HomeLight Review: Details, How It Works, Pros and Cons

By Zina Kumok
Updated on: Mar 9, 2020

Trying to sell or buy a home without the help of a real estate agent is like trying to climb Mt. Everest without the help of a Sherpa. Sure, you can try – and you might even succeed – but there's a stronger chance you’ll end up getting lost along the way.

Unless you have previous experience in the real estate industry, it’s just easier to let an agent guide you through the process. They can handle the paperwork, make sure you’re on track to meet important deadlines, facilitate the communication between yourself and the buyer or seller, walk you through the closing process and much more.

But how do you find the right agent? Traditional wisdom says to ask around your social circle for a quality recommendation, but some companies are trying to simplify that process. By compiling a database of available agents, these services play matchmaker between buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals.

Homelight is one such service, pairing buyers and sellers with agents since 2012. Here’s a rundown of how it works, how Homelight can help and whether or not the service is worth trying out.

What Is HomeLight?

HomeLight is a San Francisco-based startup that uses a data-based approach to find the best real estate agents for both home buyers and sellers.

HomeLight connects consumers to real estate agents the way Zillow connects consumers to homes. Prospective buyers and sellers go on the site, enter their information and are matched with agents who best fit their needs.

The site claims that the overall list of agents is unbiased and based on an algorithm. In other words, agents can’t pay money to show up in a search.

However, if you receive an email from HomeLight with a list of two or three agents, those agents have likely agreed to pay HomeLight a 25% referral fee.

HomeLight provides a lot of data about their agents, which is great for anyone who wants to take a scientific approach to the homebuying process. For instance, home sellers can view how much over asking the seller got and how long the houses were on the market before they sold.

Other stats include how many transactions they’ve facilitated in previous years, which specific homes they bought or sold and the average transaction value. You can also read reviews from past customers.

There’s no fee to use HomeLight for buyers or sellers. The company makes money by charging a 25% referral fee from real estate agents, which is fairly standard for real estate brokers.

HomeLight includes independent agents, local firms and agents from national companies like Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Sotheby’s, Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Re/Max.

They also include agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors, a trade association obligated to uphold a certain ethical code.

It’s still a good idea to vet any agents yourself by searching on Facebook, Google, and Yelp. One of the real estate agents selected for me had all five-star reviews on HomeLight, but a 4.7 rating on Google. This isn’t a huge difference, but it still shows a slight discrepancy between HomeLight and more objective third-party sites.

How the Home Buying and Selling Process Works

The process is similar whether you’re buying or selling a home. If you’re buying a house, input the zip code or city you’re interested in. HomeLight lets you choose between the following property types:

  • Single-family
  • Condominium
  • Townhouse
  • Mobile home
  • Commercial
  • Vacant lot

After that, you’ll pick the price range that best fits your budget. This ranges from $140,000 or less to $665,000 or more. Finally, you’ll decide how quickly you want to buy, starting from ASAP to more than a year out.

To sell a house, enter the home’s address and answer some questions, like what you think the home is worth and how quickly you want to sell.

For both home buyers and sellers, you have to enter your email address and phone number to get a list of agents.

HomeLight’s Simple Sale service connects sellers to cash buyers. This eliminates the need for staging, showing or any of the other tedious chores that typically come with selling a home. This process is much faster, and sellers can choose their own closing date. The Simple Sale option works best for those who need to sell quickly and have already moved away from the area.

The price range for Simple Sale is much lower because it excludes buyers who will need a mortgage to buy the property. Again, this is only viable if you need to move immediately.

HomeLight Loans

HomeLight also provides home loans for new purchases in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Washington

You can enter your email address to be notified when HomeLight loans are available in your area.

HomeLight says they have a 21-day closing guarantee and claim to have never missed a closing date. They also don’t charge any lending fees and can complete the underwriting process within 24 hours. They’re supposedly working on offering refinance loans in the future.

Currently, HomeLight’s rates are very competitive with the national market. A $250,000 home in Denver, Colorado with 5% down would have a 3.625% interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan. The APR was 3.936%, which includes all final fees.

Rates from NerdWallet for the same amount and length ranged from 4.147% APR to 4.922% APR. The average rate for a 30-year loan was 3.84%.

Looking at HomeLight for a mortgage can be a good start, but you should still contact other banks and lenders to get their rates. You never know who can offer the best interest rate or lowest closing fees. For example, HomeLight doesn’t seem to offer 15-year loans, so if that’s what you’re interested in, you should look at another lender.

Home Estimates

Like Zillow and Trulia, HomeLight provides a free estimate of your home’s current value. They ask for the address, when it was built, its current condition and more. Unlike Zillow or Trulia, you have to give out your email address and phone number to get a result.

