REDFIN and the "Wings of Change" by ARDELL DellaLoggia

Welcome to the first Real Estate Industry Yankee Blog Swap! Today 34 of the most influential real estate bloggers are trading blogs for the day to offer a full spectrum of information on everything from current market conditions to the future of online real estate services. The full blog swap list is at the end of this post, be sure to join in the fun!

Visiting Redfin’s blog today is the one and only queen of Seattle real estate bloggers … Ardell DellaLoggia!

REDFIN and the “Wings of Change” by ARDELL DellaLoggia

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For over 16 years, I have worked in an industry that is OVERLY “Sensitive (regarding) their dependency on initial conditions”.

“initial conditions” being, SAME OLD, SAME OLD–STATUS QUO

For those who are already “with me”:
Attractor D in the graph represents the Realtor organization.

Attractor C is REDFIN, getting dangerously close to piercing through the “Old Guard’s” falling curve.

Attractor A is Zip Realty.

And last, and most least, is Attractor B…the “bottom feeder” sites, “whose name is Legion and of which there are many.”

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The “equilibria” point for the Realtor Organization represents the day the organization acknowledged the buyer’s right to separate and equal representation. Until that time, all agents represented the Seller, ALL agents wrote offers FOR buyers (as customers and not clients) with the hidden agenda of doing so, from the standpoint of the best interests of the seller. Odd but true, and apparently still true in some remote, far away places like…New York City!?!? that still has no MLS System. No MLS System, doesn’t mean we are “backward” and have no computers. No MLS System is a means of “controlling the inventory”. Even the many and most who have MLS Systems, are arching back toward the “blue square initial state” where “He who listed…lasted” and buyers should be grateful for the opportunity of…any crumbs the powers that be chose to leave for them on the table.

In all fairness, REDFIN was 2nd, and Attractor A/Zip Realty, was the first to make strides in “Empowering the ‘Buyer Consumer’,” with its offer of 20% to the buyer. I’ll let the curve in the graph speak for itself with regard to Zip as Zip did not do, in all its time to date, a smidgeon of what REDFIN has been able to do in its short history.

REDFIN carries us forward on its “Wings of Change”, just as a “butterfly’s wings create tiny changes in the atmosphere, that ultimately cause a tornado to appear”.

It is Glenn Kelman, and “Glenn Kelman’s REDFIN”, that means most to me. You only have to meet Glenn once to know that it is in the purity of his vision for the consumer, be that a buyer consumer or a seller consumer, that the “Truth Does OUT”. The Truth that the RULES were in fact made to be broken. Funny thing is, Glenn really doesn’t know that he is breaking the rules, nor do the blog staff writers. Glenn is approaching the industry without the burden of the industry’s pull toward it’s “initial state”. Glenn hasn’t a clue what the “initial state” was. He looks at the here and now. He looks at what people want and need and how technology can get them what they want and need, without regard to the forces that pull back toward “the initial state”.

Whether or not REDFIN succeeds as a business is ultimately irrelevant. Their tiny wings of change will bring forth the tornado that moves Attractor D back up on its course, toward a balance of power between the buyer and seller consumer. A marketplace that recognizes the buyer’s right to equal and separate representation…EVEN IF THE BUYER SAW THE HOUSE FIRST, WITH THE SELLER’S AGENT. NEVER, EVER CAN OR SHOULD A BUYER BE FORCED INTO BEING REPRESENTED BY THE SAME PERSON WHO REPRESENTS THE SELLER…NEVER AGAIN. If they WANT to do that, to KEEP all or a portion of the Buyer Agent fee, that’s OK. But some RULE that says they HAVE to?? Glenn is blind to that rule, he doesn’t remotely “get it”, nor should anyone “get it”…cause IT has to CHANGE along with lots of other “ITS”. “ITS” BROKE – FIX IT! You don’t like the way Glenn is “fixing it”…oh well, you had plenty of time to fix it on your own, and you DIDN’T!

So Glenn and the DOL and the tornado behind them, will fix it for the consumer, who needs for “IT” to be fixed.

