What is Clever Real Estate?
Clever Real Estate (or just Clever) is a free nationwide service that matches home buyers and sellers with local real estate agents — and negotiates serious savings on their behalf.
These aren’t discount agents. Clever partners with full-service realtors from all the major brands, like Keller Williams, Century 21, plus top regional brokerages. But you get special rates when you go through Clever instead of finding the same agent on your own. Pretty sweet deal!
My wife and I recently bought our first home and found our real estate agent through Clever. I’m going to break down how Clever’s service works, along with my personal experience using it.
🔎 Summary: Clever Real Estate
4.9 (1,810 reviews)
0.5% of purchase price*
Flat 1% (vs. typical 2.5-3%)
Cost of service
Free with no obligation
Agent network size
Better Business Bureau
*Clever Cash Back available on qualifying purchases in 41 of 50 states
✍️ Editor’s take: Is Clever worth it?
Yes, Clever is 100% worth it: if you’re planning to buy or sell a house and need to find a real estate agent, start your search with Clever. The savings are legit. And it’s totally free to use with no obligation, so there’s no risk in giving it a try.
If Clever matches you with an agent you like, you could save thousands of dollars compared to finding the same agent on your own (we did!). And Clever’s built-in savings and overall value are objectively better than similar alternatives.
If you don’t like any of the agents Clever recommends, you can request more agent matches until you find the right fit — or walk away at any time. It’s also super fast (our first two agent matches came through in minutes), so if it doesn’t work out, you’re not burning much time.
My personal advice: Try Clever, see who they match you with and how much you could save. If it doesn’t work out, just move on. If it does, you’ll get a great agent, service and support, and lots of savings.
How Clever Real Estate works
Clever’s agent matching service is fast and easy. Here’s how it works in a nutshell (I’ll follow with a more detailed, step-by-step breakdown):
- Sign up online: The sign-up process literally takes a few minutes.
- Talk to a Concierge: A licensed Clever customer service rep gives you a call to learn more about your needs and answer questions (note: you can opt out of the call).
- Get your agent matches: Your first agent matches will arrive via text, email, and your Clever dashboard within a few hours (sometimes minutes).
- Decide who to interview: Read up on the agents and decide who you want to talk to (and who you don’t). The agents may also try to contact you, but there’s no obligation or pressure.
- Compare and choose agents: Interview the agents and pick the best fit. You can also request more agent matches — or walk away at any time.
- Buy or sell your house, save money: Once you’ve made your choice, the agent takes it from there. You get 100% full service and support. Plus legit savings (we’re talking thousands).
Step 1: Sign up online
You can sign up for Clever’s matching service by filling out a simple online form online.
You enter a few basic details about your purchase or sale (zip code, target price, timeline, etc.). And voila: you’re finished. It takes about 1–2 minutes.
Step 2: Talk to a Clever Concierge
After you sign up, you’ll get a call from a Clever Concierge, usually within minutes. If it’s outside Clever’s normal customer service hours (7 days a week, 7am–9pm CT), you’ll obviously have to wait.
While the Concierge conversation is optional (you can opt out and just get your agent matches), I recommend picking up the phone for a few key reasons:
- Every Clever Concierge is a licensed real estate agent. In addition to answering questions about Clever’s service, they can also provide general real estate advice and guidance, which is pretty cool.
- Human-driven customer service beats full automation. The conversation is an opportunity to tell the Concierge about your situation, goals, and preferences so they can factor in that nuance and context to recommend agents who are a better fit.
- Clever’s Concierges are super nice and helpful! In an age when frustrating customer service experiences are the new normal, Clever stands apart: everyone I interacted with was super smart, friendly, and genuinely invested in helping me get a good outcome.
Step 3: Get your agent matches
Once you fill Clever in on your needs and preferences, the agent matching process begins.
Exactly how long it takes to get your agent matches can vary depending on where you’re looking to buy or sell and exactly what your needs are. But according to Clever, the first match usually comes through in less than an hour (we got our first two agent matches in minutes).
