💲 Listing Fee
💰 Buyer Savings
⚡ Editor's Rating
3 out of 5
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
- Home buyers and sellers needing help choosing a real estate agent
- Buyers and sellers that can navigate the UpNest dashboard without customer support
- Real estate agents seeking potential clients
What is Upnest?
UpNest is a free online service that connects home buyers and home sellers with local full-service agents. After providing UpNest with some basic info about your needs, you’ll receive proposals from multiple agents, usually within 24 hours.
UpNest differentiates itself from other agent matching services by having real estate agents compete against one another for your business. When you sign up, you’ll get proposals from multiple realtors, including their rates and which services they offer.
In theory, that competition should encourage UpNest partner agents to offer lower rates in order to secure your business. The reality is more complicated.
UpNest is fast and the agents in its network are generally solid. But because it doesn’t pre-negotiate commission fees or buyer rebates on your behalf, savings just aren’t very good compared to other discount brands.
✍️ Key takeaways
Bottom line: Is UpNest right for you?
UpNest has good agents, but if you care about customer service or you want the best savings, there are better options. The realtor fees at UpNest, while slightly discounted, will be higher than the rates you can get through other agent matching services, like Clever.
Clever’s listing fee is just 1.5% — lower than the 2-2.5% most realtors on UpNest charge. Plus, with Clever you’ll still get matched with a top local agent and our fully licensed Clever Concierges will be there at every step to help with any question or concerns.
Like all agent matching services, UpNest and Clever are both free and you can try them with no obligation. We recommend comparing UpNest and Clever side by side to see which one finds you the best agents and lowest rates.
Full breakdown: UpNest vs. top competitors
4.9 (1,995 reviews)
4.9 (5,842 reviews)
4.6 (5,093 reviews)
4.5 (642 reviews)
4.8 (2,940 reviews)
3.2 (5 reviews)
4.9 (1,357 reviews)
4.6 (330 reviews)
4.8 (551 reviews)
2.6 (16 reviews)
4.6 (3,655 reviews)
*Average UpNest listing fee. Actual rates vary.
Compare your options before going with UpNest or any other agent matching service. UpNest stacks up well against the competition on some metrics, but it falls short on others. Here’s what we found.
UpNest has high-quality agents
Compared with the competition, UpNest does a good job of vetting the agents it lets into its network.UpNest agents must meet specific performance criteria, such as:
- Ranking in the top 5% in terms of sales in their local area
- Having three years’ industry experience
- Closing at least six transactions in the past 12 months
To be fair, a lot of agent matching services have similar vetting standards, but they don’t always enforce them. UpNest stands out for enforcing them fairly consistently.
Other agent matching services, meanwhile, have few or no vetting standards. HomeLight, for example, lets most agents who have a realtor license into their network, which means that agent quality is a lot more hit and miss there than it is on UpNest.
Other companies offer better customer service
UpNest falls short on customer service compared with other agent matching services. UpNest’s representatives are difficult to reach and sometimes seem to have a limited understanding of how realtor services work.
Spotty customer service is never a good thing. At other companies, customer representatives typically help you find an agent and handle any issues that come up afterward between you and your agent. UpNest’s poor customer service could lead to major trouble if you run into any problems with your agent, like subpar service or a contract dispute, that you’d need UpNest to help resolve.
Unlike Clever and Ideal Agent, UpNest doesn’t require its advisors to have a real estate license or previous real estate experience. Legally, an advisor can only give real estate advice if they have an active real estate license.
So, because UpNest’s representatives aren’t licensed, they can offer only limited help.
UpNest’s team is much harder to reach than reps at other agent matching services. UpNest is on the West Coast and their representatives don’t usually answer the phone until after 11 a.m. Eastern time. But even during Pacific time business hours, our team often had trouble getting through.
While its website does have a chat feature, when we used it UpNest rarely responded to our questions.
Savings aren’t nearly as good as the competition
UpNest claims to offer huge savings, but several of its competitors offer low rates for the majority of home sellers. We found that the average listing fee on UpNest is about 2.2%, only slightly better than the nationwide average of 2.5-3%.
