[Photo Credit: BBC]
We had an upclose look at Redfin last night, after reading the coverage by two realtor-bloggers, Reyestate and Socketsite. We tried it in Safari and Firefox (we're a Mac household.) It's clumsy; listings were left out, it's ugly. There's none of the dash or entertainment value of Zillow or Trulia. OK, as much as we wanted to love it, we didn't. No one's yet been able to break the price-fixed business model the NAR maintains, as financially appealing as the prospect may be.
But then, Zillow and Trulia are not offering a kickback on the buyer's broker's 3%. Redfin transactions may begin online but actually take place on the telephone; fundamentally one has to be competent (and confident enough) to do business this way. Redfin is just another discount brokerage in fleecy digital clothing from Seattle, and still dependent on the MLS.
If there's a spec market in condos, Redfin will probably do well there, aided by the developers' willingness to invest in sophisticated websites. Everyone seems to be buying from floorplans these days, anyway. Much has been made of Redfin's new round of financing led by Paul Allen, announced this week; maybe that will move things along. But seriously, it's entirely possible that only successful investment Paul Allen ever made was befriending Bill Gates in high school.
· Redfin is Coming [Socketsite]
· So much for doing your homework [Reyestate]
· San Francisco [Redfin]
· Redfin can Rewrite... [Techcrunch]