UpNest vs. Clever Real Estate: Which Offers More Value?

Written by Elizabeth BoydJanuary 23rd, 20239 minute read

Jump to section: Bottom line | Quick compare | Pricing and savings | Service and support | Agent quality | Agent selection | Customer reviews | Summary | FAQ

UpNest and Clever Real Estate are both online services that match you with top-rated, local real estate agents who can help you sell or buy a home. They're also both available nationwide and totally free to use as a seller or buyer.

But UpNest and Clever differ in two key areas: savings and customer service.

We did a deep dive into UpNest vs. Clever to help you understand how they stack up so you can choose the best value. Here's what you need to know.

Bottom line: Clever offers better value overall

Clever Real Estate offers more value than UpNest. Both match you with highly rated agents from legit brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21 (in fact, many agents work with both companies). But Clever's pre-negotiated low rates blow UpNest's non-guaranteed rates out of the water.

Clever sellers get full service and support for a low 1.5% listing fee instead of the usual 2.5-3% rate (according to Clever, the average seller saves about $7,000). And eligible buyers can get cash back on their purchase price after closing.

UpNest offers no guaranteed built-in savings for sellers or buyers. It looks to drive savings via competition in its "online marketplace" — but in practice, its rates are pretty similar to what you could manage on your own. UpNest's average listing fee for sellers is ~2.2%. That's quite a bit higher than Clever's 1.5% fee, and not much lower than the typical 2.5-3% rate.

💡Our advice: Start with Clever. Clever gets you the same agents and substantially lower rates. If Clever can't find an agent you like, then reach out to UpNest and other brands who have good quality but worse (or no) built-in savings.

Try Clever's free agent matching service!

Match with top local realtors, get full service, save thousands. 100% free with no obligation.

Clever vs. UpNest: At a glance

Avg. rating
🏆 Clever
4.9 (1,995 reviews)
4.6 (5,093 reviews)
80+ cities
3.7 (301 reviews)
4.9 (5,842 reviews)
*Average UpNest listing fee, rates not guaranteed so may vary.**Average savings vs. 3% listing fee at four price points: $100k, $250k, $500k, $750k

» COMPARE: Best low commission real estate companies in 2022

Clever vs. UpNest vs. alternatives

When you compare Clever and UpNest to other top alternatives, Clever is still the clear winner. Clever offers the best overall savings and service of any nationwide full-service real estate company. UpNest scores high on the agent quality and selection front, but its average rates fall short of Clever (1.5%), Redfin (1.5%), and Ideal Agent (2%).

We recommend starting with the biggest possible savings and working your way down the list. If hands-on service and support is also a major concern, consider bumping Redfin to the bottom of your short list.

» MORE: Learn more about Clever here

Redfin: Redfin is a discount brokerage that offers seller savings (1.5% listing fees) and potential buyer savings (eligible buyers get back 0.3–.75% rebates, on average). When you sell or buy with Redfin, you’ll work with its in-house agents and may get less hands-on service and support (much of the process is managed via technology and a team-based approach). Clever and UpNest match you with conventional realtors for that classic 1:1 customer service experience. And sellers who work with Clever get the benefit of a low 1.5% listing fee, in addition to hands-on support from a top agent.

» MORE: Clever vs. Redfin: Get the full breakdown here

Ideal Agent: Like Clever and UpNest, Ideal Agent is an agent matching service, but there are a few key differences: Ideal Agent matches you with only a single agent, and it has a much smaller overall network (about 2,000 agents nationwide vs. Clever’s and UpNest’s respective 14,000-agent networks). It offers built-in seller savings (2% listing fees), which may beat UpNest on a good day (again, UpNest’s rates are variable), but it’s still higher than Clever’s built-in 1.5% listing fee. And unlike Clever, UpNest, and Redfin, Ideal Agent offers no buyer savings opportunities.

⚡️ Quick tip: Shop around for the best value!

Clever, UpNest, Ideal Agent, and Redfin are all no-obligation services. There’s absolutely zero harm in reaching out to a few brands (or all of them) and giving yourself more options. We recommend starting with the brand offering the most value (Clever) and working your way down the list. But more options are always better. Shop around, compare rates and agents (experience, personality), and pick the best fit. Finding the right agent for the job is ultimately going to be more important than saving a fraction of a percentage on your listing fee.

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

Clever vs. UpNest: In-depth breakdown

Clever and UpNest are both free, nationwide services that match home sellers and buyers with local real estate agents from name-brand brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21. You tell them about your sale or purchase and needs, they recommend local agents, you compare options and choose the best fit.

The key difference: Savings

Clever sends its partners a steady stream of new business, which gives it leverage to pre-negotiate low rates and built-in savings with the agents in its network. That means every seller and buyer gets the same savings, no matter what—and they can just worry about choosing the best agent for the job.

UpNest, on the other hand, looks to drive savings through competition: agents on UpNest’s platform submit proposals and compete for new business. In theory, this “marketplace model” generates lower rates for sellers and rebates for buyers. In practice, it’s pretty similar to the “open market” outside of UpNest’s platform, which means your rates might not be super different than what you’d get on your own.

Clever vs. UpNest: Pricing and savings

Savings for home sellers

Commission fees
🏆 Clever
Listing fee
Buyer’s agent fee
Total commission rate

Clever’s seller fees and average savings are among the best of any nationwide, full service real estate brand. Clever pre-negotiates 1.5% listing fees for sellers nationwide, meaning you’d pay half of the price compared to if you’d found that same realtor on your own.

UpNest’s rates vary by market and home sale, making it hard to pin down an actual price point. But based on mystery shopping and data on UpNest’s website, expect an average listing fee of about 2.2% — pretty similar to the typical market rate of 2.5-3%.