Unlike some of its competitors, UpNest doesn’t negotiate discounted fees with realtors on your behalf. Instead, it allows realtors to offer their own discounts — and most realtors on UpNest aren’t seemingly willing to offer a discount that’s going to eat into their profits too much.
In contrast, both Ideal Agent and Clever pre-negotiate discounted rates with real estate agents. Ideal Agent offers a listing fee of 2% while Clever offers 1.5%. Unlike UpNest, you’ll get guaranteed savings, so you know how much you’ll be paying right from the start.
Who is UpNest best for?
UpNest is best if you’re looking for a good agent and you’re not too concerned about customer service or savings. UpNest does a good job of vetting its agents, so whoever you get matched with will generally have a strong sales record.
While it usually hits the mark with matching your needs to an agent, it’s not 100% perfect. You may get an agent who doesn’t have much experience in your neighborhood, for example, which is why you should always compare the agents you get through UpNest with those that other agent matching services offer.
Where UpNest really comes up short is customer service and savings. We found that UpNest’s competitors typically do a much better job of responding to customer enquiries. Our mystery shoppers also found most UpNest agents charge a listing fee of 2-2.5%, which isn’t much better than what you’d get finding an agent on your own.
Other agent matching services offer much better rates. Ideal Agent’s listing fee, for example, is 2%, while Clever’s is 1.5%. So you could save thousands more with Clever compared to UpNest, while still getting a top local real estate agent.
Our shopper’s take
Overall UpNest rating
We mystery shopped UpNest and 10 other agent matching services and graded each one on a scale of 1 to 5. Our rating is based on agent quality, savings, and customer experience, with agent quality rated the most heavily and savings and customer experience given equal weight.
Overall, we rated UpNest 3/5, which puts it in the top three in terms of agent matching services. It performed best on agent screening and ease-of-use, but fell short on savings and customer service.
Agent quality - 4/5
Agent Quality is the most important factor when grading an agent matching service. We grade agent quality on three criteria: Coverage (how widely available is it?), Agent Screening and Qualifications (what performance requirements does it have for agents?), and Matching Quality (how good is it at matching agents with your particular needs?).
Coverage - 4/5
UpNest has good coverage and is available in all 50 states, plus Washington, DC. With a network of 14,000 agents, it usually has at least one realtor in your area.
Even in rural areas and small towns, we usually found that UpNest had an agent available. Finding a high-quality agent in rural areas is something that some other agent matching services struggle with, so we were impressed that UpNest generally performed well outside of major cities.
That said, coverage wasn’t perfect and there were occasions — even in major cities — where UpNest gave us multiple agents to choose from, but only one of them had experience in our town or neighborhood. That’s why we recommend trying out different agent matching services, since coverage can vary.
Agent screening and qualifications - 5/5
UpNest does a good job of screening its agents for performance criteria like years of experience and overall sales numbers. This ensures that most of the agents in its network are highly qualified. It also seems to enforce these standards better than some other agent matching services do.
We were consistently pleased with the quality of the agents we were matched with. All of them had an impressive track record of real estate transactions, which reassured us that they were experienced and capable.
However, no matter how good your agent matches look on paper, we recommend interviewing at least a few before making a decision. You should feel comfortable with your agent during what will likely be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, and you can only adequately assess your comfort by talking to them directly.
Matching quality - 3/5
UpNest generally does a decent job of matching agents to clients, but it does come up short occasionally. All of our agent matches had impressive sales records. Plus, we had multiple agents to choose from — usually 1-2 right after signing up, and then 2-4 more if we requested them from an UpNest support agent.
While having so many options may be overwhelming for some, getting multiple agents made us feel like we were able to better compare all of our options and find the best real estate agent for us.
Usually, our realtor had experience in our neighborhood, but not always. For example, when trying to sell a house in Denver, we were matched with two agents. One was a good fit and had plenty of sales in our area, but the other primarily worked outside of Denver and had no listings in our actual neighborhood.
Local knowledge is one of the most important factors when finding an agent. No matter how good an agent looks on paper, they should have experience in your neighborhood in order to know what buyers are looking for and how to negotiate the best price for you.
