Top 5 We Buy Houses for Cash Companies in California

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Clever Real Estate

Updated 

July 1st, 2020

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Clever's Real Estate Experts compiled objective overviews of five companies that buy houses for cash in California. Our assessments are based on publicly available information — we've sifted through everything to present the pertinent factors you need to know to make a decision.

The traditional home selling process doesn't work for everyone. In California, a typical home sale can take 104 days from listing to closing. Some homeowners can't wait that long.

Enter "we buy houses for cash" companies.

These, and other types of cash buyers, offer a fast solution for homeowners. They purchase houses "as-is" — that is, in their current condition, without any repairs or prep — and pay in cash, so sellers don’t have to wait for a buyer to get a mortgage approval. The process is quick, easy, and requires no repairs or home prep.

For home sellers who need to sell in a hurry, want to avoid repair costs, or are looking for a more convenient selling method, a cash buyer can be a great option. But they're not right for everyone.

To ensure a profit, "we buy houses for cash" companies make offers that are well under fair market value. The speed and convenience they offer doesn't always outweigh the hit you could take to your bottom line.

In this article, we explain how "we buy houses" companies work, review five legitimate companies in California, and break down examples to help you understand how much you can make selling to a cash buyer compared to other alternatives.

Read on to make an informed decision — and maybe find the buyer for your home!

Quick Tip: Clever can help you sell fast for a better price!

If you're looking to sell quickly, but want to get the highest sale price possible, Clever can help. We've partnered with top real estate agents who have experience finding buyers in a matter of days, not weeks.

You can get higher offers and enjoy Clever's other money-saving benefits (list for just $3,000 or 1% on homes over $350,000).

Want to learn more? Enter your zip code below!

How We Buy Houses for Cash Companies Work

While the smaller details and timeline varies from company to company, "we buy houses for cash" companies all share a basic business model.

  • After being contacted by an interested home seller, the cash buyer assesses the property, focusing on factors like necessary repairs and the potential resale value.
  • Based on the amount of time and money they'll need to invest in the property, the investor makes an "as-is" cash offer.
  • If the homeowner accepts, the deal can close quickly because there's no need to negotiate, wait for financing approval, or inspect and appraise the property.
  • The cash buyer repairs the home and then resells it for a profit.

The quick process benefits homeowners who don't have the resources or time for a traditional sale.

For perspective, in California houses typically spend 59 days on the market before the seller accepts an offer. Then there's the closing process, which takes between 30 to 45 days if the buyer is applying for a mortgage. That means it can take the typical seller up to 104 days to finalize the sale.

In comparison, some "we buy houses for cash" companies in California can complete the whole process in as few as 7 days.

Traditional Home Selling Timeline vs. "We Buy Houses for Cash" Companies


Prepping the HouseTime to OfferClosing Process
Traditional ProcessDepending on the condition of your home, repairing and preparing it for sale can take months.59 days.30-45 days
"We Buy Houses for Cash" ProcessNot necessary. These investors buy homes "as-is".Once the company evaluates the home, it often makes an offer within 24 hours.As few as 7 days in California

Many "we buy houses for cash" companies advertise that they'll send you an offer in as few as seven minutes. This is not an official offer.

After talking to a company representative, they'll give a ballpark estimate of what they'll pay. Very few investors will make a binding offer sight-unseen — and if they do it'll be substantially lower to account for possible issues.

Once you schedule an in-person inspection, the investor will present a legal offer, often on the spot.

Also, know some of the bigger, well-known companies aren't the actual buyers. They are a network of local investors, or they collect interested sellers' information and pass it on to flippers. In these cases, how long the process takes will depend on the investor in your area.

For example, we called five "we buy houses for cash" companies that advertise offers in less than an hour — none of them responded within that time frame.

>>LEARN how "we buy houses for cash" companies work

We Buy Houses Companies in California: Reviews

Express Home Buyers

Express Homebuyers

Express Homebuyers

Phone Number

888-820-7711

Time to Offer

7 minutes

Minimum Time to Sell

7 days

Description
Locations
Reviews

Express Homebuyers is a national service that has partnered with local investors across the country to buy houses for cash.  


