💲 Listing Fee
Standard rate (2.5-3%)
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Editor's Rating
2.5 out of 5
HomeLight is an excellent tool for finding a great local agent quickly. However, it offers zero built-in commission savings for sellers or buyers.
- Get a list of local real estate agents in as little as two minutes
- One of the largest agent networks in the industry makes it less challenging to find an agent who specializes in short sales and other non-traditional sales
- Optional Trade-In program makes it easier to buy a new house if you need to sell your current one first
- No built-in savings for home sellers or buyers
- No minimum qualifications for partner agents, so quality may vary between locations
- Home buyers and sellers who are just looking for an agent and don't care about savings
- Buyers and sellers who live in rural areas
- Agents looking to increase their leads
What is HomeLight?
HomeLight is a free online service that helps you find local real estate agents if you’re selling or buying a house.
When you sign up on HomeLight’s website, you’ll get a list of local real estate agents within minutes. It bases these agent matches on factors like your location, target price range, and your desired sale timeline.
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 is free and there’s no obligation.
In addition to its agent matching service, HomeLight has several other services for sellers and buyers, including HomeLight Simple Sale, a cash buyer program.
HomeLight is faster and easier than finding a realtor on your own, but how does it stack up in terms of savings, service, and other factors? We mystery shopped HomeLight and 10 of its competitors, including UpNest and Ideal Agent, to find out.
Bottom line: Is HomeLight right for you?
HomeLight is one of the four agent matching services we recommend. But it's not the first one you should try when you're looking for a realtor.
Some brands, like Clever, offer the same free service — and also negotiate big savings on your behalf. Clever's 1% listing fee is the lowest rate in the industry, saving you thousands compared with the 2.5-3% commission most HomeLight agents charge.
Other things being equal, most sellers should start with the service that gets you the best rate. If budget-friendly brands like Clever can't find you a great agent, you can always try HomeLight later.
Full breakdown: HomeLight.com vs. top competitors
1% or $3,000
4.9 (1,512 reviews)
2% or $3,000
4.9 (2,717 reviews)
4.6 (3,794 reviews)
4.7 (1,012 reviews)
4.8 (2,044 reviews)
3.0 (2 reviews)
4.9 (1,149 reviews)
4.6 (300 reviews)
4.8 (453 reviews)
2.0 (8 reviews)
4.6 (3,459 reviews)
*Average UpNest listing fee. Actual rates vary.
HomeLight can be a better option than finding an agent on your own. But several top competitors offer the same free service, plus better customer support and built-in cost savings.
You’ll find better commission savings elsewhere
HomeLight’s biggest drawback is the lack of cost-savings benefit for sellers. If you find your agent through HomeLight, expect to pay market rates for realtor commission: a 2.5-3% listing fee, plus a 2.5-3% buyer’s agent fee. Clever, Ideal Agent, and UpNest all offer potential savings.
Clever offers the best overall savings (by far): Clever sellers get pre-negotiated 1% or $3,000 listing fees — one-third the typical rate HomeLight sellers pay. Ideal Agent and UpNest listing fees are usually 2% or higher. That’s better than HomeLight, but at least twice more than Clever.
Note: Clever is also the only agent matching service that offers built-in savings for buyers (up to 0.5% cash back after closing).
Agent matches lag the competition
HomeLight’s fully automated matching process is fast, but spotty. When our mystery shoppers requested matches outside of major metro areas, the recommended HomeLight real estate agents were routinely off-base and not local.
For example, mystery shoppers who were located in a town just outside of a major city would often get matched with an agent from the nearby city rather than from their own town.
We recommend brands with a more personalized agent matching process. For example, Clever also uses data and automation to move quickly – but its Concierge Team reaches out BEFORE making matches to learn about your situation and goals, then oversees the matching process to ensure good fits.
Larger agent selection doesn’t count for much
While HomeLight’s agent network is the largest of our top picks (by far), we found that didn’t necessarily translate into any kind of tangible benefit. We expected it to yield more selection in less densely populated areas, but our mystery shoppers saw no difference in agent quality between HomeLight (28k total agents), Clever (14k), and UpNest (14k) when testing for this.
Other brands get you more value
Our recommendation: Start with the brand that gets you the most savings (Clever) and then work your way down the list to Ideal Agent and UpNest. Only sign up for HomeLight if those savings-centric companies can't find you a good agent.
If you really want to try HomeLight, request agent matches from the discount brands too. They're all free to use, and there's no obligation to list with any of the agents they send you. If one of the savings-centric options like Clever finds you an agent you like, you could save tens of thousands of dollars.
