Promoting Education with “20 Percent”

One of the major perks of working on the engineering team at Redfin is the privilege to take on side projects in addition to the day-to-day assignments. We call it our “quarterly objectives,” where each quarter, engineers or product managers are allowed to dedicate a portion of their time to projects that they’re passionate about. As a result, we’ve shipped an internal search using Solr, deployed New Relic for measuring web application performance, built a negotiation reference for our own real estate agents, and many others.

This time around, Jamie DeMichele, our Technical Lead, decided to take on adding the ability to search for listings by school attendance areas as his third-quarter objective in 2012.


What’s the big deal? It turns out that schools play a crucial role in the real estate industry, both in terms of helping buyers decide where to live, as well affecting resale values for homeowners. From the perspective of a Product Manager on the team, it is simply a dream come true when one of these side projects happen to be one of the most requested features by our visitors as well as real estate agents.

In Jamie’s own words, “after working on mostly backend functionality for many years, getting the chance to work end-to-end on a feature was an awesome experience!”


“Adding search functionality via school boundary polygons is a huge benefit to our customers as well as our agents, especially when it didn’t require massive upgrades to our existing infrastructure. We also built an easy way to regularly update our school boundaries, ensuring a high quality bar for school boundary data on Redfin.”


As usual, a big THANK YOU goes out to everyone on the engineering team who contributed to this feature. We truly enjoyed building a new way for our customers to search for homes, and we’re thrilled to continue reinventing real estate in the consumer’s favor.


  • Joe Liuzzi

    Schools are a very important part of the decision making process. Great tool.