Redfin vs. UpNest: Which Is the Better Value?

Written by Elizabeth BoydSeptember 8th, 202211 minute read

Jump to section: Quick compare | Top alternatives | Pricing and savings | Service and support | Agent quality | Agent selection | Customer reviews | Article summary

Redfin and UpNest can both help you find an agent to sell or buy and save some money. But the two companies work in fundamentally different ways, each bringing its own benefits and drawbacks.

Redfin uses in-house agents and technology to handle more transactions per agent. This high-volume approach lets it offer set 1.5% listing fees (vs. typical 2.5-3%), but may result in less hands-on service and support. Redfin also offers potential buyer savings, via commission rebates, but there are no guarantees here and other brands have better offerings.

» SAVE: Top local realtors, 100% full service, lower listing fees than Redfin and UpNest (learn more)

UpNest has conventional realtors compete for your business on its platform, which theoretically drives lower rates; however, there are no guarantees, and the savings can be pretty meh (think ~2.2% vs. 2.5-3%). Same goes for buyer rebate savings. You willget the service and support of a conventional realtor, but without much added benefit over approaching them on your own.

This guide breaks down everything you need to know about Redfin vs. UpNest – along with some other brands that may offer even better value – so you can choose the best brand or service for your needs and goals.

Bottom line: There are better options than Redfin and UpNest

Between Redfin and UpNest, Redfin offers better guaranteed savings, with some potential service-quality risks. UpNest probably wins on agent quality and service, but savings aren’t guaranteed and can be marginal compared to conventional realtor pricing.

There are some other brands out there offering better value out the gate. We recommend checking out Clever Real Estate because it offers the best of both worlds. Like UpNest, Clever matches you with top-rated local agents from name-brand brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21. But Clever pre-negotiates 1% listing fees, which is even lower than Redfin’s 1.5% rate.

Ultimately, the most important thing is finding the best agent for the job. Interviewing agents through Redfin, UpNest, Clever – any brokerage – is free with no obligation, so there’s no risk in shopping around and seeing how the agents and offerings stack up. Start with the brands that offer the best value overall (Clever), then work your way down the list.

💰Try Clever’s free agent matching service!

Match with top local agents, compare options, save thousands. 100% free with no obligation.

Bottom line: Redfin vs. UpNest vs. top alternatives

Company
Listing fee
Avg savings**
Availability
Avg rating
2.2%*
$3,200
Nationwide
4.6 (3,794 reviews)
1.5%
$5,550
100+ cities
3.9 (416 reviews)
1%
$7,375
Nationwide
4.9 (1,710 reviews)
2%
$3,750
Nationwide
4.9 (2,717 reviews)
*Average UpNest listing fee. Actual rates vary. **Average savings vs 3% listing fee at four price points: $100k, $250k, $500k, $750k

» COMPARE: Best low commission real estate companies in 2022

Redfin and UpNest are on our short-list of top 5 low commission real estate brands. But candidly, they’re closer to the bottom. Companies like Ideal Agent and Clever Real Estate offer comparable (or lower, in Clever’s case) rates along with better service and support from both the agents and in-house customer service teams.

Clever Real Estate: Clever is an agent matching service that pre-negotiates low 1% listing fees with top-rated local agents from name-brand brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, and more. Like UpNest, it’s free to use with no obligation, has nationwide coverage (14,000 agents), and provides multiple agent matches so you can compare and choose the best fit. But it has guaranteed 1% listing fee rates for sellers and up to 0.5% cash back for buyers – both of which have Redfin beat. You also get additional support from its fully licensed, in-house Concierge Team, which is a big value add.

» FULL GUIDES: UpNest vs. Clever | Redfin vs. Clever | Houwzer vs. Redfin

Ideal Agent: Ideal Agent is an agent matching service, like Clever and UpNest. It's got UpNest beat on the discounted fees: it pre-negotiates 2% listing fees with all its partner agents. But that’s more expensive than Redfin and 2x Clever’s pre-negotiated rates! Ideal Agent is also the only brand on this list that offers no potential home buyer savings. Unlike Clever and UpNest, Ideal Agent only matches you with a single realtor (its agent network is much smaller than UpNest and Clever’s), so instead of being to compare and choose, it’s take it or leave it.

💡 Quick tip: Shop around for the best value

Redfin, UpNest, Ideal Agent, and Clever are all no-obligation services. There’s zero risk in signing up for a few (or all) to see how they stack up. Clever is a good starting point, since it offers the best value overall, but ultimately the most important thing is finding the best agent for the job. Shop around for the best fit and value.

» GET STARTED: Learn about Clever, try it free with no obligation today!

Redfin vs. UpNest: In-depth breakdown

Redfin is a popular home search tool and real estate brokerage that offers discounted real estate agent services for home sellers and buyers. Sellers can list their homes with a Redfin Agent for 1.5% vs. the typical 2.5-3% rate. Buyers can qualify for a commission rebate at closing, though this isn’t guaranteed.