Who is HomeLight best for?
We think HomeLight is best suited for sellers and buyers who want to choose a traditional real estate agent quickly and aren’t concerned about savings. You won’t save money by going with HomeLight, but you will get matched with an agent almost instantly.
HomeLight is also a good option if you live in a rural area where other similar companies have more limited coverage. Due to HomeLight’s massive agent network, they’re far more likely to match you with an agent no matter where you live.
But if you’re looking to save money, HomeLight is not a good choice. You won’t land any savings and you’ll have to pay the standard listing fee of 2.5-3% — the same as if you found an agent on your own.
With other agent matching services, you can get a great agent while paying a lot less. With Clever, for example, you still get matched with a top local agent, but you pay a listing fee of just 1% (or $3,000 for homes under $350,000), potentially saving you thousands of dollars in commission.
Our experience with HomeLight
Overall we give HomeLight a rating of 2.5 stars out of 5, based on agent quality, savings, and customer experience. Here’s how that rating breaks down:
Agent quality - 3/5
Coverage - 5/5
With a network of over 28,000 agents, HomeLight covers way more of the country than just about any of its competitors. That’s good news if you live in a rural area where other agent matching services may have limited coverage.
And if you’re planning on moving from one state to another, HomeLight’s extensive network allows it to potentially match you with agents in both states.
HomeLight’s network also means you get more options. Its 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 and receive an additional two matches, giving you up to five matches in total. That's more than most other agent matching services offer.
Agent screening and qualifications - 1/5
We rank HomeLight poorly for how it screens agents. Essentially, any agent can join HomeLight’s network. Unlike other agent matching services, HomeLight doesn’t require agents to meet any performance criteria.
As a result, its agent network varies in quality and its large size needs to be taken with a grain of salt. With so many agents, you’ll find great ones on HomeLight, but also lackluster ones.
Matching quality - 3/5
HomeLight’s matching quality is a mixed bag. We found that the quality of agent matches on HomeLight is usually pretty high, largely thanks to HomeLight’s algorithm. When making a match, HomeLight’s algorithm takes many factors 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 agents who are not only local, but have closed many transactions in the area as well.
That said, we think HomeLight’s agent matching process relies too much on its algorithm. While a concierge will contact you immediately afterward to review those matches — and potentially suggest different ones — the fact that the concierge doesn’t first verify whether those matches are a good fit is a drawback.
We prefer services that combine data with human oversight to help you find the right agent. After all, a realtor may look good on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good fit for you.
Savings - 0/5
Buyers and sellers will both be disappointed by HomeLight’s lack of savings. 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% or $3,000 for homes under $350,000.
There’s also no discount or rebate on the buyer’s agent commission with HomeLight. The buyer’s agent commission is typically around 2.5-3%. So you’re looking at a total commission of 5-6% — again, the same as if you’d found an agent without the help of HomeLight.
Customer experience - 2.5/5
Customer service - 2/5
HomeLight is a mixed bag in terms of customer service for both buyers and sellers. We give points to HomeLight’s representatives, who were generally knowledgeable and helpful.
However, we were far less happy with the volume of communication we received. Simply put, we were bombarded with emails, calls, and text messages after signing up, both from HomeLight representatives and the agents we were matched with. While it is normal for an agent matching service to try to contact you — and many customers prefer it — HomeLight takes “communication” to a whole new level.
Our mystery shoppers tended to get more calls, emails, and texts from HomeLight than other similar services. And HomeLight was the only company that made it difficult to unsubscribe from their emails.
Ease-of-use - 5/5
We found HomeLight.com to be fast and easy to use. You’ll get your agent matches almost instantly and keep track of them through your HomeLight online dashboard.
We like that the dashboard is intuitive and provides a lot of useful information about your agent matches. For example, you can view matches from the main dashboard page and view agent information, including :
- Years of experience
- Number of homes sold in your area
- A map showing their recent sales
If you want more information, you can read agent bios and additional sales data 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 dashboard isn’t nearly as important as finding a great agent, it is a nice touch and makes the process of selling or buying a house a tiny bit less stressful.
Pros and cons
Suitable agents in many markets, especially major metro areas.
No built-in or guaranteed savings
Customer dashboard is helpful and easy to use
Fully automated process can lead to bad matches
You can choose from multiple agents
Little quality control for agents
You’ll get bombarded with calls, texts, and emails
- No matter where you live, HomeLight usually has a suitable agent it can match you with. With more than 28,000 agents nationwide, HomeLight’s network is much larger than its closest competitor.
