Redfin & Zillow

Redfin appeared today in the New York Times.

The article was the 2nd-most e-mailed article on the New York Times’s site.

The article also discussed Zillow’s launch. We were glad to see that Zillow seems to have no intention of being an online broker, since that’s what we do. In fact we may advertise on Zillow, or, assuming good accuracy, link to Zillow’s Zestimates.

A few folks have noted Zillow’s troubles with its site today, but going down under traffic doesn’t seem to us like the worst problem in the world to have. The site will go up & stay up.

What matters most is whether people get value from the site, and I believe they will.

Today our site was buried in traffic too, with new offers again coming in from customers buying homes online. It’s a great day to be in online real estate for both Redfin & Zillow.

  • Kent

    I first learned about both Redfin and Zillow yesterday from a cnn.money article.

    The hype around Zillow seemed especially interesting considering they are not blazing a new path. Offering an online home valuation can be found in many forms already, from AVM’s to free estimates.

    Despite being founded by a varsity member of the dot com craze, Zillow will face the same challenges everyone does in the valuation space about availability of accurate data. So far I have not seen any indication that they know how to overcome those challenges.

    My search for more information on Zillow led me to Redfin and I have to say I’m very impressed.

    I was glad to see that someone has finally developed a map based search. This alone was an outstanding accomplishment.

    But then I read about what you were doing in regards to realtor fees and I was floored. Redfin is probably the first concrete business model I’ve ever seen that threatens the realtor monopoly.

    It’s only a matter of time before realtors go the way of travel agents and your company is the first step in pushing them on their way.

    Congratulations and know that you have one admirer in Mississippi. If you ever need an employee with 5 years appraisal technology experience, let me know.

  • http://uf911.blogspot.com jason

    Glenn – Thanks for pointing out my erroneous description of Zillow yesterday. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

    Redfin is super-cool, and I wish you guys the best.

    j

  • http://4mysales.com Randall Wilson

    You do have to hand it to the Zillow PR engine though. They manage to garner international attention by leveraging their resources and by not telling people what their product offering actually is.

    -Randy
    http://www.4mysales.com

  • Seattle

    Wow, next we will be going on line and reading up on how to do our own open heart surgery. Then if you read the fine print on REDFIN they take no responsibility if there is a mistake and im sorry but if I am making the biggest investment of my life, I want to make sure that someone has some legal obligation to protect my best interest.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly which fine print are you referring to Seattle? Where do they back out of a closing responsibility that a realitor would not? Seriously, if this is the case, I am everyone would like to know it. Likely even Redfin so they could change their policy.

  • Jay

    In response to Seattle 2-10-06. What is it now that realtors really offer to a buyer? I got it– A $3,000 per hour fee for showing perspective homeowners several homes to inspect which they picked out off of the internet FOR FREE!! Let me do the math for the realtors– 2 hours in my car trailing the realtor to homes I picked plus a whopping 2 hours negotiating the sales price and supposedly coordinating a closing to earn a $12,000 fee. OK for the slow learners $12,000 divided by 4 hours of work = $3,000 per hour. There is a better way and Redfin is closing in on it.

  • Roger

    I feel sorry for Jay, as he must be working with a really crappy buyer’s agent. He is also severely misinformed- the MLS is a cooperative, and agents pay HEFTY fees to belong to it. Furthermore, agents don’t pocket 100% of their commissions. In many cases it’s less than 50%. If agents go the way of travel agents, as many doomsday bloggers are predicting, I will enjoy nothing more than sitting back and watching buyers and sellers sue each other into oblivion. If agents serve no purpose, why are 97% of buyers and sellers still using them? Jay, go get your real estate license and write me in a year and tell me if you made $3000 bucks an hour.

  • Jerry

    This is in reference to Roger’s 2/18 post. I think that Jay’s point is that SOMEBODY is making 12,000 from his house purchase. That’s 12,000 of Jay’s money and he feels he’s not getting 12,000 worth of service. And you know what? He’s probably right. What Jay and many buyers/sellers experience is that the real estate agents get the same fee (6%) regardless of the amount or quality of their work. Some agents work hard and may earn the 6%. Some do not.

    What other service industry careers get a non-negotiable, predetermined payment regardless of the quality or amount of service provided? Certainly not contractors that remodel a home, not architects that design one, not builders that build new homes. They’re all paid proportional to the amount and quality of work they do. Which is one of the big objections to the traditional model of real estate agents. Their pay has no relation to amount or quality.

    When no relationship exists between pay and amount/quality of work, real estate agents should expect that many customers will be unhappy. People like to pay in proportion to their perceived value of services received. Fixed fees eliminate the customer’s ability to negotiate a payment that is proportional to the perceived value of the service received. Of course buyers/sellers are unhappy with the present arrangement. It’s unfair.

    As for your point about not making $3000/hour. I think everybody understands that the actual agent doesn’t make that much. But the combination of the brokerage/agent/etc DO make that much as a collective. Just because you (the agent) have to share the 12000 with others, doesn’t mean Jay is out less money.

  • Seattle

    To the comment that ask for specifics about the fine print of Redfin…I have cut this directly from the terms of use.

    “USE OF THIS WEB SITE AND/OR REDFIN?S SERVICES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. REDFIN AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS OR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS ARE NOT LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR OTHER INJURY ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH THE USE OF THIS WEBSITE AND/OR REDFIN?S SERVICES OR WITH THE DELAY OR INABILITY TO USE THIS WEBSITE, OR FOR ANY INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES OBTAINED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE, OR OTHERWISE ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF THIS WEBSITE, WHETHER RESULTING IN WHOLE OR IN PART, FROM BREACH OF CONTRACT, TORTIOUS BEHAVIOR, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF REDFIN AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAD BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF DAMAGES.”

