UpNest has built an online real estate marketplace in which agents compete with one another for your business. Read on for a comprehensive overview of how the service works, its key benefits and drawbacks, reviews, and some alternative options you may want to consider.
Updated June 26, 2019
UpNest is a real estate agent referral service that connects home buyers and home sellers with local full-service agents, who then compete for their business.
After submitting some information about your needs, you’ll receive quotes from multiple agents within 24 hours; however, because UpNest doesn’t pre-negotiate commission fees or rebates on your behalf, savings can be limited.
Clever negotiates commission fees with top-rated, full-service real estate agents nationwide to help you save thousands — up to 50% on home selling costs.
Read on to learn more about UpNest: how it works, pros and cons, and alternatives you may want to consider.
What is UpNest?
UpNest describes itself as an online “real estate agent marketplace.” In other words, the company has created a platform through which real estate agents compete against one another for the business of local home buyers and sellers.
The idea is that this competition helps UpNest clients find right-fit agents quickly, and helps drive cost savings in the form of a reduced commission rate or buyer rebate.
Here’s how it works, in broad strokes:
- You sign up by entering your information on the UpNest site
- UpNest looks for agents in your area that are well-suited to your needs and preferences
- You receive multiple listing commission or rebate quotes from three to five agents within approximately 24 hours
- You select which agents you want to interview and sign with your favorite one
Agents on UpNest are unable to see one another’s proposals. In this way, the process works similarly to a blind auction: agents will go only as low as they think is necessary to make a compelling pitch.
This can be a problem for sellers and buyers in particularly competitive markets — agents in these areas know their services are in high demand, which will likely limit the amount of savings they're willing to offer.
Because UpNest doesn’t pre-negotiate rates on your behalf, your price tag will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Does UpNest Charge a Fee?
UpNest does not charge buyers and sellers a fee for its referral service. Moreover, there’s no obligation to sign with any of the agents that send you proposals through the platform.
Of course, if you’re selling, you will have to pay your UpNest agent — and the buyer’s agent — a commission fee. UpNest’s agents determine their own fee structure, so there are no guarantees in terms of cost savings.
UpNest charges its agents a referral fee, but this does not directly affect the buyer or seller.
Pros of Working with UpNest
For buyers and sellers, UpNest’s biggest advantages are:
- Speedy referrals: according to its website, you’ll receive proposals from multiple agents within 24 hours of signing up
- Freedom to choose: you can interview multiple agents and pick the most qualified with the best offer
- No obligation: there’s no fee for the referral service and no obligation to sign
- Some cost savings: the “marketplace” model drives competition, which, in theory, keeps commission rates down; however, don’t expect fees to drop too low, particularly in competitive markets
Cons of Working UpNest
Conversely, the biggest drawbacks of UpNest’s service are:
- No pre-negotiation: UpNest doesn’t negotiate set commission and rebate rates with its agents, meaning there are no guarantees when it comes to savings
- Minimal value: three to five proposals without a low-commission guarantee doesn’t necessarily offer more value than searching for top local agents on your own
- Limited choice: when you choose the best of a limited number of options, you have no idea if you’re missing out on a better deal somewhere else
As an example, when you sell with UpNest, its competitive marketplace model might drive your listing fee down to 2.5% or even 2% — compared to the standard 3% rate. Of course, you’ll still have to pay a buyer’s agent commission, which is typically around 3% as well. That leaves you with a total commission fee of approximately 5%.
If you were selling a $400,000 home, you’d be on the hook for approximately $20,000 in realtor fees at closing.
In contrast, Clever offers the exact same advantages — free, data-driven referrals for top-rated, full-service local agents — but with the added benefit of a pre-negotiated 1% listing fee, or a flat fee of $3,000 if the home sells for less than $350,000.
Using the same $400,000 home sale example, working with Clever instead of UpNest would save you approximately $4,000.
On average, home sellers who list with Clever save $10,000 per transaction, compared to what they would have paid working with a traditional, full-commission agent.
As of June 26, 2019, UpNest has a 4.8-out-of-5-star rating on third-party review aggregation site BirdEye, based on 403 reviews.
By comparison, as of the same date, Clever Real Estate has an “Excellent,” 5-out-of-5-star rating on third-party review site Trustpilot, based on 157 reviews.
Top Alternatives to UpNest
UpNest is a great option if you’re looking for a quick referral to avoid the hassle of tracking down a real estate agent yourself; however, if savings are important to you, you’ll probably get just as much — if not better — results from doing some online research and negotiating rates yourself.
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds — i.e., quick referrals for top local agents and guaranteed cost savings — you might want to consider getting in touch with Clever Real Estate.
Clever partners with thousands of top-rated, full-service agents across the United States from major brands and regional brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, and more.
All of our Partner Agents run traditional, full-service real estate business, but have agreed to offer significant commission rate discounts and rebates to sellers and buyers who find them through Clever’s referral program.
If you’re buying, get on-demand showings and $1,000 back at closing — or up to 1% if the purchase price of your new home is over $500,000 (in states that allow buyer rebates).
Like UpNest, there's no upfront cost or fee for the referral service, and there's zero obligation to sign. With Clever, you can interview as many agents as you'd like or is necessary to find the best match for your specific needs and circumstances.
Want to learn more? Fill out this form or give us a call (1-833-2-CLEVER) to learn more and connect with top-rated, low-commission agents near you.
Top FAQs for People Considering UpNest
1. Do I need a realtor?
Legally, you do not need a realtor to buy or sell a home. Some sellers will opt to list their homes for sale by owner (FSBO) in an attempt to avoid paying a listing fee; however, most FSBO sellers struggle to get decent offers (or any offers at all) and end up abandoning this approach and working with a licensed agent instead.
There’s a reason 91% of home sellers work with realtors: selling a home is a complex, high-steaks process. Agents have extensive experience, resources, and local market expertise, which they draw upon to get you the best possible outcome on your sale.
If you’re a) a seasoned real estate professional who’s well-versed in home pricing, housing market trends, negotiations, real estate law, and tax protocol and b) you have a ton of free time on your hands, you should consider selling FSBO — otherwise, chances are you’d benefit from working with a licensed agent.
2. How much does it cost to work with a realtor?
It depends on the realtor and your local market’s conditions. Commission fees come in all shapes and sizes and are often negotiable. That said, the standard commission rate sellers typically pay across the country is approximately 6% of the final sale price, which is split down the middle between the listing and buyer’s agents involved in the sale.
If you’re looking to save on commission, there are many options to choose from: you can negotiate with your realtor yourself, work with a discount broker, a flat-fee MLS service, or a full-service, low-commission referral company like Clever. Make sure to do your homework before you sign: most discount brokers and agents will compensate for their reduced rates with reduced services and support.
3. How do I find the best realtor in my area?
There are many ways to go about finding a top agent to help you buy or sell a home: ask family members, friends, and neighbors for recommendations; do some research on Google and look for agents with great sales numbers and positive reviews; or just cut to the chase and work with a trusted real estate agent referral network like Clever!
Clever only partners with top-rated, full-service real estate agents — that means you know that any agent you connect with via Clever’s referral program is a top-performer in their local market. What’s more, these agents will provide full service and support for a fraction of their typical commission fee.
But don’t take our word for it — see what other buyers and sellers have to say about their experience working with Clever.
4. How do I choose a real estate agent to sell my home?
Before deciding to sign with an agent, you’ll want to interview multiple candidates for the job. Every agent brings a different set of skills and personality to the table, and just because they’re great for someone else doesn’t mean they’re a good match for you.