Our Clever Concierge told me it can sometimes take up to 24 hours for all the matches to be finalized, but ours always came much faster every time we requested them (we requested additional matches a few times as we were considering different areas we might want to try for).
Clever delivers agent matches via group text message and email intros, and in a nifty customer dashboard on Clever’s website.
Step 4: Decide which agents you want to talk to (and which you don’t)
Once you get your agent matches, I recommend doing a little research online. Clever has strict standards for the agents in its network and tailors matches to your needs and preferences, but it’s always a good idea to do your own due diligence.
Take two minutes to do a little Googling and check each agent’s Zillow or Realtor.com profiles to see their current and past sales, customer reviews, and so forth.
If the agent doesn’t seem like a good fit, you don’t have to talk to them. You can opt to only follow up with the agents who seem promising and/or ask Clever to send through additional matches with refined criteria.
If you want to proceed a bit more cautiously, start by reaching out to the agents via text (that’s what we did) or email to set up a call. This also provides an opportunity to test their communication skills and responsiveness. Or you can obviously just cut to the chase and call them right away.
✍️ Editor’s note: Some agents may try to contact you immediately. This is a good indicator that they’re motivated and generally on the ball. If you want an agent to stop contacting you, just let Clever know (though I never found any of them to be pushy or aggressive).
Also note that it’s definitely not a deal breaker if the agent doesn’t respond right away. The best agents have packed schedules. They may be actively showing homes or helping other clients during the day, and therefore not free at the exact moment you get connected.
Step 5: Interview agents and choose the best fit
Now it’s time to actually talk to the agents and decide who you want to work with.
As home buyers, the stakes surrounding our decision felt relatively low: none of the agents we spoke to was looking to lock us into an exclusive contract.
👍 Zero pressure, seamless process, speedy results
I didn’t feel pressured at all throughout the process. I was also aware that, if we started touring homes with an agent and things didn’t click, we could always just ask Clever to send through some more matches.
Candidly, I wasn’t a fan of the first agent I actually spoke to on the phone. Their profile was great, but the personality wasn’t a match.
I immediately had a good feeling about agent #2. We connected via phone on a Saturday afternoon and were touring houses with her on Sunday.
Our agent didn’t pressure us at all. And she was super knowledgeable about the different types of homes, their features, local regulations, and the towns and neighborhoods in general.
We ended up making an offer (and ultimately buying) a house we toured with her the following evening.
⚡️ Clever helped us stay fast and flexible while house hunting
We actually had Clever send through number of agents in different markets throughout the region we were buying in as we were gearing up to get started.
We were house hunting (and now live) in a more rural part of Upstate New York, so we were considering several towns that weren’t exactly right next to one another. Our target markets spanned multiple counties and school districts — and in some cases, a large body of water.
We wanted agents who specialized in each discrete market, so we’d have legit expert guidance no matter where we ended up making an offer. Clever made that super easy for us to do!
When a potential property would pop up in a town we felt might not be in an earlier agent match’s wheelhouse, we just hit up our Clever Concierge for a new match with local expertise.
As I mentioned, we ended up buying with the second agent we spoke to (apologies to the agents we ghosted!). But it was pretty awesome to have that kind of support and flexibility as we were scrambling around, adapting our strategy because of the insane competition among buyers in the region.
✍️ A quick note for sellers: Because most listing agents will have you sign an actual contract if you decide to hire them, it’s a good idea to interview at least 2–3 before making a final decision. This helps ensure you get the best possible fit in terms of both skills and experience, but also customer service approach and personality.
Step 6: Start buying or selling, get ongoing support from Clever
Once you choose your agent and actually get started, Clever continues to check in on your progress and the level and quality of service you’re getting from your agent. It’s really nice to feel like you have some backup in the unlikely event that your agent isn’t delivering on the promised experience, meeting your expectations — or things just aren’t clicking, personality-wise.
Clever can step in and address service quality issues. Or they can “break up” with the agent on your behalf and help you find a new one, so you’re not starting from scratch.