When I input the information about my house, HomeLight said my home is worth between $192,028 to $237,734. Zillow approximates the home’s worth at $196,770, while Trulia gives a quote of $196,064. Our home was recently appraised for $180,000, which is how much we bought it for in 2018.

The range from HomeLight seems incredibly high, especially since few homes in our neighborhood have sold for more than $200,000.

Positives

Using HomeLight can speed up the process of researching and picking an agent. This is especially useful if you’re moving to a new city quickly and don’t have time to scour different forums and lists to find an agent.

HomeLight is also a reputable service. They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau with more than 600 reviews.

The company also has a social mission aspect. They donate between $500 to $800 every time someone buys a home through HomeLight. The money goes to an organization that helps mothers in India fix or build a home for their family.

Negatives

Some of the complaints about Homelight on the BBB website are from customers who say they were flooded with phone calls. This is similar to other services that take your number and distribute it to third parties. So far this is the only major downside I’ve found.

HomeLight compiles a list of most agents in your area, but it’s not clear how comprehensive that list is. Also, you may only be matched with real estate agents who have agreed to split a commission with HomeLight. In this sense, it’s not a complete listing of all qualified local agents.

The Bottom Line

It can be extremely annoying to be pestered with calls, and Homelight is definitely guilty of this. Since testing out the service, I’ve received daily phone calls, emails and text messages both from HomeLight and their recommended agents. Most people are already inundated with robocalls and other forms of spam these days, so any extra solicitation is likely unwelcome.

However, I’ve heard from other people that this is how most real estate agents act, following up relentlessly until they get your business. That professional tenacity is pretty annoying when you’re trying to decide which agent to choose, but it will be a blessing once you’ve made your choice.

HomeLight can be helpful if you’re new to the area, don’t know any real estate agents and don’t have the time or desire to find them yourself. Any agent you find through Homelight is likely to be competent, so it’s probably a safe enough bet for just about anyone.

If you have friends and family with strong recommendations, you might be better off taking their advice. This is especially true if they live in the area you’re moving to or away from, as many agents tend to specialize in a select number of neighborhoods.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of HomeLight:
  • 693 Customer Reviews
  • 94% Recommend This Company
4.7 out of 5
5 star: 90% 4 star: 3% 3 star: 0% 2 star: 0% 1 star: 5%

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  • The premise sounds good, but no one acts on it?

    • By Jack,
    • Columbus, Ohio,
    • Feb 3, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    We are looking to retire and relocate to Ohio. The HomeLight invite we received by email seemed just the ticket to start our search. I answered it and filled out the questions it asked. I got a response right back, saying we would be contacted by a top realtor.

    We waited a week and received no email or call. Then they responded back again with the same thing, but I got no answer or call. I tried again the following week to get the same email and got more of the same no response!

    Sorry, but this seems to be just a scam for info.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Apr 10, 2017

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hello Jack,

      This is HomeLight's Support Team and we are sorry to hear that we didn't provide you with a 5-star experience. We greatly appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

      We have recently rolled out a new-and-improved version of our client portal to ensure a much more streamlined and enjoyable experience for our clients.

      If you'd like to give us another go, please feel free to contact one of our support specialists directly at Mary@HomeLight.com. She will be more than happy to make sure your client satisfaction with HomeLight is fulfilled!

      Best,

      HomeLight Support


  • Agent perspective

    • By CJ Travis,
    • High Desert, California,
    • Feb 12, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    As an agent in a non-urban market and not a member of a gigantic nationwide brokerage (and always looking for good leads), I signed up, signed their contract to give them 25% of any commission, and then discovered the back story.

    They sent me an Excel spreadsheet where I was to enter every detail of every transaction I'd ever had, including names, email addresses and phone numbers of every client for every transaction. If you've been an agent for a very long time, and especially if you've changed markets (I've gone from San Diego to the High Desert) or brokerages (I've been through several!), it's hard to remember them all, and often the records are with your previous brokers.

    Then, apparently, they take the list and vet your completed transactions by contacting the clients you listed. Ridiculous. If they vetted through the MLS, it would be more accurate, but they don't. Also, I don't want them calling all my past clients because it's invasive to them.

    Unless the agent completes every cell of every line for every sale they've made in their lives, no leads will be delivered. So, as a client user, you're not actually getting the benefit of being matched with every possible agent in your market, but with only the ones who have employees with enough time on their hands to fill out the ridiculous volume of data they demand. And, if the agent has not done millions and millions in sales, they're not considered "successful" and therefore not up to snuff for this website.

