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

Written by Elizabeth BoydMay 25th, 20228 minute read

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

Clever Real Estate and UpNest are both free, online services that match you with top-rated, local real estate agents who can help you sell or buy a home. Clever and UpNest are similar in a number of ways, but they differ in a few key areas that really count: savings and customer service.

We did a deep dive into Clever versus UpNest to see how they compare in all the key areas: pricing, service and support, agent quality, agent selection, and customer satisfaction. Here’s what we found.

Bottom line: Clever offers better value overall

Clever Real Estate’s pre-negotiated 1% rates and built-in buyers savings of up to 0.5% cash back after closing kind of blows UpNest out of the water. UpNest offers potential savings by having agents compete for your business through its platform, but it offers no guarantees. In practice, this nets sellers an average 2.2% listing fee, which is more than double Clever’s rate and not much lower than the 2.5–3% rate you’d get from a conventional realtor.

Clever also offers stellar customer service throughout the process from its fully licensed Concierge Team. UpNest doesn’t offer this added benefit.

Beyond the savings and customer service, the Clever and UpNest are pretty similar: They’ll both match you with great local agents from name-brand brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21; you get to compare options and choose the best fit; they have similarly sized, nationwide networks of about 14,000 agents; and they’re free to use with no obligation.

We recommend starting with Clever, which offers the same quality of agents and better potential savings, then moving onto UpNest and other brands if Clever can’t find an agent you like.

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Clever vs. UpNest: At a glance

Avg. savings**
Avg. rating
🏆 Clever
4.9 (1,624 reviews)
4.6 (3,811 reviews)
80+ cities
3.9 (416 reviews)
Ideal Agent
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

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 ranges fall short of Clever (1%), 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.

</p><p><strong>Redfin:</strong> 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 with Clever, you get better, more consistent rates as a seller (1% vs. 1.5%) and buyer (up to 0.5% cash back) vs. (0.3–.75% rebates). </p><p><strong>» MORE: </strong><a href="https://anytimeestimate.com/reviews/clever-vs-redfin/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Clever vs. Redfin: Get the full breakdown here</a></p><p><strong>Ideal Agent: </strong>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 literally double Clever’s built-in 1% listing fee. And unlike Clever, UpNest, and Redfin, Ideal Agent offers no buyer savings opportunities. </p><p>

</p><p><strong>💡 Quick tip:</strong> <strong>Shop around for the best value!</strong></p><p>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.</p><p><strong>» GET STARTED:</strong> <a href="https://go.anytimeestimate.com/anytime-estimate-clever-flat-fee/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Learn about Clever, try it free with no obligation today!</a></p><p>

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 the best of any nationwide, full service real estate brand. Clever pre-negotiates 1% listing fees for sellers nationwide, meaning you’d pay about a third of the price compared to if you’d found that same realtor on your own (note: homes below $350,000 pay just $3,000).

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%.

</p><p><strong>⚠️ Expect to cover the buyer's agent fee too!</strong></p><p>Whether you sell with Clever, UpNest, any other low commission brand —or an agent you find on your own — expect to cover an <em>additional</em> 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 3.5–4%, 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 <a href="https://anytimeestimate.com/home-seller-costs/real-estate-commission-calculator/#how-commission-works" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">how real estate commissions work</a>. </p><p>

Savings for home buyers

Home value: $500,000
🏆 Clever
Refund rate

Clever offers up to 0.5% cash back to buyers in the 42 states that allow commission rebates and cash back incentives for home buyers. That’s $2,500 on a $500,000 home. The cash back comes in the form of a digital check within 30 days of closing. You deposit the money in your bank account and spend it however you’d like.

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.)

</p><p><strong>🔎 Where are buyer rebates legal? </strong>Clever, UpNest, and all low commission brands and conventional realtors alike can offer rebates in only 42 states and Washington, DC. Currently, AK, KS, LA, MS, MO, OK, OR, and TN do not allow rebates. </p><p><strong>» MORE:</strong> <a href="https://go.anytimeestimate.com/anytime-estimate-clever-flat-fee/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Learn about Clever Cash Back and if you qualify here</a></p><p>

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 (1,624)
4.6 (3,811)

Clever beats UpNest in customer satisfaction. Clever has a 4.9 average customer rating versus UpNest’s 4.6. But UpNest has more than twice as many reviews since it’s been around longer. 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% listing fee vs. UpNest’s 2.2% average).
  • Better cash back for buyers: Eligible Clever buyers get up to 0.5% cash back guaranteed. UpNest buyers may or may not earn a buyer rebate.
  • Flexible cash back: Clever buyers can spend Clever Cash Back checks on whatever they want. UpNest buyers have to apply cash back checks to closing costs.
  • Better customer service: Clever has better customer satisfaction ratings and a dedicated concierge customer support team.

💰Better agents, better rates, zero hassle.

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