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 0.5% 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 Clever's partner network.
Clever claims to be a 100% free service. They will match you with an agent who'll charge a 1% commission. But you have to pay an additional 0.5% "Referral Fee".
✍️ Editor's Take: We do not recommend listing with Clever Real Estate. Instead, you should choose ethical and legal services like Houzeo and FSBO.com. 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 always true because you're still responsible for the buyer agent's fees. So, a Clever home sale may be costlier than the traditional selling process.
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. Listwithclever.com claims that their agents aren't discount brokers. During our research, we found out that several Clever Realtors are, in fact, discount brokers offering limited services.
This calls Clever Real Estate's legitimacy into question.
How Does Clever Real Estate Work?
Companies like Clever have similar working processes:
- Submit Your Personal and Property Information: You have to fill out the online form on Clever's website. It will ask questions about your property type, sale price, what you're looking for in an agent and closing timeline. Once you submit your details, Clever captures your information and sells it as a lead to their partner network.
- Speak to the Concierge: Once you submit the form, Clever's Concierge Service will reach out for additional details. You can also clarify any doubts you may have. This is an optional step.
- Interview Potential Agent Matches: Clever will filter through their partner agents to find the ones best suited to your needs. You can interview them and compare their services. You'll also need to vet Clever's pay-to-play agents by checking their reviews.
If you're dissatisfied with the agents, you can request additional matches or end the process immediately.
- 🚨 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 Their a Free Service
Clever Real Estate ads may claim that they're free. But they're, in fact, NOT free.
List With Clever.com doesn't directly charge sellers and buyers any fee. However, they are indirectly paid for their matchmaking services through Clever partner agents.
When Clever forwards a lead to their partner agent, the agent then works to convert the lead into a client. If successful, the broker must pay the company a 25% to 40% service fee within 10 days of the closing date.
The Clever Real Estate referral fee is deducted from the commission home sellers and buyers pay:
|If the home is sold for less than $125,00||25% of the gross broker commission|
|If the home is sold for more than $125,000||Greater of $1,000 or 25% of the gross broker commission|
|If the broker represents the buying side||Up to 40% of the broker's commission|
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)).
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 referral 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:
|Northeast||Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont|
|Midwest||Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Dakota|
|South||Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas, District of Columbia|
|West||Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming|
Clever Real Estate Reviews
Although List With Clever.com has a respectable rating on various review platforms, we have found many irregularities in their services.
Positive ListWithClever.com 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.
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.
Negative ListWithClever.com Reviews
❌ PD was unhappy with how the Clever agents simply wanted to sell the property, even though it meant selling below market value.
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.
❌ 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.
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.
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 ListWithClever.com:
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 ListWithClever.com:
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: email@example.com
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 Clever||Houzeo|
|Listing Fee||1.5% Commission (min $3,000)||$399|
|Customer Rating||4.8 stars (178 reviews)||4.9 stars (5,111 reviews)|
|Coverage||Nationwide||47 states + Washington D.C.|
|Unlimited Listing Changes||❌||✅|
|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.
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.
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Clever Real Estate - Customer Reviews
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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.
This was a horrible experience. Please beware. I know using a local agent cost a bit of money, but at least things will get done and your home will get sold in a timely manner. I would give zero stars if I could. I had to get a full refund since nothing was getting done.
Reached out to someone in the office, they answered my question but seem unconcerned or just put off.