UpNest is slightly different: It’s an agent matching service that connects sellers and buyers with local realtors from conventional brokerages like RE/MAX and Century 21. Agents submit proposals and compete for your business on UpNest’s platform, which theoretically drives savings. But there are no guarantees and rates are usually only slightly lower than the conventional 2.5-3% average.

Pricing and savings

Savings for home sellers

Commission fees
UpNest
🏆 Redfin
Listing fee
2.2%
1.5%
Buyer’s agent fee
2.5–3%
2.5–3%
Total commission rate
4.7–5.2%
4–4.5%

If you sell your house with a Redfin agent, you'll pay 1.5% of the purchase price in listing fees to your real estate agent. That’s $5,625 on a $375,000 house.

If you find your agent through UpNest, expect a listing fee of about 2.2%. That’s about $8,250 for that same $375,000 house! Of course, with UpNest, your rates may be higher or lower depending on a number of factors, such as local market rates, your home’s value, buyer demand in your area, and more.

When you go through Clever, your listing fee drops to 1%. Using the same home sale example, actual listing fee cost would drop to $3,750 – a savings premium of $1,875 over Redfin and $4,500 over UpNest!

⚠️ Don’t forget about the buyer’s agent fee!

Whether you sell with Redfin, UpNest, Clever, or a conventional realtor, expect to cover the buyer’s agent fee as well as your own agent’s listing fee. This incentivizes buyers agents to show your home to their clients, which helps you attract more offers to sell faster and for more money. And it’s a standard expense that the listing broker typically has no control over.

Buyer’s agent commission rates vary by market, but 2.5-3% is typical nationwide. So that would bring your expected total commission rate with UpNest to 4.7-5.2%, with Redfin to 4-4.5%, and with Clever to 3.5-4%.

Still a hefty price tag, but remember: these fees usually come out of your sale proceeds, not your pocket — and these brands still bring significant discounts compared to the 5-6% total commission most conventional realtors charge. You can learn more about how real estate commissions work here.

Savings for home buyers

Home value: $500k
Redfin
UpNest
Refund rate
0.22%
0.30–0.75%
Savings
$1,100
$1,500–$3,750

Buyers typically don’t pay their agent’s fee directly, out of their own pocket. So buying with an agent already feels free. But some brokerages and agents will actually share a portion of the commission they collect on the deal with their buyer client, as an added benefit (or incentive) to work with them.

Redfin and UpNest both offer potential buyer rebates — but neither scores very high marks relative to offerings by some top competitors.

Details on the Redfin Refund (Redfin's rebate offering) are hard to come by. There’s no concrete eligibility criteria on its website. And if you do qualify, there’s no concrete info on how much you’ll actually get back. Our research indicates Redfin Refund amounts typically range from about 0.22 to 0.25%. That would be around $825–$938 back on a $375,000 home purchase.

UpNest’s rebate is similarly murky, if not more so. This is because it's up to the agents on its platform to decide whether to offer one and, if they do, how much. In other words, like the listing fee rates, no guarantees here. Our research indicates a typical rebate range of 0.30-0.75%, when actually offered. But you’ll need to comb through the proposals and see what you can get.

Other brands may offer better buyer savings

We recommend checking out Clever Real Estate’s Cash Back offering, as it offers some benefits offer both Redfin and UpNest’s rebate programs:

  • Clear eligibility criteria, so you know (a) if you qualify and (b) what you’ll get
  • Bigger savings: 0.5% cash back on qualifying purchases, guaranteed
  • It’s cash, not a closing credit, so you can spend however you want (credits can usually only be spent on closing costs)
  • It’s issued shortly after closing, outside the transaction, so isn’t subject to lender approval

» MORE: Learn about Clever Cash Back and how much you could save

👉 A few quick notes on home buyer rebates: No matter who you buy with, home buyer rebates and cash back are currently only legal in 42 of 50 U.S. states. If you’re buying in AL, KS, LA, MI, MO, OK, OR, or TN, you won’t be able to get a rebate or cash back. Also, even if you’re doing a cash back program like Clever’s, it’s still a good idea to disclose it to your lender just to be safe, even though it doesn’t technically require their approval.

Services

UpNest matches you with conventional realtors from major brands (Century 21, RE/MAX, etc.) and top regional brokerages. So expect that traditional, and more personalized, service and support throughout your sale.

Redfin, on the other hand, leverages a team-based approach and technology to streamline its operations and handle a higher volume of clients per agent. This helps them lower margins to offset their lower rates.

The upshot is that, with Redfin, you’ll get all those typical services (photos, pricing help, negotiating support, etc.) but the overall experience and delivery of those services might be a little different (read: more hands-off, less personalized). This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s definitely something to consider as you’re weighing your choices.

💰 Work with top local realtors, save thousands!

Clever pre-negotiates low rates with the best agents in your area.
Get 100% full service for a 1% listing fee.
Try it today for free with no obligation.

> Get started! <

Agent quality and experience

Both UpNest and Redfin can team you up with qualified agents — but as with any brokerage, there’s always going to be a mix of good and bad. So shop around and be choosy!

UpNest has minimum quality criteria for agents in its network, requiring at least three years of experience and a proven track record of sales and positive reviews. But ultimately, the most important thing is compatibility: Is the agent a good fit for you and your needs?

