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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  • A simple solution

    • By Rob M.,
    • New Jersey,
    • Jan 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    HomeLight provided me with a simple process to a complex search - finding an agent that would be able to sell the house that my mother lived in for 62 years. The website provided me with an ample list of agents and I found the exact match I was looking for. I highly recommend HomeLight and I’ll be using them when I’m ready to sell my own house.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Thank you, HomeLight

    • By Jana T.,
    • Florida,
    • Jan 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    HomeLight matched us with several agents within minutes of our request. We met with two of them, and they were both outstanding. We chose Tobin Bossola. Tobin listed our house within 24 hours, and we had an offer within days. Even though the first offer fell through, we got an even better offer within a few weeks. Our listing agent was such a pleasure to work with. Tobin was very responsive and offered excellent advice. The whole process from listing to closing only took two months even though it was during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season and the house was a fixer. Thank you, HomeLight! Without your excellent recommendations, we never would have found Tobin.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Thank you HomeLight!

    • By Erik J.,
    • Whitestown, IN,
    • Jan 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    HomeLight helped us tremendously in selling our house, which could have easily been a stressful situation. We were selling a home in an area that we had not been in very long and did not have a really good realtor network. We started researching tools to provide us with good background info on realtors in our area that were high performers. Our main goal was to get someone who was known to move houses quickly as we were under a time crunch to sell. Luckily, HomeLight provided us with a list of realtors including very detailed information. It even showed us realtors who were known to sell units quickly and at more than asking price. The realtors HomeLight suggested to us followed up with us in less than 30 minutes. It was amazing. HomeLight then followed up to make sure the process was going smoothly.

    We will definitely use HomeLight in the future!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • I couldn't have done it alone

    • By Richard S.,
    • Silver Spring, MD,
    • Jan 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I couldn't have sold my house in Southern California without the contacts I made using HomeLight. The realtors and investors that I contacted through HomeLight were all responsive and made my selection decision one of the tougher parts of the process. The realtor that I ended up using - selected from the HomeLight list - managed the whole process of turning a long-term rental into a successful sale. He identified the people to do all the repair and refurbishment work that was necessary, and put together the marketing plan that led to the sale of the house in less than one week - and for the full asking price. He was a solid negotiator for my cause during the closing process, which led to a timely close.

    I'm fully satisfied with both these services as well as HomeLight - who brought us together in a successful collaboration. Thank you, HomeLight!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • HomeLight sent us Sara!

    • By Stephanie W.,
    • Norfolk, VA,
    • Jan 20, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I needed to sell my home quickly in a very short time span. So while researching realtors one night I happened upon HomeLight. They called me and helped me get connected with several of the top realtors in my area very quickly and easily. We interviewed them all but one. The one we ended up choosing was Sara Andrews Hartz. She was amazing. Nearly always available, a constant source of help and answers. We had work to finish on our house as well in the time we needed to sell. She never rushed us and just checked in on schedule until we were done. The house sold to the first people who viewed it! We had many showings that first weekend and a couple of offers. We could not have been happier with how fast and smooth it all went! Without HomeLight who knows what realtor we would have used! So use HomeLight and use Sara if you're in Hampton Roads! If not, do all the interviews they hook you up with you’ll get someone good! Every realtor that HomeLight recommended was a top dog in our area!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • HomeLight experience

    • By Marcelina P.,
    • Louisiana,
    • Jan 20, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    HomeLight made the search for an agent simple and easy. All I had to do was put my zip code and area of interest and a whole list of agents that matched my interest showed up. The site also has information on each agent and years experience listed as well. This came in very handy choosing the correct agent for me. The experience from HomeLight to the agent we chose was a great and stress-free part of my home-buying experience. Thank you HomeLight for pointing me in the right direction. We are truly grateful and satisfied with the service provided.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • HomeLight made it easy to sell my home!

    • By Nury P.,
    • Arlington, TX,
    • Jan 18, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    When Josh Lynch contacted me to tell me about the service HomeLight offers, I was skeptical at first but I listened as he told me that they reach out to the top sellers in my area and they would have them contact me to be interviewed. He told me to have a list of questions ready so that I could make an informed decision.

    I said yes because I didn’t know where to begin. I received several calls from agents who set up an appointment to meet with me.

    I met with three, all very knowledgeable who provided me with a marketing analysis of the homes in my neighborhood that are currently for sale and those that have sold, including how many days they have been on the market.

    I chose the agent that best fitted me and my needs. Besides having to fill out a contract, the agent, Charlie Brown, took care of everything, did a walk through and advised me what I needed to do to make the house show-ready. He didn’t push or rush me. He took my stress away. When I was ready I let him know and within a few days they came out and took pictures and my house went on the market the next day. Within minutes other agents set up point appointments to show the house. This was on a Friday, I had an offer on Monday.

    I couldn’t be happier with the service that HomeLight provided me. To anyone out there who is looking to sell your home I highly recommend you reach out to HomeLight for their assistance. You won’t regret making that call.

    Thank you Josh.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Professional, kind, and competent realtor

    • By Ruth L.,
    • Amarillo, TX,
    • Jan 18, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Our realtor, Nick, was fantastic. We have bought and sold many homes. In this case, we moved to another state while our home was on the market because of a job transfer. Nick not only functioned as our realtor and showed our home, had open houses, and networked with fellow realtors, he ensured the outside of the house was well-maintained for showings. In our absence, he checked on our home routinely and let us know if there were any concerns. We had to replace an AC unit, and he was professional and courteous in ensuring it was done quickly and properly. I would recommend him to anyone needing his services.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great source for finding agents

    • By Chris A.,
    • Towson, MD,
    • Jan 17, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    After trying to locate an agent on my own and not having good luck, I contacted HomeLight and was put in touch with local agents who knew the area, had experience with my specific issues, and were there all the way through. HomeLight was a great source for me and I found the perfect agents.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Easy to use

    • By Shannon L.,
    • Kentucky,
    • Jan 17, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    The site was very easy to use. It helped us to find a good agent to sell our home. They were very prompt in ensuring the process was successful. A great aid for a first time home seller. Helped get us the best in the business. They were not pushy in any way during the process. Highly recommended for any buyer or seller.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Homeward bound

    • By Ariana S.,
    • Kentucky,
    • Jan 17, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    HomeLight really helped by recommending Shawna Smith as our realtor. She was awesome and patient while we were searching for the right home for us. We must have looked at roughly 10 or more homes before we found the right one. I appreciated her input on the homes and her guidance on the right square footage we would want to look at. She saved us a lot of time and worked around our schedule. All around she is a very sweet woman.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


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