Steps to sell with Express Homebuyers:

  1. Submit your home's information to receive an initial "as is" offer.
  2. Meet with the local investor to assess your property and answer any questions.
  3. Discuss the local investor's final cash offer and, if you're willing to sell, sign a sales agreement then and there.
  4. Choose a closing day on your schedule.
  5. Show up on the day of the sale to sign the paperwork and receive cash within hours.


As a franchise, experiences with Express Homebuyers will vary from region to region, based on the local investor you're paired with.

As of May 22, 2020, Express Homebuyers had an average rating of 4.09/5 based on 99 reviews across Google and Yelp.


This rating is based on overall national data. For local reviews, reach out to your local Express Homebuyers office. 

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California Homebuyers

California Homebuyers

California Homebuyers

Phone Number

(800) 856-5737

Time to Offer

24 hours

Minimum Time to Sell

7 days

Description
Locations
Reviews

California Homebuyers is a local, California property investor that buys homes for cash in select cities across the state. To sell your home to California Homebuyers, you can:

  • Fill out their online form or call directly.
  • Meet with a team member to receive a cash offer.
  • Close in as little as 7 days, or on your schedule.


For more information, including specific areas of operation, terms of service, and other details, we recommend reaching out to the company directly.

California Homebuyers buys homes exclusively within California. 

As of 5/27/2020, California Homebuyers has an average rating of 5/5 based on 2 customer reviews.

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Sell fast, and for more money

Talk with the Clever Concierge Team and find your selling best option

SoCal Home Buyers

SoCal Home Buyers

SoCal Home Buyers

Phone Number

(951) 331-3844

Time to Offer

Varies

Minimum Time to Sell

7 days

Description
Locations
Reviews

SoCal Home Buyers is a local, California property investor that buys homes for cash in select areas of Southern California. To sell your home to SoCal Home Buyers, you can:

  • Request an offer online by filling in details about your home.
  • Schedule a call to provide additional details, with an optional in-person home inspection.
  • Receive a negotiable offer that could potentially be altered.
  • Move to closing on your timeline.


For more information, including specific areas of operation, terms of service, and other details, we recommend reaching out to the company directly.

SoCal Home Buyers buys homes in five California locations:

As of 5/27/2020, SoCal Home Buyers has an average rating of 4.9/5 based on 48 reviews across Google, BirdEye and Yelp.

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Premier Property Buyers

Premier Property Buyers

Premier Property Buyers

Phone Number

(949) 356-6763

Time to Offer

24 hours

Minimum Time to Close

7 days

Description
Locations
Reviews

Premier Property Buyers is a local, Southern California property investor that buys homes for cash in select cities across the state. To sell your home to Premier Property Buyers you can:

  • Fill out their online form providing house details.
  • Meet with a representative at the property to evaluate the home’s condition and receive a final cash offer.
  • Close on your own schedule.


For more information, including specific areas of operation, terms of service, and other details, we recommend reaching out to the company directly.

Premier Property Buyers serves exclusively Southern California. 

As of 5/27/2020, Premier Property Buyers has an average rating of 5/5 based on 12 customer reviews across Google and Yelp.

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We Buy Ugly Houses

We Buy Ugly Houses

We Buy Ugly Houses

Phone Number

866-200-6475

Time to Offer

Varies - pending home evaluation

Minimum Time to Sell

Close in as few as 30 days

Description
Locations
Reviews

We Buy Ugly Houses is a national franchise owned by Homevestors. Franchises are independently run by local investors who use the We Buy Ugly Houses brand to advertise their services. 


Steps to sell with We Buy Ugly Houses:

  1. Call We Buy Ugly Houses and speak to a representative about your home, or fill out the form on their website.
  2. Schedule a visit for a local franchisee to view your home. They will answer any questions you may have and evaluate you home. If the franchisee thinks your home is worth investing in, you will receive a cash offer on the home.
  3. Set up a time to close on the sale if you choose to accept the deal. This can happen as fast as three weeks after accepting the cash offer.