- HomeLight’s customer dashboard is streamlined and easy to use. Each real estate agent and their key performance data are presented on one page, making comparing and contacting your different agent matches simple.
- HomeLight’s algorithm immediately matches you with up to three local agents. You can request an additional two matches, giving you up to five matches in total. That's more than most other agent matching services offer.
- Unlike some of its competitors, HomeLight doesn’t provide built-in savings for sellers or buyers. Its agents charge the standard market rate, which is typically 2.5-3%.
- 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 means your initial agent matches may disappoint.
- HomeLight does very little vetting of its agents and has almost no requirements that agents must meet. Any real estate agent with a license can sign up, regardless of how well they perform in their local markets.
- We got a lot of phone calls, texts, and emails after signing up, both from HomeLight itself and from the real estate agents that HomeLight recommends. While some contact is normal, the volume of communication from HomeLight was beyond what we got from other agent matching services.
What is HomeLight Simple Sale?
HomeLight Simple Sale — sometimes referred to as HomeLight cash offers — is a free service that helps you sell your house directly to a property investor or flipper. You submit basic info about your home, such as its age and condition, and HomeLight 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 like 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 any cash buyer.
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 by listing it. These buyers often need to invest in repairs and upgrades to sell the house later 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 reap many 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 sell directly to a cash buyer, you’ll have to pay the agent’s fees while also potentially getting less money from the sale. That’s why many people who sell to cash buyers do so without an agent.
HomeLight reviews: What customers say
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.
What customers like about HomeLight
Many customers were pleased with their agent matches. They generally found that their agents met expectations and helped make the real estate transaction easier and less stressful.
Some customers also liked how easy HomeLight’s website was to use and how they were able to easily compare agents.
What customers didn’t like about HomeLight
While most HomeLight reviews online are positive, some customers felt like HomeLight failed to match them with a high-quality agent. Since HomeLight’s agent network is so large and almost any agent can join it, it’s not surprising that some agents failed to live up to customers’ expectations.
One of the most common complaints was about the volume of communication customers received from HomeLight and agents. Many customers felt bombarded by emails, texts, and phone calls after signing up. Some complained about difficulties unsubscribing from HomeLight’s emails, a problem we also experienced.
Is HomeLight legitimate?
Yes, HomeLight is a legitimate company and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It doesn't, however, offer discounted rates for buyers or sellers.
HomeLight real estate 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
San Francisco, CA
Agent network size
How does HomeLight make money?
HomeLight is a licensed real estate brokerage that 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?
Top performing real estate 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 since they have to pay a referral fee, 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 the company 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.
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 up to three agents. You can choose to stick with these 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 including:
- Their brokerage
- Number of homes they’ve sold in your area
- Years of experience
- Total number of HomeLight clients they’ve helped buy or sell a home
- 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 HomeLight 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 matches. They can also send more agent matches.
How much does HomeLight cost?
HomeLight will match you with a real estate 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 5.49% of the sale price.
Also, some of HomeLight’s 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.
The truth about HomeLight: Should you use it?
HomeLight isn’t the best option if you’re looking to find an agent and save money. While it will match you with multiple agents quickly, it offers zero savings. Plus, it has little screening criteria for agents.
Other brands, like Clever and Ideal Agent, not only screen their agents to ensure they’re all top performers, but they also pre-negotiate discounted rates on your behalf.
For example, you can find a top local real estate agent through Clever, but pay a listing fee of just 1%. That’s a huge discount compared to the 2.5-3% you’re likely to pay for a realtor through HomeLight.
How does HomeLight work for real estate agents?
HomeLight is a low-risk way for realtors to grow their business while saving money on expenses. The company can potentially provide 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 additional transactions 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 realtor can become a HomeLight agent, 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, which helps some agents improve their client networks. Realtors can potentially find a steady stream of new leads, which can help you grow your business.
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. Some agents also complained about poor support from HomeLight when troubleshooting problems.
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 some customers may think you are responsible for the volume of calls rather than HomeLight.
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!
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!
No, Google doesn’t own HomeLight. HomeLight is its own company headquartered in San Francisco, CA.
No, HomeLight is not an iBuyer since it doesn’t buy houses itself. It does, however, offer a service called HomeLight Simple Sale which allows you to sell to a cash buyer, similar to working with an iBuyer.
Our team of mystery shoppers spent hundreds of hours testing HomeLight and other agent matching services. Using the data we compiled, we compared HomeLight with competitors across three categories: agent quality, savings, and customer service. We weighted agent quality most heavily, which covers factors like coverage, screening criteria, and the quality of agent matches with mystery shoppers. We assigned equal weight to the savings and customer service categories.