Redfin’s standards aren't as stringent as agent matching services like UpNest and Clever. It definitely has some legit, experienced agents, but it also accepts newly licensed agents. Keep in mind that you’ll also be working with a team, not just your lead agent.

Conventional brokerages will sometimes employ a team-based approach as well — and this isn’t always a dealbreaker. But it’s a core feature of Redfin’s operational model and does create some risks for you as a customer.

Once again, it’s really a matter of personal preference and the circumstances of your sale. Do you prefer a more hands-on, personalized experience? Are there any tricky factors in your sale that require more direct oversight? That's why it's so critical to shop around and get a feel for different agents’ personalities and approaches to ensure you’re hiring the best person (or team) for the job.

Agent selection and availability

UpNest has more coverage and agent selection than Redfin. UpNest offers access to 14,000 agents nationwide, which makes it available in smaller cities, as well as suburban and rural areas that Redfin doesn’t cover. Like other agent matching services (Clever, HomeLight), it typically presents multiple agent matches so you can compare and choose.

Redfin doesn’t offer nationwide coverage. It primarily targets larger cities and higher population areas. It currently has about 2,400 agents spread across approximately 100 markets in North America. In major cities like Houston and Los Angeles, you may be able to choose between multiple agents. But in many areas, there may only be two or even one agent to choose from. And if you’re outside of a Redfin market, you’re out of luck.

We recommend always shopping around and interviewing at least 2-3 agents before making a final decision to get the best fit. And if savings are a consideration, reach out to a few different brands to see how the pricing vs. service breaks down. Again, we recommend starting with Clever, as it offers the same coverage and selection as UpNest and lower rates than Redfin. But it never hurts to shop multiple brands and see who brings the best fit and value for your needs!

Customer reviews

Company
Avg. customer rating
Read reviews
Redfin
3.9 (416)
UpNest
4.6 (3,764)

Customer satisfaction is always a great (if not the best) indicator of value and quality when choosing between service providers. In a head-to-head customer rating battle on third-party review sites, UpNest (4.6) seemingly trounces Redfin (3.9). But that's not a complete picture.

Most of Redfin’s reviews for individual agents are housed within its own website. So if you want to get the low-down on a particular agent, you’ll have to look there. That said, the 3.9 average rating does send some negative signals.

UpNest’s customer reviews on third-party sites are a mix: Some are focused on the matching service itself, others on the experience with the agents. A 4.6 average rating is solid, but it’s not quite on the level of some top competitors like Clever (4.9) and Ideal Agent (4.9).

⚠️ Remember: Choosing an agent is personal

Everyone assesses agent quality and fit based on their individual experiences and needs. For example, your neighbor may rave about Agent X due to their friendly, talkative approach to sales. But you find them time-consuming and distracting because your no-nonsense approach doesn't mesh well with Agent X. That's why it's critical to talk to and meet with a range of different agents to learn how they'll work with you. That's the most effective way to know who and what you're signing up for.

Quick summary: Clever vs. UpNest

Redfin and UpNest offer clients quality real estate agents at discounted rates with related strengths and weaknesses. But, discount real estate matching service Clever Real Estate offers the complete package with excellent agent selection, outstanding customer support, and the lowest rates. However, if you're still unsure, we suggest trying all three. There's no risk, and you can personally determine who will work best for you at the most affordable rate.

How Redfin and UpNest are similar

  • Match clients with realtors who can help buy or sell homes.
  • Agents charge fees below the standard market rate (2.5-3%).
  • No obligation to hire any agent that you interview
  • No upfront fees for sellers – only pay if and when a deal closes
  • No fees for buyers at all
  • Buyer rebates are subject to strict lender approval terms and typically must be used to lower closing costs.

How Redfin and UpNest are different

  • Redfin's listing fee (1.5%) is lower than UpNest's average listing rate (2.2%).
  • UpNest provides better agent coverage and selection (14,000 agents nationwide) than Redfin (about 2,400 agents in 100 markets).
  • Redfin hires agents with a wide range of experience, from newbies to seasoned pros.
  • UpNest partners with agents from conventional brokerages (Century 21, Keller Williams, RE/MAX), offering a traditional realtor experience from experienced pros.
  • Redfin clients may have to work with multiple agents during their sales or purchasing process due to Redfin's team approach.
  • Customers rate UpNest higher (4.6) than they rate Redfin (3.9).
  • Some UpNest agents offer buyer rebates, while others don’t.
  • Redfin buyers may qualify for a small rebate (0.22-0.25%).

Why Clever beats both UpNest and Redfin

  • 1% listing fees beat Redfin (1.5%) and UpNest (2.2% avg)
  • Eligible buyers get up to 0.5% cash back
  • Nationwide coverage with 14,000 partner agents
  • Choose between vetted local agents from major brands and brokerages
  • Higher customer satisfaction rating (4.9) than Redfin (3.9) and UpNest (4.6)

💰Better agents, better rates, zero hassle.

Try Clever’s free agent matching service today with zero obligation. Learn how much you can save!