You don’t have to be a real estate expert to have heard the name HomeLight when it comes time to buy a new home or sell your current one. But with so many companies on the real estate scene, it can be hard to know who to trust and which company is just in for a quick buck.
This review will take the guesswork out of HomeLight as we take an in-depth look at what they offer, pricing, and what people are saying.
What Is HomeLight?
HomeLight was started in 2012 by Drew Uher and his wife after they struggled to find a trustworthy real estate agent when they needed it. Although originally founded in San Francisco and geared toward helping buyers, the company is now based in Scottsdale, Arizona. It has expanded to help home sellers also find a reputable agent to help with their real estate transactions.
HomeLight is not a brokerage—meaning they don’t have exclusive realtors that work within their office. Instead, this company acts as a middleman to help connect sellers with agents from various brokerages, saving you time, money, and energy when it comes time for a home sale.
Currently, HomeLight partners with 28,000 top real estate agents across the US and helps facilitate over $1 billion worth of transactions each year.
How Does HomeLight Work?
Homebuyers and sellers alike can contact HomeLight when ready to make a real estate transaction. After the initial call, a representative will provide a list of top-performing local agents to choose from. It’s important to know that while a HomeLight agent will provide the names and numbers of realtors, the buyer/seller is responsible for calling their preferred agent. Contacting a few agents from different brokerages is also recommended to get a feel for each office’s protocols.
If an agent is selected and the transaction occurs, HomeLight will receive a referral fee out of the buying or listing agent’s pocket, depending on where the connection was made.
While it might sound odd, referral fees are common for agents that pass along a sale to another realtor. While there is no universal standard, these fees can be anywhere from 20-50% of the agent’s commission and are negotiable. HomeLight charges a 33% referral fee, which is deducted from your agent’s commission.
Real Estate Services Offered
HomeLight goes beyond just connecting homeowners and buyers with the best real estate agents. Here are some of the other real estate services you can find at HomeLight.
HomeLight Cash Offer
There’s no question about it—cash buyers have a serious advantage in today’s market. To help strengthen your buying power, you can get a HomeLight home loan, which is fully underwritten in-house to let you make a cash offer.
HomeLight’s cash offer financing is available even if your agent was not found through the company. A simple certification is all that’s needed to help your agent put in a strong cash offer through HomeLight.
If, for some reason, you are stuck in financing, HomeLight will purchase the property on your behalf and transfer ownership once your financing is in place.
HomeLight Simple Sale
If you need to sell your home quickly and don’t want the hassle of negotiations or repairs, HomeLight’s Simple Sale could be your solution. Buying consultants will bring your local market data to experts and offer you a competitive cash price in as little as 10 days.
This can be a great option to skip the lengthy selling process, interim housing, sale contingencies and double mortgages. You’ll also bypass closing costs, program fees, and the cost of any upfront repairs.
Similar to its other programs, the Trade-In program is designed to let you purchase a home quickly and sell your current property to the HomeLight team.
If you go this route, your first step is to determine how much HomeLight would purchase your home for. You can then use this number to shop around and put in a competitive (potentially cash) offer on a new home.
HomeLight then sells your current property and—the best part—will give you the difference in cash if it sells for more than they purchased it for (minus program fees and selling expenses).
Benefits of Choosing HomeLight
Not sure if HomeLight is right for you? Here are some of the biggest selling features for choosing HomeLight.
Expedited Selling Process
When it comes to selling your house, the process will go faster with HomeLight. This company offers cash-backed home loans, trade-ins, and simple sales to get you out of your current home and into something new.
Cash-Backed Financing Increases Your Buying Power
If you opt for a HomeLight home loan, you can say goodbye to complicated financing when it comes to buying a home. Sellers love cash offers and are often willing to take slightly less than their asking price to save themselves the hassle.
Therefore, your buying power increases and your dollar will stretch further than with a traditional lender-financing situation.
Access To Top-Rated Real Estate Agents
Another key benefit of HomeLight is access to top-rated real estate agents in your area. Realtors come with all kinds of backgrounds and experience. HomeLight takes the guesswork out of finding a qualified agent. No more wondering if your agent has the experience they tout. As an added bonus, the referral fee comes out of your agent’s pocket—not yours.
HomeLight has worked with over 1,079,300 customers, so they must be doing something right. Also, this company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, although they aren’t officially accredited through them.
Drawbacks of HomeLight
No company is perfect, and these are some of the biggest complaints associated with HomeLight.
Mixed HomeLight Reviews
Despite the number of happy customers they’ve worked with, there are a number of complaints listed on the BBB website. Most have to do with receiving unsolicited calls or emails. However, all have been listed as resolved.
Also, while there are a number of people that have been connected with an agent, there are not enough customer reviews regarding Simple Sales or home trade-ins to vouch for these programs.
Referral Fees May Produce Lower Work Ethic
Cutting a portion of your realtor’s commission could result in a lower-quality experience. Also, you may find an increase in closing costs to account for the lost income.
Hidden Program Fees
Despite the no-cost-to-you referral fee, there are a number of fees associated with HomeLight if you choose to utilize one of its other programs.
For example, if you decide to make a HomeLight cash offer, you will be charged .5% of the purchase price. If you decide to partner with a third-party lender, that fee increases to 2%.
HomeLight Loans Aren’t Available Everywhere
Finally, HomeLight loans aren’t currently available everywhere. So if you want to utilize their financing, chances are that you’ll get stuck with that higher fee simply because the service isn’t fully offered in your area. Also, there are no options for families looking to refinance their homes, although the company said it’s currently in the works.
Should You Choose HomeLight For Your Next Real Estate Transaction?
Since 2012, HomeLight has been helping over a million families navigate the world of real estate. However, the reviews are somewhat mixed. HomeLight is a great way to connect you with quality agents if you live in a smaller town with fewer realtor options. The company also shines when it comes to selling your house quickly, as-is, no questions asked. However, if you already have a trusted realtor or live in a state where the HomeLight Home Loan isn’t offered, you would do just as well to let your agent help navigate the transaction for you.
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