⚠️ Expect to cover the buyer's agent fee too!

Whether you sell with Clever, UpNest, any other low commission brand —or an agent you find on your own — expect to cover an additional buyer’s agent commission on top of the listing fee. Rates vary and are negotiable, but 2.5–3% is typical. That would bring your total commission fee with Clever to about 4–4.5%, which is significantly less than the typical 5–6% total. UpNest's average 5.2% total commission is generally in line with typical market rates, which means the potential savings are minimal. Learn more about how real estate commissions work.

Savings for home buyers

Clever offers cash back to qualifying buyers in the 41 states that allow commission rebates and cash back incentives for home buyers. As a home buyer, you'll get matched with top buyer's agents in your area. You can interview as many agents as you'd like until you find the right fit — or walk away at any time with no obligation.

» Try Clever: Match with the best buyer's agents in your area today

UpNest handles buyer savings the same way it handles its listing fee discounts: the agents decide what to offer. Not all UpNest agents will offer rebates, and you’ll have to compare different offerings across different proposals vs. the experience and qualifications of the various agents. Note that these rebates also typically come in the form of credits, which require lender approval and can usually be spent only in certain ways (buy points on the mortgage, cover closing costs, etc.)

🔎 Where are buyer rebates legal? Clever, UpNest, and all low commission brands and conventional realtors alike can offer rebates in only 41 states and Washington, DC. Currently, AK, IA, KS, LA, MS, MO, OK, OR, and TN do not allow rebates.

» MORE: Learn about home buyer rebates and cash back here

Clever vs. UpNest: Customer experience

Clever and UpNest both match you with agents quickly (within a few hours at most) and have easy-to-use platforms. But Clever’s process is more personalized. You can talk to a licensed Clever Concierge who will ask you about your situation to give you better matches. With UpNest, everything is automated, which leads to less customized matches. There’s also not much available support if issues arise.

That said, many agents work with both Clever and UpNest. And these agents offer the same service and support to their clients through these platforms that they would if a client found them independently. But when you work with Clever and UpNest, you’ll pay less commission. Working through Clever, you’ll pay roughly one third the listing fee rate that you’ll pay through UpNest.

Agent quality and experience

Agent quality and experience are evenly matched between Clever and UpNest. But Clever applies a more tailored approach to matching clients with agents. That means you are more likely to see agents in your match results who align with what you want. Regardless, sellers and buyers can benefit from shopping around and interviewing top candidates to find a good fit.

Clever and UpNest partner with many of the same real estate professionals, and both agencies set stringent qualification standards. Their criteria include positive customer reviews, responsiveness, exceptional communication, and winning real estate sales backgrounds. In addition, Clever looks for a minimum of five years of experience, while UpNest sets the bar at three years.

Agent selection and availability

Clever and UpNest are equally matched when it comes to market coverage. Both companies have nationwide networks of over 14,000 agents. Clever and UpNest both start by matching you with 2–3 agents. If none are a good fit, you can request more agents to interview. Since agent selection and availability are comparable, Clever wins our vote here with its guaranteed, built-in savings.

Customer reviews

Avg. customer rating
Read reviews
Clever Real Estate
4.9 (1,995)

4.6 (5,093)

Clever beats UpNest in customer satisfaction. Clever has a 4.9 average customer rating versus UpNest’s 4.6 average rating. UpNest has more total reviews, but it's also been around longer than Clever. It’s worth mentioning that a common complaint by UpNest customers is unresponsive customer service. In contrast, Clever’s dedicated concierge team of fully licensed customer service representatives is a key benefit.

Quick summary: Clever vs. UpNest

Although Clever and UpNest are both nationwide agent matching services, Clever offers the most significant and consistent value to its customers.

How Clever and UpNest are the same

  • Match sellers and buyers with top-rated real estate agents from conventional, name-brand brokerages
  • Work with only highly qualified agents with legit track records
  • Offer nationwide coverage with a large pool of real estate agents to choose from
  • Provide their matching services free of charge with no obligation
  • Offer built-in savings for home sellers and buyers as an added benefit

Why we pick Clever over UpNest

  • More built-in savings: Clever guarantees the most built-in savings (1.5% listing fee vs. UpNest’s 2.2% average).
  • Better service for buyers: Eligible Clever buyers can earn cash back after closing. UpNest buyers may or may not earn a buyer rebate.
  • Better customer service: Clever has better customer satisfaction ratings and a dedicated concierge customer support team.

💰Better agents, better rates, zero hassle.

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

FAQ about Clever vs. UpNest

Clever Real Estate has better rates than UpNest. If you go through Clever, you get full service and support from a top-producing local agent for just 1.5% instead of their usual 2-2.5% rate — no matter what. UpNest doesn't pre-negotiate or guarantee rates, so your costs and savings will vary depending on your market and the specifics of your sale (price, location, home type, condition, etc.). UpNest has stated in the past that its average listing fee is ~2.2%, which is significantly higher than Clever's 1.5% listing fee and not far off the typical 2.5-3% market rate. Learn more about Clever and UpNest fees and savings here.

Clever and UpNest are similar in many ways, but differ in two key areas: savings and customer service. Clever pre-negotiates a low 1.5% listing fee with the agents in its network. UpNest doesn't pre-negotiate rates — the agents compete for your business, so actual rates and savings vary (and can be marginal). Clever also offers ongoing Concierge support throughout your sale or purchase from its in-house team of fully licensed real estate agents. UpNest doesn't offer this service. In terms of agent quality and the network size, Clever and UpNest are pretty comparable: both have ~14,000 agents nationwide and vet agents based on experience, sales records, and customer reviews. Read the in-depth breakdown of UpNest vs. Clever here.