.
But if you do have an agent and you sell directly to a cash buyer, you’ll have to pay the agent’s fees on top of a potentially lower sale price. That’s why many people who sell to cash buyers do so without an agent.
HomeLight reviews: Pros and cons
HomeLight has an average rating of 4.67 across 1,099 total reviews. This is about average for an agent matching service.
We dug through hundreds of HomeLight reviews to discover what customers had to say about the service. Here’s what we found they liked best about HomeLight and where they felt the company could do better.
👎 No built-in or guaranteed savings
HomeLight’s agent matching service doesn’t cost you any money, but it won’t save you money, either. Unlike some of its competitors, HomeLight doesn’t provide built-in savings for sellers or buyers.
In most cases, you’ll pay the full listing fee for your realtor, usually 2.5-3% of the sale price depending on your local market. That’s the same rate you’d pay if you found an agent on your own.
Companies like Ideal Agent and Clever, in contrast, pre-negotiate discounts with their partner agents on your behalf. With Ideal Agent, the listing fee is 2% while for Clever it's just 1% for homes over $350,000.
For a $400,000 home, this is how much you could save in listing fees with Clever or Ideal Agent compared to HomeLight:
*Assuming a 2.5% listing fee**Compared to 2.5% listing fee
You won’t save anything with HomeLight on the sale of your home. With Ideal Agent, you would save $2,000 on your $400,000 home and with Clever you’d save $6,000! Both companies also offer full-service real estate agents, just like HomeLight.
We recommend working with companies that net you the most possible value. If you can get the same no-cost agent matching service plus significant savings without sacrificing on quality, why wouldn’t you?
👍 HomeLight has good agents almost everywhere
No matter where you live, HomeLight usually has a good agent nearby it can match you with. With more than 70,000 agents nationwide, HomeLight’s network is much larger than its closest competitor. More agents mean HomeLight can cover more of the country than many other services.
The quality of those agents is usually pretty high. This is largely thanks to HomeLight’s algorithm. When making a match, HomeLight’s algorithm takes many performance metrics into account, including:
- Price range
- Geographic area
- Number of transactions
- Average sale price vs. average listing price
- Prior reviews
- Average days on market
- Success rate with previous HomeLight referrals
You’ll usually get paired with an agent who’s not only nearby, but has closed many transactions in the area as well.
HomeLight’s extensive coverage is also useful if you’re trying to buy or sell a home when you’re in a different part of the country, as this customer discovered:
That said, data isn’t everything and no algorithm is perfect, including HomeLight’s. In fact, we found HomeLight’s algorithm led to some poor agent matches.
👎 Fully automated process can lead to bad matches
HomeLight’s agent matching process relies 100% on an algorithm. While a concierge will contact you immediately afterwards to review those matches — and potentially suggest different ones — the fact that the concierge doesn’t verify whether those matches are a good fit first is a drawback.
While data is important when making a match, we prefer services that combine data with human oversight. After all, an agent may look good on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good fit for you.
That was the case with this customer. He got matched with a top-selling agent, but that agent turned out to be a bad fit for his needs:
You want an agent with the right kind of experience to help you reach your goals and feel comfortable throughout the entire process. A lot of what makes an agent the right “fit” can’t be figured out by an algorithm. It requires an actual person learning about your needs and preferences, then consulting the data and hand-picking the best possible matches.
When we tried mystery shopping for an agent in Lawrence, KS, for example, our top match had a lot of sales, but only two of them were in Lawrence. The majority were in Kansas City — about 40 miles away.
This pattern repeated in a few areas, most often in small-to-mid-sized cities within striking distance of a larger metro area. While we can’t say for sure, we believe HomeLight’s algorithm prioritizes agents who have closed the most sales vs. those with the most relevant experience, such as local experience.
We think this is a big gap in HomeLight’s algorithm. Having a local agent is important, and an agent who has sold 20 homes in your town may be a much better fit than one who has sold 100 homes in another city.
