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 flat 1% listing fee instead of the usual 2.5-3% rate (according to Clever, the average seller saves about $9,600). And buyers can get 0.5% cash back on their purchase price after closing (that's $2,000 on a $400,000 home).
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 more than double Clever's 1% 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.
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Clever vs. UpNest: At a glance
4.9 (1,810 reviews)
4.6 (4,267 reviews)
3.8 (425 reviews)
4.9 (4,343 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
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%), 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 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).
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 literally double Clever’s built-in 1% listing fee. And unlike Clever, UpNest, and Redfin, Ideal Agent offers no buyer savings opportunities.
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
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%.
Savings for home buyers
Home value: $500,000
Clever offers 0.5% cash back to qualifying buyers in the 41 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.)
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.
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% 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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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% 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 more than 2x higher than Clever's 1% 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 flat 1% listing fees 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.