Some of Our Best Friends Are People We've Never Met

Pitching in on a presentation we have to give tomorrow to Madrona’s investors, Jamie DeMichele (senior data-team engineer, Redfin pushup champ) and Matt Goyer (online marketing director, Internet celebrity) dug up some surprising stats on how much consumers have contributed to Redfin’s website.

Redfin Forums: New Posts Grow 294% Year over Year
For example, as of yesterday we now have 21,478 posts on our online message board, Redfin Forums, with more coming in every day. Even though the interface is a bit goofy, there’s a lot of fantastic stuff in there on REO listings, Case-Shiller home-price data, short sales , and Comparative Market Analyses (CMA), nearly all of it from consumers, not real estate agents.

Of course, there are other real estate message boards  out there, but Redfin Forums fills a special niche, because Redfin draws such a geeky, DIY real estate crowd. And the fact that the Forums are the only broker-hosted message board helps too, because there are fewer gawkers and more folks embroiled in deals who want to know what to offer, how to negotiate, which agent to work with, how Redfin is doing.

The increasing activity in Forums has made all of us here who make Redfin policy decisions sit up and take notice: for example, when we have cut off extreme low-ballers or offered unlimited free tours, we check Redfin Forums to see what people think of the decision.

More people than ever are weighing in. This graph charts the number of new posts made in Redfin Forums every month:


Who wrote all that?

There are too many Forums contributors to name — an astounding 27% of the clients who have recently bought a home through Redfin not only read Forums posts but already contributed to the Forums. That said, two contributors really stand out: the Great Venturion and the wise Mlindekugel. We’ve never met either of you, but would very much like to. We spend a lot of time thinking about how we could thank you without ever simply saying thank you. We read what you write with great pleasure and are very grateful for your daily voice.

2,319 Reviews: From Successful and Unsuccessful Customers
The other type of information that our users share is, of course, reviews of both our agents and of our partner agents, which we recently began publishing, unfiltered and unedited. Over the past few years until yesterday, 2,319 clients have responded to our surveys.

These reviews have become Redfin’s most significant marketing asset: a treasure trove of market intelligence, and a reliable guide for consumers trying to find the best agent. From day one, anyone who tried to buy or sell a home through Redfin gets an online survey asking her to rate the likelihood that she would recommend Redfin to a friend. We publish every lead agent’s survey response, whether good or bad, to the agent’s profile. Sometimes now we also survey folks who tour with us, though we try not to survey everyone, all the time, just so we don’t overwhelm our clients.

The good news is that most of the clients who buy a home through Redfin give us high marks:

Rating Count
0 1
1 1
2 3
3 1
4 4
5 12
6 16
7 27
8 100
9 178
10 581

Of the 924 responses, 96% have a rating of 7 or higher. What’s amazing is that our unsuccessful home-buyers aren’t much different in their assessment:

Rating Count
0 5
1 3
2 8
3 4
4 8
5 21
6 19
7 60
8 125
9 168
10 328

Of the 749 responses from clients who did not complete a purchase, 90% have a rating of 7 or higher.  We attribute this to Redfin’s no-pressure customer-service, which often involves telling clients to walk away from a bad deal, or to wait until the prices in a particular market have settled out. Is a good review cold comfort when we don’t close a deal? I suppose it can be, but we hope that this kind of advice pays off in the long run.

Over the past year, Redfin’s total customer-satisfaction rating among clients who bought and those who didn’t has been 97%. The percentage of buyers coming to us via word-of-mouth has steadily increased for Redfin since inception. So hopefully, the feedback keeps coming, and it keeps telling us what we need to hear.

Let us know in the comment what we can do next to include more of you in the conversation. We’re always listening!