✍️ Editor's note
Watch out for when HomeLight describes an agent having sold X number of homes in "your area" vs. in your specific city or town. If the dashboard only includes the number in "your area," HomeLight's search radius may be too wide and factoring in agents with high sales numbers outside of your immediate market.
Other agent matching services, like Ideal Agent and Clever, also use algorithmic matching technology — but a human concierge reviews those matches before sharing them with the customer.
Adding that human element helps reduce the likelihood of a computer making the wrong assumptions about what you’re looking for in an agent. It also saves you time you would otherwise waste with a bad agent match.
👍 Customer dashboard is helpful and easy to use
HomeLight’s customer dashboard is streamlined and easy to use. Each agent and their key performance data are presented on one page, making comparing and contacting your different agent matches simple .
For example, you can view your agent matches from the main dashboard page where you can see their:
- Years of experience
- Number of homes sold in your area
- A map showing their recent sales
If you want more information, you can read their bio and more data about their sales via their profile.
Your dashboard also includes additional features, like:
- A message center where you can contact HomeLight and your matched agents
- An option to try out HomeLight’s Simple Sale service
- A section to keep track of the progress of your home sale or purchase
While a nice customer dashboard isn’t as important as finding a great agent, a couple HomeLight reviews did mention it as a useful feature of the website, including this customer:
👎 Little quality control for agents
HomeLight does very little vetting of its agents and has almost no requirements that agents must meet. Any agent with a license can sign up, regardless of how well they perform in their local markets.
Other agent matching services require agents to meet certain performance criteria, especially in terms of the number of homes sold in the past year.
As a result, HomeLight’s agent network varies in quality and its large size needs to be taken with a grain of salt. As this customer points out, it’s a good idea to double-check for yourself that any agent you’re matched with is a good fit:
The whole point of an agent matching service is to do the work of researching and vetting agents for you. With HomeLight, you’ll still have to do a lot of the vetting work yourself.
👍 You get to choose from multiple agents
HomeLight’s algorithm uses the information you provided during signup to immediately match you with up to three local agents.
If those agent matches don’t seem right for you, you can immediately request an additional two matches, giving you up to five matches in total. That's more than most other agent matching services offer.
This customer, for example, was able to interview four agents. Getting to interview so many agents helped reassure her that the one she ultimately picked was right for her.
Your additional matches are also generated immediately through HomeLight’s algorithm. In contrast, other agent matching services usually require you to speak to a representative to get additional matches.
That said, while getting additional matches right away is certainly more convenient, they aren’t being handpicked by a human concierge. In some markets, we’ve found that that can lead to agent mismatches.
✍️ Editor's note
Don't assume the first three agents you're matched with are the best. In our experience, while the first three matches are usually good, sometimes the additional matches we requested were just as good or even better.
Another downside of getting so many agents is that you’ll also field a ton of messages from those agents, which brings us to our next point...
👎 You’ll get bombarded with calls, texts, and emails
Numerous HomeLight complaints talk about getting a lot of phone calls, texts, and emails after signing up, both from HomeLight itself and from the real estate agents that HomeLight recommends to them.
This customer, for example, felt inundated with phone calls:
Many customers also said they had trouble unsubscribing. This person, for example, captured the frustration that many people felt trying to unsubscribe from HomeLight’s emails:
We confirmed that this is still an issue as of August 2021. We also tried unsubscribing from HomeLight’s emails, but — despite receiving a confirmation that we had been “unsubscribed” — we kept receiving them.
To be clear: It is completely normal for an agent matching service to try to contact you after signing up and to share your contact information with your matched agents. And a lot of people prefer it when agents reach out to them, rather than the other way around.
But HomeLight takes “communication” to a whole new level. Our mystery shoppers tended to get more calls, emails, and texts from HomeLight than most other agent matching services. And HomeLight was the only company that made it difficult to unsubscribe from their emails.
