In the past, I’ve always discounted Redfin, thinking that they’re devaluing our industry and undercutting other agents. However, as I’ve learned more about their models and approaches, I’ve realized that they actually do fill a gap in the industry for a particular type of clientele. The difference between Redfin and Realtors like me is the type of clients we serve.
To illustrate, let’s look at a Redfin review that I found online. The person gave Redfin five stars, the highest rating they could possibly give them. But when you read the person’s review, you start to learn a little more about how the company operates:
“I think that Redfin is a great option for millennials and not such a great option for other generations. First of all, the millennial generation uses the internet heavily and we like to do things by ourselves. Redfin has a no hand-holding approach and mostly does all the paperwork for you. You can go on practically unlimited home searches and tour all these properties without feeling pressured. Why? Because Redfin has separate touring agents that handle the touring for you. Then you have your assigned agent who does the negotiations and paperwork. Your assigned agent, however, does not do any hand-holding, so be prepared to do a lot of research on buying a home—meaning you should be hyper-aware of what to look for when buying a home because no one will tell you.”
This review really shed some light on how Redfin operates; it’s a little like hiring a financial planner instead of using eTrade, or hiring a travel agent instead of going to Expedia, Travelocity, or Kayak.
Nowadays, these sites allow people to do things on their own, and if you’re savvy and do your research, you may be able to get a great deal out of it.
However, if you do that, you’ll be spending a lot of your own time trying to figure it all out. Many people who aren’t savvy with the internet may actually end up spending more or having it cost them more than if they would have hired a professional.
Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you need to ask yourself, “What am I looking for?” When I talk to my clients about Redfin, I often tell them that if they hire Redfin or a similar limited-service brokerage, they’ll have to be very hands-on, doing much of the work on their own. Alternatively, they can hire me and my team, paying us slightly more, but they can still live their lives without having to do all this extra work.
If my clients can’t manage their extracurriculars on top of doing all the research necessary to buy or sell a home (including taking care of the pre-listing preparations in the event they’re selling), then I would say that no, Redfin is probably not the right option for them.
If you have any questions about the buying or selling process or if you want to learn more about how we operate in comparison to a limited service brokerage, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Until that point: Happy selling!