As a franchise, experiences with We Buy Ugly Houses will vary from region to region, based on the local investor you're paired with.

As of May 22, 2020, We Buy Ugly Houses's parent company, Homevestors, has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. No other third-party reviews are available at this time.


This rating is based on overall national data. Research local franchises for specific reviews that reflect their quality of service. 

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>>LEARN more about national "we buy houses for cash" companies

Local Cash Buyers in California

Check out the following links to find out more information about "we buy houses for cash" companies in your specific area.

Fresno

Los Angeles

Sacramento

San Diego

How Much Will We Buy Houses for Cash Companies in California Pay?

"We buy houses" companies use the 70% rule to ensure they'll make a profit. Basically, the 70% rule says the buyer shouldn't pay more than 70% of the home's After Repair Value (ARV) — what they hope to sell the house for — minus repairs.

Selling a House to a Cash Buyer in California: 2 Examples

"We buy houses for cash" companies use home values of comparable properties to estimate ARV. Assuming your house is the same size and has the same layout as most homes in your area, your city's average home value is more or less the ARV a cash buyer is shooting for.

However, the cost of necessary repairs will significantly impact the offer you receive.

For many sellers, being unable to pay for repairs limits their options. You need to consider whether paying for repairs out-of-pocket is an option before deciding to sell to a cash buyer.

Let's look at some examples of cash offers a home seller could expect in different California cities versus what it would cost to pay for repairs out-of-pocket.

Home in Los Angeles in Need of Major Repairs

Say your home is in Los Angeles, where the average home value is $752,510. Your house needs a new roof (average repair cost: $1,306), a kitchen remodel ($39,406), foundation repairs ($5,769), and sod installed on the lawn ($2,303).

Here's how a cash buyer will calculate their offer:

ARV$752,510
70% of ARV$526,757
Cost of Repairs$48,784
Max. Cash Buyer Offer$477,973

Cost of repairs based on HomeAdvisor Local averages (June 2020)

The offer may seem low, but most homeowners don't have almost $49,000 to pay for the repairs. In addition, more extensive repairs can easily get out of hand and exceed the average (i.e. a kitchen remodel with new cabinets, counters, and appliances can cost upwards of $50,000).

To avoid that out-of-pocket expense and the risk of spending more than you'll get back, in this example, it's understandable why a seller would accept an offer that is about 36% below fair market value.

If the cost of fixing your home is similarly high, selling to a "we buy houses for cash" company may be your best option.

Home in San Diego in Need of Minor Repairs

In San Diego, the average home value is $685,247. If your house needs minor repairs like new carpeting ($1,963) and a fresh coat of paint ($3,180), here's how a cash buyer will calculate their offer:

ARV$685,247
70% of ARV$479,673
Cost of Repairs$5,143
Max. Cash Buyer Offer$474,530

Cost of repairs based on HomeAdvisor Local averages (June 2020)

In this case, the total cost of professional repairs is $5,143, but the offer is 31% below fair market value.

Instead of selling to a "we buy houses" company and losing almost $211,000, it might be a better option to pay for the repairs, make some minor fixes yourself, or offer traditional buyers a repair credit.

Are "We Buy Houses for Cash" Companies Scams?

Many "we buy houses for cash" companies in California are safe and completely legal. They provide a valuable service to homeowners who need to sell their homes quickly or can't afford to make repairs. Many local cash buying companies are family owned and work with sellers to meet their closing and moving timelines.

That being said, as with any industry, there are bad apples. If a "cash buyer" approaches you, check that they have an established web presence and customer reviews before giving them your personal information.

Also read all the fine print on any contract they present you. Look up words or terms you don't understand. And never assume the contract says what you agreed to verbally.

Most importantly, look at the contract's contingencies. These are the conditions that allow the buyer to back out of the sale or change the terms. Unless you understand the contingencies, you could be taken advantage of.

How Much Does Selling to a Cash Buyer Cost?

Every real estate transaction has costs that can add up quickly. Expenses like closing costs, repairs, and real estate agent commissions can eat away at your profits.