Savings - 2/5
UpNest claims that its business model — where agents compete for your business — results in lower commission fees. However, we found this to be largely untrue. In fact, UpNest’s business model somewhat disincentivizes agents from offering fees that are overly discounted.
That’s because agents never actually see what other agents are offering, so there’s little possibility for a bidding war. Agents don’t want to lower their rates too much, since that means less money for them.
We found the rates agents do offer on UpNest are usually the same or only slightly lower than the average rate. Most agents gave us a listing fee of between 2-2.5% compared to the nationwide average of 2.5-3%.
In a competitive market where agents know they’re in high demand, they’re unlikely to offer discounts that are much better than what you’ll get on your own.
UpNest also offers a rebate to eligible buyers of around 0.3-0.75% of the sale price. While that’s decent, the rebate comes with a lot of restrictions that may not make it worthwhile for a lot of buyers.
Customer experience - 2/5
Customer Experience is based on two metrics: Customer Service and Ease-of-use. Customer Service is a grade for how knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful the agent matching service’s representatives are. Ease-of-use refers to how convenient and seamless its product is, including how easy it is to sign up and whether it offers an online dashboard.
Customer service - 1/5
We were unimpressed by UpNest’s customer service. Their representatives were difficult to get a hold of, both when we tried calling and while using UpNest’s online chat feature.
The fact that UpNest operates on Pacific Time means that if you’re on the East Coast you probably won’t get anybody until 11 a.m. Eastern time at the earliest. And even then, you may struggle. We tried calling during business hours on the West Coast and often couldn’t get hold of a representative.
Plus, UpNest’s representatives have limited real estate expertise. UpNest does not require its representatives to hold real estate licenses — something other agent matching services do require.
Legally, only someone with a real estate license can offer real estate advice, so UpNest’s representatives are restricted in how helpful they can be. Plus, we were often unsatisfied with how knowledgeable about real estate they were as they sometimes struggled to explain basic concepts, such as realtor commission.
Ease-of-use - 5/5
UpNest is easy to use and its online dashboard, in particular, is convenient and it makes looking for an agent much simpler. Through the dashboard, you’ll see important information about your recommended agents, including:
- Commission rate for sellers
- Refund rate for buyers
- Total sales in your area
- Years of experience
- Customer reviews
- Additional services, like home staging, open houses, professional photography, and printed fliers
You can also request a call from an agent or send them a message via the dashboard.
While most other agent matching services have a customer dashboard where you can see vital data about your agents, they don’t usually include as much information as UpNest does.
Pros and cons
Agent quality is usually high
Customer service is lacking and inconsistent
You’ll get multiple agent matches quickly
Savings are minimal and overstated
Customer dashboard makes it easy to compare agents
- Our team was usually impressed with the agents they were matched with. Most agents had plenty of past transactions in our area, even in small towns and rural areas where local experience can be harder to find at some other agent matching services.
- If you need to buy or sell quickly, UpNest is definitely faster than searching for an agent on your own. Usually we got 1-2 agent proposals instantly after signing up. We then got more sent to us after we spoke to an UpNest Advisor. In total, our team typically got 2-6 agent proposals.
- UpNest’s online customer dashboard is user-friendly and makes it easy to compare your agent matches. Since you’ll get a lot of matches, it's important to have a dashboard that makes comparison shopping easy.
- In our experience, UpNest’s customer service was a mixed bag. Some reps we spoke to were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about UpNest’s process and agents. Others struggled with simple questions, such as explaining how realtor commission works.
- While UpNest claims that its platform helps you save money, our experience shows that those savings are lackluster. Their average commission fee is 5.2%, which is only marginally lower than the nationwide average of 5.45%.
UpNest reviews: What customers say
Better Business Bureau
In general, UpNest reviews online are positive, with an average rating of 4.6 across 5,093 total reviews. However, UpNest complaints reveal some common issues. Here’s what we found from reading UpNest reviews from real customers.
What customers liked about UpNest
Agent quality was often a big focus of positive UpNest reviews, with many customers appreciative of their agents' experience. UpNest — unlike some agent matching services — vets agents to make sure they meet certain performance criteria. This helps ensure that agents you get matched with are top performers in terms of sales.