How good are Clever’s partner agents?
Clever vets its partner agents thoroughly. According to its website, Clever works with agents who have solid experience (5+ years), sales records, and customer reviews. It also partners with agents who specialize in specific areas, like short sales or pre-foreclosures, real estate investing, first-time buyers and sellers, military, and more.
The agent we ended up choosing was with one of the top brokerages in our region. She had a really solid profile on Zillow: lots of local experience and recent deals, plus excellent reviews. Had we searched for an agent on our own instead of going through Clever, there's a good chance we would've reached out to her anyway.
Our Concierge also told us that Clever proactively removes agents from its network who don’t live up to its performance and customer service standards.
So while Clever can’t control everything — remember, these are independent agents from name-brand brokerages, not Clever employees — they do a pretty amazing job of ensuring the agents in their network deliver on the promised service and value.
Check out Clever's thousands of 5-star customer reviews to see what I’m talking about.
Do Clever partner agents really provide full service?
Based on my personal experience as a home buyer, Clever’s partner agents absolutely provide full service — and then some.
After submitting our offer, we were subjected to some brutally stressful negotiations that lasted weeks. Our agent was texting and calling us at all hours of the day, seven days a week, to give us updates, answer questions, and help keep our panic attacks to a minimum.
Our agent was also there for the inspection and advocated on our behalf. And she helped us come up with creative ways (contingencies, flexible closing) to get our bid accepted, even though we were offering list price and other buyers were willing to pay (a lot) more.
Then, over a very extended closing timeline (we’re talking 5+ months), our agent...
- Continuously checked in with updates and kept the deal on-track
- Accompanied us on the final walkthrough
- Gave us the customary champagne and flowers after closing
- Consistently brought her emoji A-game when texting 👍 👏
While I can’t personally speak to the seller experience, I’ll again point to the massive number of 5-star reviews (mostly from home sellers) as pretty solid evidence Clever is delivering on the “full service” promise for those customers as well.
Commission savings for Clever buyers and sellers
Clever’s savings for home buyers
Clever offers built-in savings for qualifying buyers who find their agent through its free service. In the 41 of 50 states that allow cash back and rebates for home buyers, Clever buyers can get 0.5% of their purchase price back after closing. That's $2,000 on a $400,000 home.
Your tentative cash back amount gets confirmed when you go under contract. Then you get a digital check within 30 days of closing, which you can direct deposit into your bank account. Easy peasy.
💰 My experience with Clever Cash Back
I can confirm that Clever’s Cash Back offering is 100% legit: we got a check for $2,000 about two weeks after closing.
I can also confirm that, after ransacking our bank account to cover our down payment and closing costs, getting a solid chunk of that money back a few weeks later was pretty freaking awesome. Especially considering we discovered, shortly after moving in, that mice had chewed through all of the electrical wiring above the ceiling in our basement…
Clever is somewhat unique in that it gives you cash back when you buy. Most of its competitors offer commission rebates, which are issued as closing credits, not cash.
The issue with commission rebates is that they’re tied directly to the transaction, so they factor into the underwriting process and terms of the loan. Depending on your loan type and financial situation, a lender may:
- Limit how much of a promised rebate you can spend
- Only allow you to use your rebate for certain costs and not others
- Or even reject the rebate entirely
The benefits of Clever Cash Back
Offerings like Clever Cash Back actually flow around the transaction. Instead of being reapportioned from your agent’s commission check at the closing table, the money comes directly from Clever after the deal is already finished.
As a result, cash back rewards generally aren't subject to lender approval or restrictions. It’s cash in your bank account that you can spend (or save) however you’d like.
I still recommend disclosing Clever Cash Back to your lender, just to be safe. I’m not a lawyer, and there could be situations I’m not aware of where your lender would need to know. But when I informed my loan officer I’d be getting 0.5% cash back after closing, her response was essentially:
“You’re getting it after closing? Yeah, I don’t care then, do your thing.”