Luckily, when you sell to a "we buy houses for cash" company, you avoid many traditional selling costs like:

  • Realtor commissions
  • Closing costs
  • Staging
  • Seller concessions

When you add all these expenses up, selling to a cash buyer can have significantly fewer costs than a typical home sale. However, given the lower sale price of selling to a "we buy houses" company, the savings don't always make up the difference.

Let's take a look at four different ways to sell your home and how the costs compare:

Selling Cost Comparison in California


Selling to a "We Buy Houses" CompanySelling to an iBuyer (learn more)Selling with CleverSelling with a Traditional Realtor
Sale price (compared to fair market value)70% max.98%*100%100%
Closing Costs0%1-3%1-3%1-3%
Seller Concessions^0%0%0.9-1.5%0.9-1.5%
Commissions/Service Fees^0%6-14%1% listing fee + 2.5% buyer's agent commission4.6-5.4%
Max Take Home70% max91% max95% max94% max

*Based on 2020 iBuyer Report
^California seller concessions and commission rates based on a Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents

Repair Costs

Many cash buyers advertise that home sellers do not have to pay for repairs. And it's true. You don't have to open your wallet and pay for a contractor or repair supplies. However, since cash buyers take on these costs themselves, their offers are lower to make up the difference.

So when selling your home, consider the different ways necessary repair costs impact your bottom line — both positively and negatively.


Typical Repair CostProsCons
Making Repairs Before ListingVaries based on home's condition.You can list your home for more.No guarantee your final sale price will cover the cost of the repairs.
"We Buy Houses" CompanyVaries based on home's condition. But the more that needs to be done, the lower their offer will be.No hassle of dealing with contractors and no uncertainty of paying for repairs that don't lead to a higher sale price.As professional house flippers, "we buy houses" companies can have repairs done for less than you. However, their offer may not reflect the discount they receive.
iBuyerAround 2%*iBuyers will only buy homes that need minimal repairs.
Sellers can choose to pay for these repairs or the iBuyer can deduct the amount from their final offer.iBuyers will rarely negotiate the repair amount, even if you disagree with their assessment.
Offering Repair CreditsIn California, sellers typically agree to $5,000+ in repair credits.Instead of paying for repairs, a credit passes the responsibility and risk to the buyer.There are limitations on how you can offer repair credits. Depending on the buyer's lender, you might have to write a check to a contractor chosen by the buyer.

*Based on 2020 iBuyer Report
+Based on a Clever survey of 500+ agents; 71% in California said repair credits rarely exceed $5,000.

Carrying Costs

Many homeowners sell to a "we buy houses for cash" company because speed is their biggest priority. They might need to sell quickly to avoid foreclosure or to get out from under the costs of owning an unwanted property, also known as carrying costs.

Every day you wait to close your sale, you lose money on carrying costs. Here's how those costs break down in California.

Average Carrying Costs in California

Mortgage Payment: $58
Homeowners Insurance: $3
Utilities: $13
Property Taxes: $12
Maintenance: $8
Total Cost per Day: $94

Carrying costs based on data from the U.S. Census, Insurance.com, Move.org, WallerHub, and Clever Real Estate

Now let's look at how these costs can add up depending on how long it takes to sell your home in California.

Total Carrying Costs

Selling MethodTime to OfferTime to CloseCarrying Costs
"We Buy Houses for Cash"1 day (pending home evaluation)7-30 days$752-$2,914
iBuyers1 day (pending home evaluation)7-90 days$752-$8,554
Traditional Agent59 days30-45 days$8,366-$9,776
Clever Partner Agent13 days*30-45 days$4,042-$5,452

*Based on the average time it takes for homes listed with Clever to receive an offer

Total Selling Costs in California

Let's get down to brass tacks: How much can you expect to make selling your home to a cash buyer versus with an agent on the open market?

Looking at an example with actual numbers will help you see if selling to a "we buy houses for cash" company is really worth it for your situation.

Here's how much a seller in California can walk away with using the state's median sale price of $590,000 and its average selling cost rates (closing costs, repair costs/credits, carrying costs, etc.).