A lot of UpNest reviews also praise the service for its speed and how customers get to choose from multiple agents. Our mystery shoppers likewise found UpNest to be one of the better agent matching services in terms of the number of agents you get to choose from.
Other customers also highlighted the savings they netted through UpNest. We would caution, however, that UpNest’s savings aren’t actually that impressive compared to what other agent matching services offer. Our mystery shoppers found that the average total commission on UpNest is 5.2%, only marginally lower than the nationwide average of 5.37%.
What customers didn’t like about UpNest
Most of the UpNest complaints we found concerned customer service, with customers complaining about customers representatives being unresponsive. Our mystery shoppers also sometimes had trouble getting in touch with a customer representative, even during business hours.
When we sent messages via their chat service, they sometimes didn't respond and when we tried calling we often couldn’t get anyone to pick up the phone.
Good customer service shouldn’t be an afterthought at an agent matching company, as it can help you better understand the process and resolve problems with agents that may arise.
UpNest’s disappointing customer service could end up leaving you on your own if you find your agent isn’t a great fit. When dealing with something as significant as a house purchase or sale, that’s a big risk to take on.
Is UpNest Legitimate?
Yes, UpNest is a legitimate company. It holds an active brokerage license in California; an active brokerage licence is a requirement for all agent matching services. UpNest Home Loans LLC is a licensed mortgage lender in eight states. While UpNest allows you to negotiate a lower commission with realtors, it has no built-in savings.
UpNest reviews are generally positive, with a rating of 4.6 out of 5,093 reviews. The company is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau, where it has an A+ rating
UpNest, at a glance
Agent network size
💰 Potential savings are misleading
UpNest is misleading with its claims about how much you can save with its agents. Its site prominently features a number of savings calculators that claim you’ll get impressive savings compared to agents outside of UpNest.
However, our team found these savings exaggerated and based on misleading assumptions. Chances are, your savings with UpNest will be a lot lower than what the company claims. Skip ahead to learn more about how UpNest uses funny math to jack up its “savings.”
How does UpNest make money?
When you buy or sell a home through an UpNest partner agent, UpNest takes a share of that agent’s commission. This is called a referral fee and it's how all agent matching services make money. Referral fees allow agent matching services to remain free for customers.
UpNest also generates income through a home loan service. However, don’t assume UpNest’s home loan program is best for you even if you do choose an UpNest partner agent. Just as you would with an agent, compare different financing options to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
How UpNest works
- You sign up by entering basic information about your sale or purchase on the UpNest site, including location, timeline, property type, and estimated value.
- You’ll be taken to your customer dashboard where you can compare different agent proposals. You may get 1-2 proposals instantly, while others may take minutes, hours, or even days.
- You’ll get a phone call and an email from an UpNest Advisor who will explain how the process works and ask about your preferences in an agent.
- You select which agents you want to interview and sign with your favorite one.
- If you don’t like any of the agent matches, you can request more or simply walk away.
✍️ Editor's note
UpNest's agent matching process is mostly automated. While an UpNest representative usually checks in after the initial matches have been made and may send you new ones, those first matches are typically made by a computer without any human oversight.
Some of UpNest's competitors offer a much more personalized agent matching process. A concierge team member will check in beforehand to learn more about your situation. The company then uses that info to create better, more personalized matches based on both data and human oversight.
How much does UpNest cost?
Like all agent matching services, UpNest doesn't charge buyers or sellers for its service. Moreover, there’s no obligation to sign with any of the agents that send you proposals through the platform.
So you can get an agent match and even interview that agent without committing to anything. You’re always free to walk away if you don’t feel like the agent is a good fit.
If you’re selling, you will have to pay your UpNest agent — and the buyer’s agent — a commission fee, just as you would if you found an agent on your own. UpNest’s agents determine their own fee structure, which typically ranges from 4.5-5.5% in total.
How much can sellers save with UpNest?
Most UpNest agents offer listing fees between 2-2.5%. The lowest we got was 2%.