Clever Cash Back is available in 41 of 50 states. The following states currently don’t allow cash back or rebates for home buyers:
Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee (though the U.S. Justice Dept. is actively tryingto make them legal everywhere).
Clever also has minimum purchase price criteria for Clever Cash Back:
Clever’s savings for home sellers
I’ve not sold a home with Clever (or at all, just for the record), but here’s a quick overview of how Clever’s seller savings work.
Clever sellers get full service and support for a 1% listing fee vs. the typical 2.5-3% rate most seller’s agents charge.
You should also expect to cover the buyer’s agent fee — an additional 2.5-3% — which will likely be the case no matter the agent or brokerage you sell with (more on that in a moment).
How much can home sellers save with Clever?
A listing fee reduction of 3% → 1% might not sound like a huge difference, but when you’re talking about an asset as valuable as a house, the real-dollar savings are massive.
According to Clever, the average seller in 2022 saved approximately $9,600 (!) compared to what they likely would’ve paid if they’d found the same agent on their own.
Example: Clever seller savings on a $500,000 home
Buyer’s agent fee
After doing a ton of research, I can confirm that Clever has the best rates in the industry right now. And none of its main competitors on price even come close to its service quality.
No matter who you sell with — Clever, some discount brokerage, or a conventional realtor — you’ll likely be encouraged to cover the buyer’s agent fee.
Think of this fee as a built-in cost of marketing your home:
A competitive buyer’s agent commission incentivizes other agents to show your home to their clients. You’ll generally get more offers faster, which will drive up the final sale price and expedite your sale timeline.
Why you should always offer a competitive buyer’s agent fee
When you lowball the buyer’s agent fee, many agents will likely deprioritize showing your home. And if you require the buyer to cover their agent’s fee, you’ll significantly shrink your buyer pool.
Many buyers don’t have the cash on hand to cover another 2.5-3% on top of all the other cash they have to drop on the purchase — or even if they can cover it, they probably won’t want to and may just cross your house off their list.
You’re not really paying the buyer’s agent fee
Most listing agents will bake the total commission (i.e. the fees for both agents) into the list price of the home. So while commission usually comes out of your sale proceeds, it’s actually the buyer who is paying. But including it in the sale price allows them to roll it into their mortgage, which lowers their out-of-pocket costs and makes the purchase more affordable.
Yes! According to Clever (and confirmed by thousands of positive seller reviews), you can expect the same experience, service, and support you’d get if you’d found the same agent on your own and paid their full rate. “Full service” includes all the essentials:
- Home valuation and pricing strategy
- Staging and listing prep advice
- Professional photos
- MLS listing, digital and print advertising
- Showings and/or open houses
- Help with offers and negotiating
- Contract support
- Closing coordination
When you meet with prospective agent matches, they’ll do a listing presentation where they lay out their entire marketing strategy and what type of services and support you can expect. So you’ll ultimately have full control over who you hire and know exactly what to expect coming in.
Clever sellers never have to pay Clever any fee at all for its matching service. You’ll only pay your agent’s reduced fee if and when your home actually sells.
If the agent fails to sell your home or you both agree to end the relationship and go a different direction, you won’t pay anyone anything at all.
Clever’s discounted listing fee rates for home sellers
Clever vs. alternatives
Built-in buyer savings?
Listing fee for sellers
Avg. customer rating
4.9 (1,810 reviews)
3.8 (425 reviews)
4.9 (4,343 reviews)
4.6 (4,267 reviews)
*Typical refund on qualifying purchases **2-3% based on avg commission rates nationwide.
I’ve done a lot of homework on agent matching services, like Clever, as well as discount brokerages like Redfin.
It’s pretty clear cut: Clever objectively offers the best overall rates, savings, and service quality of any similar nationwide brand. Period.
Clever’s agent matching competitors UpNest and Ideal Agent don’t actually offer built-in buyer savings. Redfin offers the “Redfin Refund” on qualifying purchases, but its average rates (0.3%) are generally lower than Clever’s (0.5%) and subject to more limits and restrictions.