    So, an ethical, educated, and experienced agent who dedicates themselves to the personal needs of each and every client they serve is passed over in this service, and the client-seeking personal service never has the chance to engage with you. I was extremely disappointed, considering the big hype they tout, and am offended by the entire premise of their platform.

    I highly recommend that agents think twice before turning over all the personal information about their entire client base to this system, in expectation of getting those juicy leads they promise and don't deliver.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Apr 10, 2017

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hi CJ,

      This is the HomeLight Support Team! We're incredibly sorry to hear that you've had anything less than a stellar experience while using our service. We understand your concerns regarding our transaction upload system and have made strides to streamline this process!

      Recently, we have revamped our transaction uploading system so that it is easier to use, and requires much less information in order to successfully upload a transaction! Along with a handful of other data points, we no longer require an agent to provide their client's information to verify the transaction.

      HomeLight's data includes over 20 million real estate transactions in the US going back to 2009. This data comes from over 100 different sources, including several MLS's. We also perform semi-regular data updates to make sure our partnered agents have updated and relevant information within our agent portal.

      So while we encourage agents to upload their sales history, we do have many other sources so that agents can receive leads without having uploaded their sales history. However, we do recommend that agents upload their transaction history as this can only add to the accuracy of our data and their potential to match with a client.

      I hope this clears up any concerns you may have had while using our service. If you have any further questions, please fill free to reach out to one of our support specialists at mary@Homelight.com.

      Best,

      HomeLight Support


  • Not good

    Overall Experience:

    I am a real estate broker and put in my information as a buyer. Of the top four real estate brokers recommended, only two lived in the area of my interest, the other two were from a city 220 miles from Clovis, NM. I wonder how knowledgeable people who live 220 miles from the market you want to buy in are about the market?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Apr 10, 2017

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hello Brett,

      This is the Support Team at HomeLight! We're sorry to hear that you had an unfortunate experience while using HomeLight and would like to thank you for reporting on it! We greatly appreciate feedback like this as our data is incredibly important to us and our clients' success.

      We're excited to announce that we recently rolled out the newest version of our client portal. With this, we are now able to pin-point and recommend agents with hyper-local experience to our clients. This will allow for even more accurate data to avoid situations like the one you described.

      We would be more than happy to assist you in setting up your agent account to ensure that you are visible to potential clients. If you'd like to do so, please contact one of our support specialists at mary@homelight.com.

      Best,

      HomeLight Support


  • Jeff Galindo is awful!

    Overall Experience:

    I am a first-time buyer. This site recommended Jeff Galindo to me. However, after having to chase him down repeatedly to get him to answer my questions, he finally became impatient with me, said I was being too negative and said he couldn't work like this and dropped me, including dropping the house I was scheduled to see the next day. I now have a REAL agent, elsewhere.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • HomeLight is no good

    Overall Experience:

    I had to sell my home of many years. I saw the HomeLight commercials and decided to give them a try.

    They contacted me with an agent that was supposed to be a super sell with an agency of lots of realtors in the group. A month later my house still hasn't been sold, and I am now taking a drastic price cut. Very disappointed with my realtor. Not one person in his agency has even bothered to show the house.

    If you are serious about selling your home, don't waste your time with HomeLight. You will be sadly disappointed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Sep 26, 2017

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hi Jacquline,

      This is the support team at HomeLight! We're sorry to hear that you had an unfortunate experience while using HomeLight and would like to thank you for reporting on it!

      We try to match our clients with 2-4 top agents in their area in order to help them execute the best strategy when it comes to buying or selling their homes.

      Since you did not have a great experience with the agent provided to you, I am more than happy to look into connecting you with other top agents in the area.

      Please feel free to reach out to me anytime via email at nicholas@homelight.com.

      Best regards,

      Nicholas


  • Illegal

    • By Pamela Manzi,
    • California,
    • Sep 14, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    HomeLight uses my name and information. My client put their information into HomeLight. HomeLight sent an email stating that would forward his information to me. He put my phone number in and then they called from an 818 area code and recommended other agents. Illegal to use my name and scam people, while pretending to work with me. They do not have my permission to use my name and company information. Using my name to prosper is highly illegal.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Sep 26, 2017

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hi Pamela,

      HomeLight's data includes over 20 million real estate transactions in the US going back to 2009. This data comes from over 100 different public sources. As a licensed agent, your history of closed transactions and professional details are available to the public. If you do have a pre-generated profile on HomeLight it means you were identified as a top performing agent in your local market.

      Regarding your experience, HomeLight employees a team of expert account executives that will place a call to each client to have a qualifying conversation and ensure their motivation to transact before introducing them to an agent. If we identify a phone number to be that of a real estate agent we will not introduce the client to an agent until we are able to verify the validity of the inquiry.