Assuming you pay a 2.5-3% buyer’s agent fee, that leaves you with a total commission fee of 4.5-5.5%. UpNest itself states that its average total commission is 5.2%. In comparison, the nationwide average for realtor commission is 5.37%.
Here’s how the savings on a $400,000 house look with UpNest’s typical 5.2% commission rate compared with Clever’s 4%.
Buyer’s agent fee**
Total commission fee
*Assumes 2.2% listing fee**Assumes a 3% buyer’s agent fee
***Compared with a 5.45% commission fee
If you sold a $400,000 home with an UpNest agent, you’d be on the hook for approximately $20,800 in realtor fees at closing, based on UpNest’s average commission fee of 5.2%. That’ll save you about $1,000 compared with finding an agent on your own.
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 1.5% listing fee.
Using the same $400,000 home sale example, working with Clever would save you approximately $3,800 — or nearly four times as much as what you’d likely save with UpNest.
Why UpNest’s seller savings are limited
Unlike other agent matching services, agents on UpNest bid for your business. In theory, this should drum up competition so agents lower their commission fees to get your business.
However, agents on UpNest can't see one another’s proposals, so they will go only as low as they think is necessary to make a compelling pitch. If agents knew what rates their competitors were quoting, they might be willing to offer steeper discounts to win your business.
Because UpNest doesn’t pre-negotiate rates on your behalf, the commission fees you pay will vary on a case-by-case basis. In our experience, the savings we got through UpNest were minimal compared to a standard, full-priced agent. We recommend checking out low commission real estate companies so you’ll be guaranteed the savings.
🚨 Be wary of “savings”
Some UpNest partner agents offer “discounted” buyer’s agent fees — which the seller typically pays —of 2-2.5% compared to the average 2.5-3%. This discount is misleading because the buyer’s agent fee you offer is always negotiable and up to you — not the agent. You can offer a lower buyer’s agent commission regardless of whether you choose an agent through UpNest or on your own.
But beware: When you lower the buyer’s agent fee too much, you risk taking away an agent's incentive to show your house to potential buyers, which could make it difficult to sell your home.
Any good agent will recommend the lowest rate you can offer and still be competitive. Don’t be fooled by marketing math — focus on the listing fee when comparing savings.
This is why you should be suspicious of any savings that UpNest promises, such as with its savings calculators. Often these savings are based in part on paying a lower buyer’s agent commission. Since you set the buyer’s agent commission, the most important figure you should focus on is the listing fee.
Does UpNest offer savings for buyers?
Many agents on UpNest include a “home buyer rebate,” usually of around 0.3-0.75% of the sale price. With a rebate, the agent shares a portion of their commission with the buyer.
This rebate comes with restrictions, however: It is usually issued as a credit that can only be spent in specific ways, such as on closing costs, and it often requires lender approval.
Why do agents work with companies like UpNest?
Agents spend a lot of time and money on marketing to attract new clients. This investment comes with some risk since, even when a client signs, there’s no guarantee they'll actually buy or sell a house with the agent's assistance. Agents only get paid when they close deals.
UpNest takes on a lot of the agent's burden of finding new clients. With UpNest, agents get a steady stream of clients, which helps them focus less on marketing and more on doing what they do best: helping people buy and sell homes.
As a result, agents make less on each individual client referred to them through UpNest, but because UpNest can help them increase their overall number of clients they can be profitable.
Should you work with UpNest?
When we mystery shopped UpNest, all of our agent matches were highly qualified and located nearby. Plus, the service was fast: Our first matches arrived within minutes of signing up. We also liked UpNest's dashboard, which made it easy to compare options.
But we weren't impressed by the savings or customer service.
The best commission rate we got on UpNest was 2% vs. the 2.5-3% that traditional real estate agents charge. In most proposals, the rate was comparable to what you could negotiate with an agent on your own.
UpNest’s customer service was also disappointing. We found it difficult to reach the company; many of our calls and messages went unanswered.
While you can find a good agent on UpNest, we recommend shopping around first. Other agent matching services offer much better customer service, plus better rates. With Clever, for example, you can get a top local real estate agent from a name brand brokerage like Keller Williams or Berkshire Hathaway for just a 1.5% listing fee. That translates to thousands more in savings than you’d get from UpNest.
