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Realtor Recommendations: Which Online Referral Service Is Best?

So you want to sell your house. What companies are out there? There are many choices when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, but Clever Real Estate offers the most comprehensive service for a low fee compared to its competitors.

So you want to sell your house. What companies are out there? There are many choices when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, but Clever Real Estate offers the most comprehensive service for a low fee compared to its competitors.

Online referral services exist because each brings value to the would-be onerous task of selling a house. Specifically, these services network buying and selling agents with buyers and sellers for the purpose of aggregating all the assorted tasks which make up buying and selling a home.

In the first main section, you'll learn about two companies which focus on locating real estate agents. We've identified the two companies which most excel in the domain of flat sale fees. Most importantly, we'll explain how Clever Partner Agents represent the best value and service in the industry.

Agent Locators

We found that Upnest and Homelight have built their services on the belief that consumers are willing to pay more for top quality real estate agents. Compare the information below with how Clever evaluates agents we work with.

Homelight

The website for Homelight claims its technology aggregates data from "millions of home sales" to find "the best" performing real estate agents. Homelight's tool process your input preferences—how many bedrooms, what sort of price rage—and outputs a shortlist of who they deem are the best-performing realtors in your vicinity.

This shortlist is only utilizing available data, however, and doesn't give you much more than searching for reviews on Zillow or Realtor.com

And when you factor in the overall lack of cost savings, Homelight's promise to find you the "best" comes off more (or less) than half-baked.

Verdict: It's a decent place to start your search for a real estate agent if you decide that half of the equation is the most important to you.

Upnest

Like Homelight, Upnest openly advertises the strength of its algorithm for finding the right realtor. Unlike Homelight, Upnest wants to find only those agents local to you, lending it something of an advantage.

Also like Homelight, where Upnest lags is in cost benefits. While the service does a good job referring potential sellers to agents, they take a sizeable chunk of that potential sale as commission. This more traditional approach makes Upnest analogous to a 20th-century brokerage in their pricing.

Bottom Line: If you see the market for homes as more problem than an opportunity, then it might make sense simply to throw money at it, and if that's the case for you, one of the above options could make a modicum of sense.

Flat-Fee Sellers

Two other companies, Redefy, and the whimsical Purplebricks, have placed their chips on flat fees. A flat fee means what it sounds like it means—an unchanging price point for home sales. Compare the rates below to Clever's guarantee of a $3,000 flat fee or 1% for homes selling for more than $350,000.

Redefy

The first thing you may want to know about Redefy is that they charge $500 upfront. Their flat fee is then another $3,000 when you sell your home, for a total of $3,500.

Redefy's website outlines the structure of their process as follows: after you pay the $500, you'll have the chance to meet one of their house photographers and MLS listers. Such rigidly defined roles make some degree of sense when you factor in the company's reliance on specialized data—it maintains a presence in a select few cities in the United States.

Bottom Line: Another decent option if you happen to be selling or buying an expensive home in one of their target metropolitan areas.

Purplebricks (no longer available in the U.S.)

Purplebricks is perhaps our closest competitor in every area except geography. Indeed, the twee brand rose to prominence in both the U.K. and Australia in the past several years and is bringing its $3,600 (or higher) flat fee rate stateside.

In contrast to Redefy's predefined agent roles, Purplebricks enables users to list homes through a mixture of online tools and in-house agents. These latter are charged with the task of examining, valuing, and finally selling your home.

Bottom Line: Purplebricks strains credulity in its advertised penchant for sales in new markets, but nonetheless, we must admit the company remains a solid option at $3,600. However, it has recently raised it's “fixed fee” based on your location, which is usually more than 1% of the listing price.

Conclusion

The bevy of options available if you're selling a house can bewilder even sellers who haven't heard of online referral services. The fact of the matter is that all real estate companies want your business, and now new companies exist at the nexus of the relationships between buyer, seller, and agents. What makes any given company the best online referral service for your needs?

As an agency, Clever can be considered as a hybrid between the two categories of companies discussed in the above sections. On the back end, we put in the work to get you the best deal—an area where some referral services also may succeed, depending on the value of the house in question. And because we vet each one of our partnering agents, you also get the benefit of working with referral services which specialize in this specific task.

That way, we're all in the clear from the first form to the last signature. With a Clever Partner Agent, you're getting the full services that a traditional real estate agent grants with a commission similar or lower than other referral services.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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