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13 min read Feb 03, 2024

Clever Real Estate Reviews: Consumer Warning & Alternatives


Clever Real Estate is a middleman between you and the agent. For this, Clever charges 30% commission as referral fees.

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  • Clever is available nationwide


  • NOT Free. Charges approx 1.5% commission
  • Brokers complain of consumer privacy violations
  • Connects sellers with discount brokers
  • Directs consumers to poor options to collect fees

Clever Real Estate is a nationwide agent-matching service that acts as a middleman between you and real estate agents. Once you register on Clever’s website, they sell your contact info as a lead to an agent in Clever’s partner network.

Clever claims to be a “100% free” service. This is not true. This claim also violates the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics which most agents Clever matches you with are subject to. Clever will match you with an agent who will charge you a 1.5% commission. Clever will then collect 30% of that “Gross Commission” you paid to the agent back as a “Service Fee” for sending them your information as a “Lead”.

While falsely claiming it is “100% free”, Clever has earned millions in these “Service Fees”. Most consumers never find out about these service fees. According to our research, Clever also engages in privacy violations and false advertising.

✍️ Editor’s Take: We do not recommend listing with Clever Real Estate. Instead, you should choose more ethical services like and You’ll save thousands and won’t be ripped off.

What is Clever Real Estate?

Clever Real Estate is a licensed brokerage in Missouri. However, they do not offer traditional brokerage services. They simply match the seller or buyer with a real estate agent from companies like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. And that’s it.

These agents then offer their services to sellers at a discounted rate. They charge a 1.5% listing fee, or a minimum of $3,000, instead of the usual 3%.

Clever claims that these discounted rates can save sellers almost $7,000. But that’s not typically true. Clever targets home sellers looking for For Sale By Owner, Flat Fee MLS, and Discount Broker options. Most services these home sellers are looking for are much cheaper

Is Clever Real Estate Legitimate?

Yes, Clever Real Estate Inc. is a legit company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. It was founded by Benjamin Lee Mizes, Jake Cardenas, Jeremy Decker, and Luke Babich in 2017.

The Clever referral network has over 14,000 partner agents across America. But, there’s a catch. claims that their agents aren’t discount real estate brokers. During our research, we found out that several Clever Realtors are, in fact, discount brokers offering limited services.

Many of these discount brokers Clever works with offer their services for a few hundred dollars, 0.5%, or 1% commissions. If you go through Clever Real Estate, you’ll have to pay 1.5% commission.

This calls Clever Real Estate’s legitimacy into question.

How Does Clever Real Estate Work?

Clever Real Estate targets home sellers looking to save on commissions. These homesellers are typically looking for For Sale By Owner Websites, Flat Fee MLS services, or discount real estate brokers.

Clever then pitches poor options to these home sellers and recommends them to instead list with Clever Real Estate. A home seller who could’ve saved thousands in commission by paying a small flat fee instead ends up paying 1.5% commission to a Clever partner agent. Once the home is sold, Clever collects a 30% “Service Fee” from that partner agent.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Discover Clever Real Estate: Clever writes blogs targeting FSBOs and sellers looking to sell on commission. Clever then only shows them poor options, and pitches Clever instead for a 1.5% commission.
  2. Collect Consumer Information as a Lead: Once you’re convinced Clever is the only decent choice, Clever will ask you to provide your contact information.
  3. Forward Consumer Information as a Lead: Clever then sends your information to agents in their network. All these agents have signed an agreement to pay Clever a “Service Fee”, calculated as 30% of the commission you pay that agent.
  4. Interview Potential Agent Matches: Clever’s partner agents will then reach out to you. Once you like someone, you list with them. The agent does all the work required to sell your home. Once the home sells, the agent will pay Clever their Service Fee based on the gross commission you paid that agent.
    🚨 Beware: Clever doesn’t guarantee the quality of service the agent delivers. Once you are matched, you must deal with the agent independently.

Clever Red Flags 🚩

At face value, Clever seems to be a helpful aide. But, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that they have three major red flags that can rob you of your money and privacy. Let’s examine Clever’s glaring pitfalls.

1. Clever Falsely Claims to be a “100% free” Service

Clever Real Estate is NOT free. They do not directly charge sellers and buyers any fee, but home sellers pay the agent commissions. Clever charges the agents a “Service Fee” based on that gross commission.

Clever does not publicly disclose how much this fee is.

When Clever forwards a lead to their partner agent, the agent works to convert the lead into a client. The agent then helps them buy or sell their home. If successful, the agent must pay Clever a 25% to 40% service fee within 10 days of the closing date.