Be sure to vist all the Yankee Blog Swappers:

Transparent Real Estate’s Pat Kitano vs. Zillow Blog’s Drew Meyers

RSS Pieces’ Mary McKnight vs. Future of Real Estate Marketing’s Joel Burslem

St. Paul Real Estate Blog’s Teresa Boardman vs. Phoenix Real Estate Guy’s Jay Thompson

3 Ocean Real Estate’s Kevin Boer vs. SLC Real Estate’s Nigel Swaby

Issaquah Undressed’s Larry Cragun vs. Maury Properties’ Andrew Maury

Chicago Home Weblog’s Geno Petro vs. NY Houses 4 Sales’ Christine Forgione

Phoenix Arizona Real Estate Blog’s Jonathan Dalton vs. Real Estate Snippets’ Bonnie Erickson

The boys of Sellsius vs. Real Estate Tomato’s Jim Cronin

ML Podcast’s Michael Price vs. FamousAgents.com’s Elise Wright

My Tech Opinion’s Reggie Nicolay vs. Ubertor’s Steve Jagger

Redfin’s Glenn Kelman vs. Rain City Guide’s Ardell DellaLoggia

CondoDomain’s Anthony Longo vs. miOaklandCounty’s Maureen Francis

The San Diego Home Blog’s Kris Berg vs. Urban Dig’s Noah Rosenblatt

The Property Monger’s Jon Ernest vs. XBroker’s Jeff Corbett

Realty Blogging’s Richard Nacht vs. The Mortgage Reports’ Dan Green

Christian Real Estate Network’s Justin Smith vs. Wanna Network’s Tony Senna

Sacramento Voice’s Gena Riede vs. Max Sell’s Brad Nix

For an overview of the event and all its participants, please visit www.YankeeBlogSwap.com.

Discussion

  • http://genopetroche.blogspot.com/ geno petro

    Ardell, well spoken, written, whatever. Good thing this got posted before the Redfin Holiday Party below (ha,ha) I sell in a state that allows for Dual Agency and lets just say just I try “not to go there…”

  • http://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com Jay Thompson

    Change is scary, but change is good. This industry needs some change.

    Nice post. Wouldn’t expect anything less from Ardell…

  • http://www.searchingseattleblog.com ARDELL

    Geno and Jay,

    The change I am looking for is simply in the agent “mindset”. Geno says, “I try not to…” and “I sell in a state that allows for…”

    The beauty of Alternative Business Models, such as Redfin, is that they start at the consumer and work backwards.

    Both of you, like most agents, start at laws and agents and never get to the consumer part.

    Geno,

    Yes, your State permits Dual Agency, but I’m sure not without the written consent of both of the consumers. That you can slide a paper under them and get them to sign it down on paper #15, is not the issue. Nor is the issue what you do or do not “want” to do with regard to Dual Agency.

    The issue is that written consent is required of BOTH consumers, because it is THEIR issue and not yours. If THEY both want it GREAT!!

    It ain’t always about us! Loved the piece on your blog from Christine, especially the photo and your intro.

    Jay,

    The indsutry needs to stop obsessing over itself and start obsessing over the consumer. Frankly, they never had a problem with seller consumers, not as much as with buyer consumers. Time to stop the “lip service” to buyers and time to talk commissions with the “client” and view the buyer as “a client”. Long overdue.

    So overdue that Redfin doesn’t understand how it couldn’t be so, and that naivete makes them GREAT! They have zippo propensity to return to the “intitial conditions” that heavily favor the seller’s best interest and the agent’s best interest.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass how much money they do or don’t make. They don’t have their heads up their butts, and that’s good enough for me.

  • http://3oceansrealestate.com/blog Kevin Boer

    Ardell, not only are you a kick-ass writer, a kick-ass agent…but apparently you also have a PhD in theoretical physics! No wonder you do a booming business with Microsoft and Google clients up there in Seattle.

    The beauty of Redfin — and the angst it causes our traditional community — are both, quite simply, because they started with a different set of assumptions. Their model may work, or it may not…but they definitely have the consumer front and center.

  • http://www.searchingseattleblog.com ARDELL

    Kevin,

    Here’s the Deal, “THEY” are “THEM”! They think like PEOPLE and not like AGENTS. AGENTS need to think differently, and stop going back to “blue square one”.

    Man on the Street (Redfin, Zillow, most people who didn’t drink the NAR Kool-aid) say “What the heck!?!? I hired you to sell my house and you don’t want to open the freakin’ door??? What’s up with that??”