California Cost Breakdown


Selling to a "We Buy Houses" CompanySelling to an iBuyerSelling with a Traditional RealtorSelling with Clever
Sale price$354,000*$578,200**$590,000$590,000
Repair Costs$0$11,800**$5,000$5,000
Seller Concessions$0$0$7,080$7,080
Staging Costs^$0$0$1,144$1,144
Closing Costs$0$11,328$11,800$11,800
Carrying Costs$752$752$8,366$4,042
Commissions/Service Fees$0$45,312$29,559$20,650
Take Home$353,248$509,760$527,051$540,284

*Based on the 70% rule and assuming the house needs 10% of its ARV in repairs
**Based on iBuyer offers being 98% of fair market value and a house needing 2% of its ARV in repairs
^Based on HomeAdvisor national average

Pros and Cons of We Buy Houses For Cash Companies in California

Pros

  • Fast, certain cash offers: After viewing your home, most "we buy houses for cash" companies will give you an offer within 24 hours. And unlike other buyers, there's no chance of the deal falling through because a mortgage application is denied or the buyer getting cold feet.
  • Sell your home "as-is": If you don't have the time or money to make significant repairs to your house, a "we buy houses for cash" company could be your best option. While their offer will account for the cost of repairs, they'll buy homes regardless of their condition.
  • Schedule your own closing date: Instead of going through the typical 30-45 day closing process, you can schedule a day to close in as few as 7 days.
  • Low closing costs: Most "we buy houses for cash" companies will cover typical closing costs. This can save you 1-3%.

Cons

  • Lower offers: Cash buyers are property investors. To ensure they make a profit, their offers will likely follow the 70% rule (at most 70% of the home's ARV, minus the cost of repairs).
  • No negotiating: You can either take an offer from a "we buy houses for cash" company or leave it. They don't negotiate, even if you disagree with their evaluation of the property.
  • Predatory tactics: Many sellers considering a cash buyer are in a difficult situation. You might be facing foreclosure or not have enough money to sell the traditional way. "We buy houses" companies know this and some might try and take advantage of your situation. Never sign anything because you feel pressured and be prepared to walk away if something doesn't feel right.

>>LEARN about more cash buyer pros and cons

Alternatives to We Buy Houses for Cash in California

Many homeowners turn to "we buy houses for cash" companies because they think it's their only option. They need to sell quickly and can't afford to make repairs.

However, there are other ways to sell fast without sacrificing the amount of money you make off the sale.

iBuyers

As mentioned above, iBuyers purchase homes in good condition with cash. They use proprietary algorithms to make offers that are at or close to market value and can close in as few as seven days.

However, unlike we buy houses for cash companies, iBuyers will not buy houses that are in need of significant repair. They're also not available in every city in California.

Opendoor

Opendoor

Service Fee

7.5%

Min. Time to Close

14 days

Average Rating

3.79/5 (918 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Opendoor is a iBuyer currently buying homes that meet their requirements in seven markets.
  • Get an instant cash range offer by filling out Opendoor’s online seller questionnaire.
  • Receive a final cash offer 2-3 days after completing an in-person exterior tour and remote interior assessment.

Opendoor is live (currently purchasing and selling homes) in seven markets:

Phoenix, AZTucson, AZDallas-Fort Worth, TX
Nashville, TNAtlanta, GACharlotte, NC
Raleigh-Durham, NC


Opendoor typically operates in these additional locations, though services have been reduced due to COVID-19. In these areas, you can only list with a partner agent:

Austin, TXDenver, COHouston, TX
Las Vegas, NVLos Angeles, CAMinneapolis, MN
St. Paul, MNOrlando, FLPortland, OR
Riverside, CASacramento, CASalt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TXTampa, FL


Check here for a list of services provided in each location. 

Pros

  • Receive an offer within 24 hours
  • Choose your own closing date, as soon as 14 days from offer acceptance
  • Service is all-inclusive: Opendoor conducts their own inspection and will handle repairs if you choose not to hire contractors yourself

Cons

  • Opendoor does not buy all home types 
  • Services are not available everywhere — some markets have you selling to a third party, while others are handled entirely in-house
  • In addition to the service fee, sellers can expect to pay repair costs and closing costs

As of June 17, 2020, Opendoor's average customer rating is 3.79/5 based on 918 reviews across Reviews.io and Yelp.