We also got a lot of calls from agents. This is partly because HomeLight matches you with more agents than most agent matching services do. If you want to avoid receiving a lot of phone calls, we suggest going with an alternative service that curates a more tailored list of agent matches. Handling calls from two or three agents — as opposed to five — is a lot more manageable.
Is HomeLight legitimate?
Yes, HomeLight is a well-established company and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It doesn't, however, offer discounted rates for buyers or sellers.
HomeLight is the largest agent matching service in the U.S. and a licensed brokerage in California. All agent matching services are legally required to have an active brokerage license.
HomeLight, at a glance
Average user rating
4.67 (1,099 reviews)
Agent network size
How does HomeLight work?
HomeLight's agent matching service is relatively straightforward, but unlike other companies, HomeLight won't provide you with discounted realtor fees.
The process when using HomeLight’s agent matching service is similar for both buyers and sellers:
- Enter information about the property you want to sell or buy via HomeLight’s website, such as your target price range and your timeline for selling or buying.
- You’ll instantly get a list of three agents. You can choose to stick with these agents or request additional agents, in which case two more matches will be displayed immediately.
- Review your matched agents using the “View Details” menu, which displays information about:
- Their brokerage
- Number of homes sold in your area
- Years of experience
- Total number of HomeLight clients they’ve helped
- Achievements, such as if they are top negotiators or sell quickly
- A map of properties each agent has helped a client buy or sell in your area
- You can arrange to speak with any of these agents by phone, email, or through HomeLight’s direct messaging platform — although chances are most of them will have already tried to contact you right after you sign up.
- Usually within a few hours, a HomeLight concierge will contact you via email and phone to discuss your results. They can also send more agent matches.
How much does HomeLight cost?
HomeLight will match you with an agent for free, but it won’t actually save you any money. If you’re selling, you’ll still have to cover the realtor commission fee when your house sells, just as you would if you found your agent on your own. Realtor fees vary by market, but the current nationwide average commission rate is 5.50% of the sale price.
Also, some of its other offerings — like HomeLight Trade-In — do charge fees.
So, while HomeLight doesn’t cost you anything extra, it doesn’t save you money either. This is a big drawback, given that several of its competitors offer the same free agent matching service and built-in savings.
How does HomeLight make money?
HomeLight makes money through its agent matching service by charging its partner agents a “referral fee.” Whenever an agent helps a HomeLight customer finalize the sale or purchase of a home, HomeLight gets a cut of the agent’s commission.
All agent matching services make money through referral fees. It's how these companies can provide their services to buyers and sellers for free.
In addition to referral fees, HomeLight makes money through several other service offerings, like HomeLight Simple Sale, HomeLight Home Loans, and HomeLight Trade-In.
Why do agents work with companies like HomeLight?
Agents partner with (and pay) companies like HomeLight because it’s an easy, low-risk way for them to attract new business and close more deals.
Agents have to invest time and money in their own marketing to attract new clients. HomeLight saves agents time by handling the marketing, so the agents can focus more of their time and energy closing more deals (remember, agents get paid for closing deals, not signing new clients).
Moreover, agents only have to pay HomeLight the referral fee if the deal actually closes and they collect a commission on the sale. Because there’s no upfront cost, there’s less risk for the agents, plain and simple.
So, while agents may make less off of each individual transaction through HomeLight, they can increase their total number of transactions — and potentially make more money in the long run.
✍️ Editor's note
You may wonder if an agent is less motivated to provide you with high-quality service when HomeLight is taking a cut of their fee. One way HomeLight guards against this risk is by taking customer satisfaction and success with previous HomeLight clients into consideration when making agent matches.
If an agent isn't performing well with HomeLight customers, there's a good chance HomeLight will decrease the amount of clients it sends their way. That incentivizes agents to provide excellent service.
Plus, HomeLight only gets paid when you close on a sale or purchase with one of its partner agents. So it's in HomeLight's best interests to match you with an agent who is likely to help you get your transaction across the finish line.