How does UpNest work for real estate agents?
UpNest can be a source of new customer leads to help grow your business. Since it's one of the most popular agent matching services, it generates a large amount of traffic from potential buyers and sellers.
Like most agent matching services, UpNest charges no upfront fees. You’ll only pay a referral fee after you close a deal with any client UpNest refers to you.
However, unlike some agent matching services, UpNest does have minimum requirements for agents who want to join its network.
Plus, while it sometimes does a good job of screening customer leads, at other times it doesn’t, so it may not be suitable for all agents.
Do agents pay to be on UpNest?
UpNest doesn’t charge any upfront costs or subscription fees. Instead, you will have to pay UpNest a referral fee every time you close a transaction with an UpNest client.
UpNest’s referral fees are 30% for the listing agent and 15% for the buyer’s agent.
Also, while you are not required to lower your commission rate on UpNest, it's highly encouraged since the service is marketed as a place where customers can compare different agent rates.
Most agents we’ve encountered on the platform offer a listing fee of between 2-2.5% and a buyer’s agent commission of 2.5%. This means you’ll often pay a referral fee on what could already be a smaller commission than you’re used to.
How do you become an UpNest agent?
UpNest has the following requirements to join their agent network and start getting leads:
- A current real estate license in good standing
- Closed at least six transactions in the past 12 months
- A minimum of three years of industry experience
- Proven expertise in the local housing market
- Positive customer reviews
- Great communication skills
- An understanding of online marketing techniques and strategies
- Strong online presence (i.e., a Zillow or Realtor.com profile)
After signing up, UpNest also requires agents to respond to referrals within eight hours or to let UpNest know if they cannot. It warns that agents who fail to respond to referrals within that time frame may have their referrals assigned to another agent.
How good are UpNest leads?
UpNest claims it pre-screens customers, although the level of vetting varies from one customer to another.
Often when we mystery shopped UpNest as a home seller, we were instantly matched with an agent before even talking to an UpNest representative. In those cases, we experienced very little pre-screening.
However, we usually soon received a phone call from an UpNest Advisor who asked more detailed questions about what we were looking for in an agent. After this phone call, we were sent additional agents who were more aligned with our criteria.
The point is that some UpNest leads may be properly vetted, others less so. UpNest can be a decent source for new leads, but be aware that other agent matching services, such as Ideal Agent and Clever, do a much better job of vetting leads before sending them onto agents.
A better vetting process means you’re less likely to waste your time with leads that aren’t serious and more time with those who are more likely to close.
UpNest will match you with a real estate agent for free, but you’ll still have to pay commission to that agent. Real estate commission on UpNest varies, but we’ve found it averages out to about 5.2% in total, only marginally better than the nationwide average of 5.37%. Find our complete rankings of the best low commission companies!
When you sign up with UpNest, it will match you with multiple real estate agents in your area. You can then interview these agents and decide which, if any, are right for you. While UpNest claims its model helps reduce realtor commission, we’ve found savings on UpNest are limited. Other companies offer much better rates without skimping on quality. Find discount real estate agents near you!
UpNest’s referral fees — the fees agents pay to be on UpNest — are 30% for listing agents and 15% for buyer’s agents for each closed transaction with an UpNest client.
UpNest and Clever will both match you with a top local realtor. The main difference is that whereas UpNest has no guaranteed savings, Clever pre-negotiates discounted listing fees of 1.5% with its partner agents. That’s substantially lower than the 2-2.5% that is common with UpNest agents. Learn more about how Clever works.
UpNest is an agent matching service, meaning it will match you with a real estate agent, but it doesn’t actually have its own agents. Redfin is a discount broker. It employs its own real estate agents and charges a listing fee of 1.5% — or lower if you choose to sell and buy with Redfin. Read our latest review of Redfin here.
Our team of mystery shoppers spent hundreds of hours testing UpNest and 10 other agent matching services. We signed up for the services using addresses from across the country, with a mix of suburban, urban, and rural locations and a variety of price ranges. Using the data we compiled, we compared UpNest 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. We update this and all of our reviews regularly to ensure our ratings and recommendations are up to date.