Redfin’s 1.5% listing fee is the “best of the rest” but still falls short of Clever’s 1% rate. Plus there are major service quality risks that can come with discount brokerages like Redfin.
Ideal Agent and UpNest offer similar agent quality to Clever (they all match you with highly-rated local agents from name-brand brokerages) but don’t even come close on savings.
Ideal Agent’s 2% listing fees are literally 2x more expensive than Clever’s 1% rates. And UpNest doesn’t offer pre-negotiated rates. While they advertise savings, it seems like many sellers end up paying pretty close to market rates — aka even more than with Ideal Agent.
Clever Real Estate reviews from other customers
Some quick Googling makes it clear that Clever has exceptional reviews from actual Clever customers.
You may also see a lot of “reviews” in Google written by Clever competitors (UpNest, Houwzer, super-sketchy brands like Houzeo and HomeOpenly). I’d ignore these: they’re generally misleading and definitely don’t reflect my experience as a Clever customer...
Trustpilot is the best place to read verified Clever reviews
More places to read (unverified) Clever reviews
- Clever has a 4.7-star average rating on Google based on 67 total reviews.
- Clever has an A+ rating and is fully accredited with the Better Business Bureau.
Key takeaways and themes from Clever customer reviews
I can save you some time: Clever buyers and sellers love Clever.
While any company is going to have a few unhappy customers, it’s actually kind of hard to find legit negative reviews for Clever!
The rare negative review generally seems related to disagreements with agents about target list price (common among home sellers); personality mismatches; or an agent straying from the promised service or pricing model. And as I mentioned before, Clever is great about jumping in and resolving these issues quickly when they (rarely) do occur.
The thousands of positive reviews consistently mention Clever’s…
- Fast and easy matching service
- Amazing Concierge Team
- Dedicated and experienced agents
- Quality and scope of service and support
- And of course, the savings
You see a lot of people saying things like “I thought this was too good to be true, but….”. Like these folks, I can vouch that Clever does indeed live up to the promised quality and value.
The Bottom Line: I recommend Clever to anyone
If you need a realtor, I highly recommend trying Clever first – or at least comparing its matches to other agents and brokerages to see how they stack up.
Clever found us a great local agent who went above and beyond the call of duty, big time. She helped us successfully purchase our first home during what was probably the hardest time to buy a home – maybe ever?
And if that wasn’t enough, we got $2,000 back after closing simply by going through Clever (who charged us nothing) instead of finding the same agent on our own.
I’m not saying Clever is going to work for everyone. But I’ll just reiterate this key point:
If Clever does get you a good match (which they’re very good at, by the way), you’re going to buy or sell with a top local agent from a name-brand brokerage and save literally thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars.
Given the potential upside — and the fact that Clever is free with no obligation — I can’t imagine why everyone wouldn’t at least give this service a try.
FAQ about Clever Real Estate
Is Clever any good?
Yes. As a Clever customer, I can definitely confirm that Clever offers excellent value and service. Clever matched us with a great agent, provided excellent support throughout the home buying process, and gave us $2,000 in cash back after we closed on our home. We didn’t pay Clever (or our agent) a dime! While a lot of people are probably thinking this sounds too good to be true, it’s not. More people should know about Clever, because it’s making real estate more affordable and accessible for consumers across the entire country. Learn more about my experience buying with Clever.
Is Clever a reputable company?
Yes, Clever is a fully licensed brokerage and well-established nationwide service that helps consumers get expert representation and save money when they buy or sell a house. Clever is fully accredited with the Better Business Bureau, with an A+ rating. It has a 4.9-out-of-5-star average customer rating based on more than 1,710 verified reviews on independent review site Trustpilot. You can read Clever customer reviews here.
Who owns Clever Real Estate?
Clever’s CEO is Luke Babich. The St. Louis-based company was co-founded by Babich, Ben Mizes, and Jake Cardenas back in 2017. Clever’s agent matching service is available nationwide, with more than 14,000 agents in its partner network. Clever has raised more than $13.2M in investor funding to date.