Big news! Redfin launched a glorious new version of our website this morning. Some of the changes are on the back-end, to help us handle more demand for our partner program, which had been held together behind the scenes by string and bubble-gum until today — now all our partner agents can use a web dashboard to keep us in the loop on what’s going with their Redfin clients (we worry a lot about how you’re doing).
But there are also plenty of features for folks just visiting our website: smart text-matching for misspelled searches, free-text search of marketing remarks, better neighborhood stats, meatier listing alerts and more accessible ways to get that data by RSS too. Oh yeah, and we also no longer give Chrome users a hard time, which we used to do even though lots of us here at Redfin haved used Chrome from day one. Same for Firefox 3.5. Let’s take a peek at some of these features in a little more detail…
And we also let you search for very specific terms in the marketing remarks, like office or fireplace or even a particular architectural style, like Seattle lofts, historic buildings in Washington DC or San Francisco Victorians.
We’ve also made it easier to see how a neighborhood is changing from month to month. When you search Redfin for a city or neighborhood, we show an inventory graph beside the map that now includes key facts about whether inventory is up or down, and about whether homes sold for above or below the last asking price:
If you drill into a neighborhood, you can see how the number of listings and the number of homes sold in the area has changed over the the past year. The layout looks a lot better now, with house and condo graphs on different tabs. There’s also new data in the table below on how the number of listings and sales has changed year over year:
Even though the year-over-year feature is up and running, we won’t have the actual year-over-year data until later tonight; a job is running right now on our production database to calculate all the numbers. We also built stats pages for entire counties, which is mostly useful for journalists who tend to look at the big picture. In general, we’ve invested a lot in neighborhood reports because we got a lot of bankers and investors who are now using our site to analyze the market, and they suggest a lot of features by emailing tech support. We also think good stats are important to our overall mission to be the most authoritative real estate broker in the markets where we compete — we can do a good job here because we have direct access to broker data whereas most analysts don’t.
One area of the site that we haven’t done much with has been the listing alert emails we send out every night to tell people when prices drop or new listings hit the market. It used to be you had to click through to Redfin.com to see the number of beds and bathrooms and the square footage for each listing but as of today that stuff is right in the email. Here’s the new format:
Compare it to the old version which didn’t tell you how many bedrooms or bathrooms there were, or how big the property was:
Not only does the email contain more info, it also behaves nicely when you forward it: the file is five times smaller, and you aren’t typing against a blue background that makes your own comments invisible.
If you want to cut down on mail, we’ve also made it easier to get new listing alerts via RSS — which is how web pages share information with one another — right in the MyRedfin page where you manage all your saved searches:
To give you the scoop on which agent is best for you, we also added a bunch of features to make agent reviews show up in more places; already agent reviews have increased demand 116% since reviews launched in February. Now we highlight our agents’ experience with bank-owned properties and first-time home-buyers — we’re seeing a lot of both these days — by putting badges on all the relevant reviews:
We could go on and on because this release is a big grab-bag of pleasure — we suggest homes for our clients to tour for example — but the other change we should tell you about in this post is the new registration requirement for Long Island and Westchester County. This one doesn’t go in the pleasure category.
The MLS in Long Island has given listing agents there the ability to withhold the address of a listing from the Internet unless we register the visitor as a client. Weirdly, about 68% of the listings have been marked so as to require registration (dual agency — where a listing agent also represents the buyer — is common in Long Island). So that means we can show the property on our map, but we need to get your email address and a password to show you the street address. Nuts! But don’t worry New Yorkers, we won’t spam you; just sign up, browse all the addresses you want and you’ll never hear from us again unless you want to.
OK, that it’s — there’s a big Redfin happy hour at Elysian in Seattle, which I am missing because of this blog post! So if there’s anything I missed — or a feature you wish we had added — please leave a comment below! Many thanks to all the engineers and product managers who worked their tails off to make Redfin better and better; we love you guys.