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Zillow Offers

Zillow Offers

Service Fee

6% + 1.5%-7.9%

Min. Time to Close

7 days

Average Rating

N/A

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Zillow Offers is an iBuying branch of Zillow, one of the most popular real estate listing and pricing marketplaces.
  • Fill out an application to receive an offer within 3 days.
  • Schedule an in-person evaluation and inspection to receive a final cash offer.
  • Close on your own schedule — from 7-90 days after taking the offer.

Zillow Offers currently purchases homes in 24 locations.

Atlanta, GAAustin, TXCharlotte, NC
Cincinnati, OHColorado Springs, CODallas, TX
Denver, COFort Collins, COHouston, TX
Las Vegas, NVLos Angeles, CAMiami, FL
Minneapolis, MNNashville, TNOrlando, FL
Phoenix, AZPortland, ORRaleigh, NC
Riverside, CASacramento, CASan Antonio, TX
San Diego, CATampa, FLTucson, AZ

Pros

  • Offers are valid for three days
  • Set your own closing and move-out date
  • Offers are typically within 1-2% of fair market value


Cons

  • Could pay as high as 15.9% (6% selling fees, 1-2% closing costs, and up to 7.9% in service fees)
  • Not all homes are eligible for purchase

As of June 17, 2020, Zillow Offers does not have any verified customer reviews on reputable third-party review sites.

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RedfinNow

RedfinNow

Service Fee

6%-12%

Min. Time to Close

10 days

Average Rating

3.6/5 (2 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • RedfinNow is the iBuying part of Redfin, a national real estate brokerage offering a variety of services.
  • Request an online offer to receive an initial assessment and offer
  • If you accept, there's an inspection and appraisal to calculate service and repair fees
  • You must close 10-30 days from offer acceptance

RedfinNow is currently available in California, Colorado and Texas. The list of serviced cities is currently in flux due to COVID-19, so check their website for an up-to-date list. 

Pros

  • Quick and reasonable cash offer
  • No additional work needed
  • Choose your own closing date


Cons

  • High service fee
  • Additional nonnegotiable repair costs
  • Limited availability

As of June 17, 2020, RedfinNow's average customer rating is 3.6/5 based on 2 reviews on Trustpilot.

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Traditional Agents

In general, it takes longer to sell a house with an agent than to sell directly to a cash buyer. But there are realtors who specialize in quick sales. With a little research, you could find an experienced agent who can sell your home "as-is" in a matter of days.

Hiring an agent does mean paying commissions, which can eat into your profits. In California, expect to pay 4.6-5.4% of your sale price in realtor fees.

>> LEARN more about real estate commission

Clever

Clever can connect you with top agents in California based on your unique needs. If you need to sell your house fast, Clever will put you in touch with a local agent who has proven they can get offers in a matter of days, or even hours.

Plus, with Clever you save on listing commissions meaning more money in your pocket at the end of your sale.

Listing Fee

1% (minimum $3,000)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.8/5 (386 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Clever Real Estate is a nationwide, online concierge and agent matching service for sellers and buyers — learn more
  • Buyers and sellers are matched with multiple highly rated agents from major brands, such as Keller Williams, Century 21, Compass, RE/MAX, and more
  • Sellers choose a full-service agent and pay a flat, $3,000 fee — or just 1% for homes more than $350,000
  • Buyers may be eligible for up to 1% back at closing (in qualifying locations)

Clever has pre-negotiated lower commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Pros
  • Listing fee of $3,000 (or 1% on homes >$350K) for a full-service agent
  • Sellers only pay once their home is sold
  • Partner Agents are top, local realtors with at least 5 years experience
  • Agent matches are customized and based on your specific situation
  • Eligible buyers receive a home buyer rebate of up to 1%
Cons
  • Sellers may not be matched with an agent from their preferred brokerage
  • While homes are listed on the MLS, there's no independent Clever listing site.







As of May 20, 2020, Clever's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 386 reviews on Trustpilot.

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