Clever Real Estate review: What it is and how it works
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Between finding an agent, choosing a list price, staging and dealing with showings, selling your home can feel like a huge hassle. Most sellers must pay real estate commissions that eat into their proceeds from the sale — and on the flip side of the transaction, most buyers are saddled with sizable closing costs.
Clever is a website that aims to match both homebuyers and sellers with the right real estate agent for their needs. Sellers benefit by paying a lower commission on the sale, and in most markets, buyers can receive a small cash-back rebate after closing. Read on for everything you need to know about the company.
What is Clever Real Estate?
Founded in 2017, Clever’s stated mission is “making selling or buying a home easier and more affordable for everyone.” It offers a variety of services, including data-driven research to help you determine the value of a home and educational resources like reviews and guides. But primarily it’s an agent-matching service: Its network of 14,000 affiliated agents covers all 50 states, and it provides users with a free list of suggested agents who are a good fit with their specific needs. All its agents offer discounts to clients who engage them via Clever.
How does Clever Real Estate work?
Clever helps its customers compare buyer’s or seller’s agents from major brokerages, including Century 21, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, eXp and Coldwell Banker. The company says it vets its agents to ensure they are top producers who perform in the upper 5 percent of their markets. The agents pay the company a portion of their commission when they close a transaction.
To use the service, you’ll provide a few details about your goals. If you’re selling, that means describing your property. If you’re buying, that means outlining the type of property you want to buy and where you want it to be. Clever then provides a list of agents that seem like a good fit for your situation. You can interview each agent to decide which one is right for you — and if you’re not happy with any of them, you can request more or walk away without any obligation.
For home sellers, the benefit of using Clever is discounted rates. Clever sellers pay a “listing fee” of 1.5 percent of the home’s price, which is about half of the typical 3 percent commission a seller would traditionally pay their agent. The site says its sellers receive offers on their homes nearly three times faster than the national average.
Buyers in most states (41 out of the 50) are eligible for what the company calls Clever Cash Back, which provides a rebate of $250 to homebuyers and $500 for customers who both buy and sell a home with Clever.
Is Clever worth it?
Clever’s agent-matching service is free. There is no fee for buyers who use the company, and sellers pay the 1.5 percent fee only if the home actually sells. So financially speaking, yes, it’s worth it to give the service a try. But as with anything, there are pros and cons to consider:
- Nationwide coverage: Clever works with a network of 14,000 agents spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
- Low listing fee for sellers: The company’s 1.5 percent listing fee is lower than the typical 2.5 or 3 percent sellers would normally pay their agent in commission. The difference can save you several thousand dollars, especially on higher-priced homes.
- Cash back for buyers: Buyers in most states can get $250 back when they buy with a Clever agent, and $500 when they both buy and sell with one.
- $3,000 minimum fee: Though Clever’s listing fee is technically 1.5 percent of the home’s price, there is a minimum of $3,000, which can make it a more expensive way to sell lower-priced homes ($3,000 equates to 1.5 percent of $200,000).
- Cash back not available in all states: The Clever Cash Back rebate program is not available in nine states, so not all buyers will be able to benefit from it.
- Geographical limitations: Despite some level of coverage in every state, there are still some areas where Clever might not have local agents — especially in less populous areas.
Clever is not the only company out there that can help you buy or sell a home. Here are a few other options to consider.
- Companies such as UpNest and Ideal Agent also help users find agents and offer discounted commissions.
- Many companies can make very fast cash offers on homes, including iBuyers like Opendoor and Offerpad and homebuying companies like We Buy Houses.
- Clever’s agents are fully licensed real estate pros, but finding a local agent on your own can also serve you well. For example, someone who works exclusively in your neighborhood or who comes highly recommended by a friend or relative may be able to help you secure a better deal.
- Bankrate can also help you find a real estate agent in your area.
Real estate is complicated, and buyers and sellers can both benefit from some professional expertise. It’s smart to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who you trust, whether you find them through a service like Clever or some other way.
Local agents know their market and its unique conditions, and they are trained and licensed to help customers buy and sell homes in that area. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple agents — you may have to talk with several candidates before you find someone you really click with who understands your needs and preferences.
Yes, Clever is legit. It was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Saint Louis, Missouri. Its co-founder and CEO is Luke Babich.
Like all real estate agents, Redfin and Clever agents must pass an exam to earn their license. Redfin agents are directly employed by Redfin. Clever does not directly employ agents — instead, it matches customers with agents employed by major brokerages. These agents pay Clever a percentage of their commission on closed transactions in exchange for the business that’s referred to them.
Clever’s agent-matching service is free, yes. And buyers who purchase a home with a Clever agent also do not pay any fees. Sellers who sell their home via Clever pay a “listing fee” of 1.5 percent, which is about half of what a seller would normally pay their real estate agent in commission — not free, but a substantial discount.