The Clever Real Estate service fee is deducted from the commission home sellers and buyers pay:

If the home is sold for less than $125,0025% of the gross broker commission
If the home is sold for more than $125,000Greater of $1,000 or 25% of the gross broker commission
If the broker represents the buying sideUp to 40% of the broker’s commission
Clever Real Estate Reviews -  Clever Real Estate's Service Agreement for Brokers

Source: Clever Real Estate’s Service Agreement for Brokers

2. Clever Violates Your Privacy

Technically, once you opt for one of Clever’s agents, List With Clever ceases to be involved in your transaction. You work with your pay-to-play broker who can access all your documents, including the ALTA statement.

Clever Real Estate is not meant to know your transactional information, especially this statement.

Yet, Clever Real Estate’s Service Agreement For Brokers requires their affiliated brokers to share the ALTA statement. This undermines the privacy protections consumers are entitled to under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) (sections 502(e)(1) and 509(7)(A)).

Clever Real Estate Reviews - Privacy Violations

Source: Clever Service Agreement For Brokers

3. Clever Feeds You Misleading Information

Clever falsely claims they are 100% free. They also portray themselves as an unbiased educational resource. But this is merely a facade. In every blog, Clever either promotes itself or directs users to a sub-par partner from whom Clever accepts a service fee.

Where Clever doesn’t gain any benefits, they pitch over-priced alternatives that charge you thousands of dollars as fees. You would be better off opting for one of Clever’s alternatives that give you the same services at an affordable rate.

Clever Real Estate Coverage

Clever Real Estate covers the following states in the USA:

NortheastConnecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont
MidwestIllinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Dakota
SouthAlabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas, District of Columbia
WestArizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming

Clever Real Estate Reviews

Although List With has a respectable rating on various review platforms, we have found many irregularities in their services.

List With Clever complaints highlighted that many agents do the bare minimum to help you sell your home. Many reviews also stated that sellers had to sell their homes below market value.

Positive Reviews

✅ John believes his Clever realtor deserves 10 stars. He and his team did all of the heavy lifting. According to John, their services were worth the cost.

John BeardUSASubmitted 2023

I wish a could give the KW realtor William Rhodes and his team 10 stars. Clever Real Estate was great, but the realtor team with Keller Williams did all the heavy lifting! They were absolutely wonderful! They earned every penny and then some. You can’t go wrong with Clever Real Estate and their partner Keller Williams.

Source: Google

Negative Reviews

❌ PD was unhappy with how the Clever agents simply wanted to sell the property, even though it meant selling below market value.

PD JUSASubmitted 2021

The real estate agent sent me was probably the worst one I could get. Clever’s business model does not support sellers getting top bids. The chief aim is to sell your house way below market value. It’s best to stick with traditional agents who get 6%; they are more eager to sell at a high price point. I regret using Clever, especially when the market was doing so well.

Source: Trustpilot

❌ Nick’s experience is reflective of how time-consuming and effort-intensive Clever’s agent-matching process is. You’ll have to interview multiple agents. If the agents are unresponsive, you’ll lose weeks of time. Time is money.

Nick SimeoneUSASubmitted 2022

Catastrophic waste of time. Two realtors were sent out, two realtors ignored me after the initial meeting. Wasted a week of time, and my house still isn’t listed on MLS. Negotiate your own contracts if time is important to you. Or pay a flat fee broker in a hot market. This service is a joke.

Source: Google

Pros and Cons of Clever Real Estate

Using Clever Realty’s services has a few advantages and some serious disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at them:

Pros of

Here are some of the benefits of working with Clever:

  • Discounted Listing Fee: Clever partners with full-service brokers who charge a 1.5% listing fee instead of the usual 3%. This saves you thousands of dollars in commissions.
  • Nationwide Coverage: List With Clever’s agent network consists of over 14,000 brokers found across the country.

Cons of

Here are some of the risks you take when dealing with Clever Real Estate:

  • Inconsistent Agent Service Quality: Clever simply matches you with an agent. They don’t guarantee the service or the outcome of the home-selling process. Moreover, you have to vet the agent yourself.
  • Homes Sold for Below Market Value: Many reviews of Clever Real Estate highlight that the partner agents list homes below market value. So, you lose your property’s equity with a Clever listing.
  • False Advertising: Clever Real Estate marketing sometimes claims that they offer their services for free. However, that isn’t entirely true. They charge a hefty 25% to 40% service fee from brokers when they close a sale.
  • Federal Antitrust Law Violations: List With Clever allegedly fixes commissions with clients before they enter into any real estate transaction. This violates Federal Antitrust laws as it leaves no room for negotiation.
  • Time Lost in Interviewing Agents: When using Clever’s services, you have to thoroughly assess the agent yourself; this takes a lot of time.
  • Strict Buyer Rebate Eligibility: Clever offers a rebate if a customer sells and buys a house using their services. However, the house’s purchase price must be more than $150,000.