      We have removed your HomeLight profile from public search results effective immediately. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together or have any further questions, please reach out to nick@homelight.com.


  • Cold calls!

    Overall Experience:

    My experience has been awful and exactly what I did not want. Once they have your name and number the phone won't stop ringing. The majority of agents calling aren't even in my state or region. I do not accept restricted or unfamiliar calls anymore. I wish that I had never signed on to the website. I guard my personal information, especially my cell phone number, and now it's out there making the rounds.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Rude service from HomeLight employee

    Overall Experience:

    After submitting my information and receiving a phone call from a HomeLight employee, I am not impressed at all. I simply asked her how HomeLight makes their commission and if realtors were chosen or paid for this selective service. She answered me but told me that I was hostile for asking questions. Then she proceeded to ask me personal questions, which I deemed unanswerable. She then angrily told me that I was not a match to be a client because I was combative. I have a $650,000.00 house that I wish to put up for sale. Please retrain your front line telephone employees who screen prospective clients.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Jan 3, 2018

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      We're so sorry you had a bad experience and we would love a chance to do better. We'd be happy to re-connect you with the top agents who would be more than happy to help you sell your home. We'd also like you to know that we're looking into what happened here and we're taking the necessary actions to follow up. Thank you for your feedback!


  • HomeLight is a lead generation service for agents

    • By Brian S.,
    • Richmond, VA,
    • Jan 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    When I began my home search, I came across HomeLight. After interviewing a few different agents, it became clear that the agents I found on HomeLight were not "experts" and or did not even have any prior sales or experience in my desired area. After meeting with a couple of agents NOT on HomeLight, I realized that any good agent in my metro area has just as much access to the market and was just as experienced and qualified as those who were found on HomeLight.

    Basically, HomeLight is another of many lead generation services designed to generate business for real estate agents who pay to be on their site, much like Zillow or Trulia or Realtor.com. The agents on this site are not necessarily the top-rated agents in their area, but instead, have just paid to be listed on HomeLight and bought a zip code. This seems pretty disingenuous, and their marketing is misleading. I'm not saying that there are not any agents that are experienced/knowledgeable in a certain area, because I am sure that plenty of good agents have paid for their leads on the site, but what I have found is that just because an agent is on the site doesn't mean they actually ARE an expert in any area of the market.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Jan 8, 2018

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hi Brian, We're sorry you had a bad experience with our agent matching service. We only recommend agents at the top of the field, and this is based on their actual transaction history. Agents cannot pay to be featured on our site, which keeps our recommendations for top local agents completely objective.


  • Horrible

    • By Brenda,
    • Lodi, CA,
    • Mar 30, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Hello, I recently sold my home, and I used HomeLight. I was so happy at how easy the process was but I felt like I had to do the realtor investigation since they sent me a lot of what I would say unprofessional and unqualified individuals. In the end, the realtor that I chose was ok I guess. By that point, I just wanted to sell my home.

    It took my realtor three months to close the deal. He told me one day ok, you have this weekend to move out, so I moved out most of my stuff except the essentials, and then oh no, we had a little issue. Little issue that took weeks. And when I spoke to HomeLight about this, they were so rude. I have been trying to speak with them since December of 2017, and they just give me the runaround. I just want to tell them now how horrible of an experience I had.

    Oh, and if they promise you a $25 Amazon gift card, don’t hold your breath. I never got mine, even after they promised it to me several times.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Apr 6, 2018

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hi Brenda, we’re sorry to hear about the bad experience you had. We only connect 2 to 3 agents per client.The reason for this to give you the option to choose which agent you would like to work with overall. We would love to hear which agents you received that did not meet your expectations. Our support team has recently experienced a larger than expected inflow that has led to some delays. This is something we are aware of and improving as we speak. Thank you for your feedback!


  • False advertising

    • By Cora C.,
    • Georgia,
    • Jul 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    The site says NO call from agents.

    I no sooner stopped typing in my information that I began receiving non-stop unsolicited calls from agents. Interestingly they are ALL from the same real estate company. This particular company has not been selling homes in my area according to all the sign postings that are up.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Jul 23, 2018

      Company Response from HomeLight, Inc.

      Hey Cora,

      Thanks for reaching out. Let me take a moment to explain we are a concierge that helps you get in touch with agents. For example, in your case, they all came from Keller Williams but belong to different offices. Also, agents from all brokerages can service many locations. Have a great day!

      Thanks,

      HomeLight


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HomeLight Review: Details, How It Works, Pros and Cons