A friend, Andy, and I took our kids out to play baseball last Sunday. Andy’s son and mine are baseball freaks and the 28 degree day was not enough to stop them from getting in a few innings of play-lot baseball. As we were walking to the school, the conversation turned, as it often does, to real estate. Andy is constantly combing the Internet for good deals on single family homes in our neighborhood and he wanted to let me know that a gorgeous house he’d always admired was up for sale. He said he’d been surfing Redfin and found it.
Redfin was a name I hadn’t heard in a while. I knew the basics: they specialize in being buyers’ agents and give 50% of the commission back to the buyer. They expect the buyer to do a lot of legwork, so they tend to only work with savvy, Internet-smart consumers. Andy let me know that Redfin will arrange for three showings for free and then there’s a fee. When I went to their site, I found that they now offer unlimited tours for free and allow you to pick your agent. In fact, they kind of have a store where you select your agent and put them in your shopping cart.
Andy also let me know that he likes the way the search works on Redfin’s site. More importantly, he was under the impression that they had more listings than the local sites. I let him know that all brokerages pull their listings from the same place and that they weren’t really different. However, somewhere, somehow he had gotten this impression and that’s what’s important. I played with Redfin’s search and found it to be quite easy to use, but it isn’t that much different than several Chicago-based brokerages’. But, Andy liked it better, and again that’s what’s important.
Then this morning my iGoogle displayed this article from the Wall Street Journal. It details the purchase by one of their reporters of a new condo in Chicago using Redfin. And, she loved Redfin. Can’t get much better PR than that. She also pointed out the foibles of the listing agents and sellers: incorrect bathroom counts and stubborn resistance to price reductions in the face of obvious market realities.
In this buyers’ market, I suspect we’re going to be hearing the name Redfin more and more often.Email This Post To a Friend.