    Now Kevin, don’t bother giving me the agent side of it…I know it and I “get it”, but maybe WE are wrong on that. Maybe Redfin is correct. Maybe an agent hired by the seller to sell his house has to just stop whining about having to show it.

    Now, I’m still glad Redfin offers showing, because guess what? If I have twenty offers on the house, I’m not necessarily going to run over there to open the door for anyone, cause me and the seller don’t need no stinking 21st offer. That would put the Redfin client at a disadvantage.

    So sometimes the listing agent will show it. And clearly if the buyer saw it at an Open House, I don’t want to hear about no Procuring Cause for the house sitting agent of the day. But Redfin needed to open up the option of showing…which they have.

    Everone go back to the round black dot and rethink the whole industry please. The rules were not re-written enough at that black dot, and are starting to regress back to buyers being “lambs led to the slaughter”.

    The Traditional Industry is MUCH more WRONG than Redfin. Time to “take the plank out of thine own eye” and stop looking at the alternative models through a microscope.

    They do not have to BE US. They see the world through “consumer colored glasses” and maybe we need to take a peek through their glasses with them.

    P.S. The graph comes from Wikipedia “butterfly effect” wings of change. For my application, Seller Represntation is the vertical axis and Buyer Representation is the horizontal Axis.

    Physics Shmysics – it’s all real estate to me.

  • http://atlanta575realestate.com Brad Nix

    I read Ardell often and everyone knows she is top 5 agent in the world (and if I were her I’d have stats and a fancy graph to prove that claim), but you tackled this issue expertly and I can’t wait to see the new marketplace of empowered consumers. Choice and change are welcome in Atlanta – I love competition, it makes me better.

  • http://www.searchingseattleblog.com ARDELL

    Brad,

    I don’t “do world”, but I do do windows :-)

  • http://www.searchingseattleblog.com ARDELL

    Agreed, Thomas.

    However, in it’s existing form the industry is, and always has been, seller consumer centric. Most agents put themselves at the same level as the seller. So I think the Agents and the Sellers are both “covered” moreso than buyer consumers, under the existing models. Seller discount models have been available for as long as I can remember…and that’s a very long time. Buyer options are just starting to emerge and agents clearly do not treat buyers the same as sellers regarding client status.

  • http://www.rsspieces.com REBlogGirl

    Wow, Ardell, it took me a while to get her- but you blew me away, girl. You could work for Fox News- this was Fair and balanced. I, personally, like Redfin. While they have a ways to go with the technology, they do have a strong focus on the customer and as one in the market currently, I can appreciate that. I agree that it is an exciting time for real estate- it has been flipped on it’s head by technology- MLS’s everywhere are scrambling to find a way to keep up and new services like Zilow, Redfin and Trulia are entering the public consciousness.

  • http://www.searchingseattleblog.com ARDELL

    REBlogGirl…ditto as to me and your post.

    Looks like my response to Thomas came up, but Thomas’ comment vanished…odd.

  • http://srqrealestate.blogspot.com Thomas Heimann

    NOTE: this message was inadvertently deleted. Original post: 12/20, 5:30 a.m.

    Great post Ardell, and kudos to Glenn for having the courage to shake things up. I am in full agreement that regardless of whether or not REDFIN ultimately succeeds, they have certainly caused a shift that will impact the entire industry long term.

    I would like to make one observation however, call it a disagreement or whatever,.. and that is this:

    I don’t think that the big issue at hand is whether or not the industry is “seller centric” with the buyer “getting the crumbs” of representation.

    I think at the heart of the matter is the challenge that the current paradigm of the real estate industry is that of an entirely “Agent Centric” industry, as opposed to the “consumer centric” (as in buyer or seller) industry that it ought to be.

    It’s about giving the consumer choices, and about brokers being more concerned about their consumers rather than their agents.

    This is why I would not count ZIP in as a Real Estate 2.0 type firm. Their business model is every bit as Agent Centric as that of Coldwell Banker. The fact that they offer a 20% rebate to buyers (or 25% to sellers) does not change this. It’s a step into the right direction, but it’s not where I would like see the future of the industry heading.

    I think that the paradigm shift will not be ‘equal representation of the buyer’ and ‘buyer’s ability to negotiate their fees’, but rather a shift from the current Agent Centric business model, towards a Client (or consumer) Centric business model.

    Keep up the great work.

    Thomas Heimann, CEO
    Bravo Real Estate
    Sarasota, FL