Top HomeLight alternatives
1. Clever Real Estate
💲 Listing Fee
$3k or 1%
💰 Buyer Savings
Up to 0.5% cash back
⚡ Avg. Customer Rating
Clever is a quick, easy, and free way to find a top-rated local agent. And, unlike many similar companies, Clever pre-negotiates big discounts on your behalf, so you can save thousands without sacrificing on service.
- Free, nationwide agent-matching service that partners with full-service local agents from conventional brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX
- Provides multiple agent matches so you can interview, compare marketing plans, and choose the best fit
- Pre-negotiates low rates on your behalf — you get full service for a flat $3,000 listing fee, or just 1% if the home sells for more than $350,000
- If you buy with Clever, you could get a check worth up to 0.5% of the home price
- You may not get matched with an agent from your preferred real estate brokerage.
- Like other agent matching services, Clever may have fewer agents in rural areas.
- Agents may not provide premium services like drone photography and professional home staging.
Like HomeLight, Clever is a nationwide agent matching service that connects you with a full service local real estate agent. Clever also lets you interview multiple agents, so you can choose the one you think is the best fit.
However, Clever offers more value than HomeLight in some key areas, namely cost savings and personalized agent matches. For instance, Clever pre-negotiates discounts with realtors, which HomeLight doesn’t do.
With Clever you pay a listing fee of 1% or $3,000 (for homes under $350,000) — about a third of the standard 2.5-3% you’re more likely to pay with a HomeLight partner agent.
Plus, qualifying buyers can get 0.5% of the purchase price back after closing when they opt for a Clever partner agent.
Finally, while Clever also uses data to make agent matches, a human concierge double checks those matches beforehand. That helps lower the risk of agent mismatches, which ultimately saves you time.
💲 Listing Fee
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Avg. Customer Rating
UpNest has agents compete for your business, which often results in you getting a discounted rate. But savings aren't guaranteed and you will usually find a better rate with competitors like Clever.
- Agents compete for customers, which often results in slightly discounted rates
- Customer dashboard is easy to use and provides lots of each information about each agent
- Savings are not guaranteed and are often only a little better than the national average
- Agent quality and coverage varies, with smaller markets having fewer options than big cities
As of October 7, 2021, UpNest has an average customer rating of 4.57, based on 3,628 reviews across Better Business Bureau, Google, Facebook, and Shopper Approved.
Like HomeLight, UpNest also has a large agent network and can connect you with multiple agents.
UpNest differs in that agents compete for your business and you get to choose which one makes the best offer. In theory, this business model can lead to discounts on the agent listing fee.
However, we’ve found that discounts tend to be mediocre on UpNest, with listing fees usually hovering around 2-2.5%. That’s better than the national average of 2.5-3% that you’ll likely get from a HomeLight partner agent, but not by much.
It also means you’ll likely pay more for an agent through UpNest than you would with other agent matching services, namely Clever and Ideal Agent.
3. Ideal Agent
💲 Listing Fee
2% ($3k minimum fee)
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Avg. Customer Rating
Ideal Agent can match you with a local realtor who sells a lot of homes. But although it pre-negotiates discounted listing fees, you can save twice as much with competitors like Clever.
- Agents in network must meet strict quality standards
- Pre-negotiated listing fees of 2% (or $3k for homes under $150,000)
- 2% listing fee is less than the national average, but it's not the best rate out there
- No built-in savings for buyers
- Only matches you with a single agent
As of October 7, 2021, Ideal Agent has an average customer rating of 4.90, based on 3,156 reviews across Google and Trustpilot.
Ideal Agent is another agent matching service with nationwide coverage. Like HomeLight, Ideal Agent matches you with a local full-service agent.
Ideal Agent’s agent network of 450 agents, however, is much smaller than HomeLight’s and you only get matched with one. That said, Ideal Agent has a more rigorous vetting process for agents. Your matches are usually highly experienced.