    AND THEN IT FURTHER SAYS

    “THIS AGREEMENT PROVIDES THAT ALL DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND REDFIN WILL BE RESOLVED BY BINDING ARBITRATION. YOU THUS GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO GO TO COURT TO ASSERT OR DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS. YOU ALSO GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN OR BRING CLASS ACTIONS. YOUR RIGHTS WILL BE DETERMINED BY NEUTRAL ARBITRATORS AND NOT A JUDGE OR JURY.”

    Maybe if it comes with a no question ask return policy then this would be ok!

    And in response to the person that says agents do nothing but show a house and make 12k…Who are you working with…its these companies that are cutting commissions and hiring anyone with a license and giving them no training that are giving other agents a bad name.

    A good agent is going to first of all has spent years getting the best mortgage people, inspectors, appraisers, trade workers in place. Continually educates themselves on the laws, markets and the changes in the city. Pays a minimum of $4000 per month in fees from Office fees, MLS Fees, cell phones, high speed cable, gas (previewing potential properties to make their clients time best utilized) extra insurance, etc…and that?s not even including marketing!

    I guess it boils down to you get what you pay for…

    • Anonymous

      Seattle:

      You say “you get what you pay for”. Nobody has yet said exactly what a buyer “gets” from an agent. I couldn’t care less how much an agent has to spend for this or that. I also don’t see how a good agent “knowing” mortgage people, inspectors, appraisers, trade workers matters to me. All that says to the buyer is that the agent is getting kickbacks from some or all of those people.

      Why don’t you, or someone else, tell in very precise terms what a buyers agent is needed for. No vague “you get what you pay for” or “peace of mind” or “no lawsuits”. Write is clearly and exactly and maybe you will convince me and others who see buyer’s agents as a waste of money.

      For example:

      - Keep an eye on the market for exactly the home you are looking for.

      - Arranging meetings with seller.

      - Knowing how safe every single neighborhood is.

      - Etc.

  • Seattle

    To the comment posted in response to what an agent does/doesn’t do…I am glad that you made that point, it makes me now view Redfin a whole new way…I am personally thankful as an agent that it exist, its going to weed out the clientele that I don’t want to work with. The ones who think they can do it better or devalues my service is not someone I want to work with. Secondly Redfin is going to ultimately make my clientele appreciate my services even more…

    Also I have looked up Redfin and they have a total of 3 agents and no listings. I have more then the whole company and I can also simply put a restriction on full buyers agent commission by simply stating the buyers agent must be present for all viewings, inspections, etc. If NOT present then a flat fee of I don’t know a 1000 will be paid and that way the seller (who’s money it really is) can now save some of those net proceeds we have all been hearing about.

    Better hope your investors dont read this~

  • Anonymous

    Seattle:

    Why can you not just lay it out why it’s important to have one. I and others would love to know why you are so important. WHAT DOES A BUYER’S AGENT DO??? I belive you can’t be precise about it because you have never thought about it yourself.

    • Seattle

      to Anonymous, I SALE THE HOUSE!
      I hold my clients hands because believe it or not people still get nervous about purchasing a home…Today I went to go speak on my clients behalf about an illegal contract that she got herself into (with out agent representation) Now she is stuck with an overpriced property that she is going to have to take a loss on to sale it, because she paid too much for it in the first place! A good agent would have advised her on a fair price!

      Then I had another client call me and I spent about a hour and a half on the phone with him going over his FORM 17 *seller disclosure, each question came with a 5 minute answer… you see he has given me power of attorney to sign all paperwork on his behalf because he lives in Eastern WA on a mountain and has been snowed in for 31 days… I sent a fax machine to him and walked him through how to hook it up and use it (that took about two hours, because guess what there are some people in the world who are not as electronically savvy as others) I did this so in anticipating the need to get a contract to him. AND Because this client lives on a mountain and has been snowed in I think he gets a little bored and lonely so my conversation never are just about Real Estate and never end in any less then 30 minutes…

      Oh by the way we had a buyer on the property in 14 days FULL PRICE!!!

      Then I get another call from another client wanting to unravel a deal because he has gotten cold feet but we have docs…and its good investment and he is walking into equity he just needed to hear all that again. See people get nervous and it takes allot of patience and people skills and good old fashion knowledge of the Market and Real Estate!

      Today has been a long day BUT I guess it takes hard work to cash big checks…

      It suprised me that you had nothing more to say about the restriction on commission with out a buyers agent present…putting the money back into the sellers pocket…but im not suprised. You lost the debate!

  • Anonymous

    Seattle:

    Why can you not just give a simple list of what you do? I know that real estate agents are known for talking without end, but seriously. I don’t care who called you today about what. Just present a list of what a Buyer’s Agent does. An item by item list. You haven’t a clue.

  • seattle

    You have now completly bored me with your same ?’ that I have answered several times…Good luck to you! I will not be back to reply to anymore of the same ole same…

  • Anonymous

    Seattle is typical of someone who is trying to hide information. If someone, anyone, would make or point me to a list of what a buyer’s agent does. Not vague statements. An actual item by item list. Please, I seriously want to know!

  • Advertised out of the Market..

    ,
    Does “Zillo” still engage in misleading/false advertising , as advertising “Not For Sale” reather then the LEGAL Term “NOT LISTED” ???