Clever Customer Service

Here’s how you can reach out to List With Clever’s customer service:

📍 Address: 6358 Delmar Blvd, Suite 300, Saint Louis, MO 63130

📞 Contact Number: 1-833-225-3837

💻 Website:

Clever Real Estate Competitors

We recommend three Clever Real Estate alternatives that offer better services:

1. Houzeo vs. Clever

Opting for an agent recommended by Clever seems quick and easy. But you could end up with a broker who isn’t as invested in the process as you. If that isn’t enough, you also have to pay them a 1.5% commission.

On the other hand, an MLS listing with Houzeo’s Silver plan empowers you to sell your home. You get advanced technology that is available only to real estate agents at just $399.

List With CleverHouzeo
Listing Fee1.5% Commission (min $3,000)$399
Customer Rating4.8 stars (178 reviews)4.9 stars (5,111 reviews)
CoverageNationwide47 states + Washington D.C.
Mobile App
Unlimited Listing Changes
Showings Management
Offer Management
Counter an Offer
Request Highest and Best Offer
Home Inspection Dashboard

» Houzeo Reviews: Still not convinced? Read what customers have to say about Houzeo.

2. UpNest vs. Clever

UpNest is an agent-matching service that gives you the power to choose your own agent. Multiple brokers submit their proposed commission on UpNest, and you opt for the one that best aligns with your budget.

This is directly opposite to Clever’s process. Clever matches you with an agent they think is suited to your needs. This impacts the control you have over your home-selling journey.

3. Redfin vs. Clever

Redfin is a discount real estate broker that sells your home for a commission of 1.5% of the sale price. They serve 100+ real estate markets across 49 states.

Clever charges the same commission as Redfin. But while Clever blatantly violates your privacy, Redfin is committed to safeguarding it. They won’t release your confidential documents, like the ALTA statement, to any unauthorized party.

Other Options You Should Consider

  • Sell to an iBuyer: Many iBuyers, like Opendoor and Offerpad, purchase hundreds of homes available in the market. iBuyers can be a great option if you’re wondering how to sell your house fast.
  • Sell to Cash Home Buyers: Individual companies that buy houses for cash make all-cash offers, usually within 24 to 48 hours. Cash buyers let you skip the hassle of listing on the MLS, inspection, appraisal, etc.
  • Sell For Sale By Owner: For Sale By Owner websites will help you list and sell a house by owner and save thousands in listing agent commission. Many FSBO websites will also get you listed on the MLS and help you with FSBO paperwork.

Should You List With Clever Real Estate?

No, we do not recommend Clever Real Estate to find your realtor. Though Clever offers a lower listing fee, this discount is reflected in the quality of service from their partner agents.

Clever doesn’t guarantee the kind of service you receive, nor do they take responsibility for your agent’s actions. According to some List With Clever reviews, your partner agent may compel you to sell your home below market value.

The added threat of privacy violations, commission fixing, and little to no scope for negotiation add to why you shouldn’t List With Clever.

Instead, sell your home on your terms with Houzeo. You can list your property on the MLS, manage your showings, call for the highest and best offers, and even counter them. All of this and more, only for $399.

📞 Need Help? Schedule a FREE Consultation

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the alternatives to Clever Real Estate?

There are various alternatives to Clever Real Estate including UpNest and Redfin. You can also opt for Flat Fee companies like Houzeo which offers various flat fee packages and is upfront with all its prices.

2. Is Clever better than Redfin?

Our research shows that Redfin is a better alternative to Clever. While both companies charge the same commission several reviews hail the quality of service provided by Redfin agents. Further, unlike Clever, Redfin doesn't pose any risk of privacy violations.

3. Is Clever Real Estate really free?

Clever claims to be a free service. However, they charge a 25% to 40% service fee from partner agents for every transaction they close. This fee is deducted from the commission you pay the agent. So, you indirectly pay Clever thousands of dollars for simply matching you with an agent.

Clever Real Estate – Customer Reviews

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(4 Reviews)
  • Mike

    Verified Reviewer

    Great full service that saved me thousands!!! I have nothing but good things to say about Clever.

  • Sean M.

    Verified Reviewer

    Tried to save a few bucks and it cost us in the long run. Poor communication. No follow up. You get what you pay for I guess.

  • Racquel M Ludaway

    Verified Reviewer

    Clever Real Estate has been a lifesaver in my business during this down market. They provide me with a consistent stream of listing prospects and even though I’m competing with other agents, I’ve been able to convert the leads on a high level. Their leads are much better than many other referral sources I’ve worked with in the past. It’s been a privilege to be one of their preferred real estate agents.

  • Tarren

    Verified Reviewer

    Reached out to someone in the office, they answered my question but seem unconcerned or just put off.

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