Also, Ideal Agent pre-negotiates a discounted rate of 2% with the seller’s agent. This is below the national average of 2.5-3% you’re likely to pay with HomeLight. While it’s a decent discount, it’s far from the best in the industry and double what you would pay through Clever.
How does HomeLight work for real estate agents?
HomeLight is a low-risk way for real estate agents to grow their business while saving money on expenses. The company provides a steady stream of prospective seller and buyer leads at no upfront cost. Agents pay referral fees only if and when a deal closes.
Do agents pay to be on HomeLight?
HomeLight charges a 25% referral fee, due 10 days after closing, when you close a deal for a customer that came to you via HomeLight’s platform. The referral fee is 30% for properties over $4 million.
HomeLight also collects a referral fee for any deal with a client referred via HomeLight’s platform within two years of the initial referral.
As is the case with most agent matching services, there are no signup, cost-per-lead, or monthly subscription fees.
What are HomeLight’s minimum requirements for partner agents?
Any agent can join HomeLight’s network, as long as they have a valid agent's license. However, because of the way HomeLight’s algorithm functions, you likely won't get any leads if you don’t already have some sales under your belt — especially in more competitive and populated markets.
HomeLight’s algorithm places a high value on the number of transactions agents have completed. If you’re looking for a steady stream of leads, be sure to upload your past sales into the platform when you sign up — and keep it up-to-date with new sales you close on your own.
How good are HomeLight leads?
Customer lead quality varies on HomeLight. The company claims agents can expect fewer referrals compared to other platforms, but that these referrals are “serious, action-oriented buyers and sellers” who HomeLight reps contact and vet on an individual basis.
This claim seems misleading. In our experience, HomeLight’s concierges typically contact prospective customers after the introductions have already been made. In other words, there’s very little vetting happening up front.
HomeLight also claims customers only get introduced to three agents. This is also misleading. While it’s true that HomeLight initially presents clients with three matches, they can request two more agent matches right away. So, you’ll potentially be competing with four other agents for a single customer lead.
Lower lead quality ultimately means you risk wasting time with people who aren’t serious about selling or buying a home. Companies that pre-vet leads typically help you waste less time and net you higher close rates.
For example, last year, Clever’s best agent closed 60% of her referrals, thanks in large part to leads being thoroughly vetted.
HomeLight reviews from realtors
Most online reviews of HomeLight come from customers rather than agents, which makes it difficult to assess how most agents feel about the company.
The handful of HomeLight realtor reviews that do exist paint a mixed picture of working with the company.
What realtors like about HomeLight
HomeLight’s large size means it attracts a high volume of customers. Realtors can potentially find a steady stream of new leads, which can help you grow your business.
This agent, for example, commended HomeLight for helping his real estate business succeed.
If you can maintain a high volume of leads through HomeLight, that should make up for the referral fees HomeLight charges.
HomeLight complaints from real estate agents
The most common complaints from agents about HomeLight concern glitches with setting up a realtor profile and uploading past transactions. This realtor, for example, ran into a series of issues getting his HomeLight profile complete.
On a related note, some agents complained about poor support from HomeLight when troubleshooting problems.
The following agent, for instance, had trouble even getting in touch with HomeLight to help resolve an issue with their profile.
Problems like these can potentially give leads inaccurate information about your business. You may even miss out on client matches because HomeLight’s algorithm has incorrect data about you.
Finally, as mentioned above, some customers don’t like the high volume of calls and emails they receive from HomeLight or HomeLight partner agents after signing up. Unfortunately, this may end up reflecting poorly on your business, as this realtor found out:
Does HomeLight cost money?
HomeLight will match you with an agent for free, but you’ll still have to pay standard commission rates to that agent. Other similar services match you with agents from the same real estate brokerages you know and love, but also offer discounted listing fees. Find our complete rankings of the best low commission companies!
Does HomeLight buy homes?
No, HomeLight doesn’t buy homes. HomeLight’s SimpleSale program only matches you with cash buyers and iBuyers who may be willing to buy your home. Find out more about how iBuyers work!