Los Angeles, We Have Square Footage

In March, I wrote a post expressing frustration with the absence of square-footage and lot-size information in online listings from the Combined L.A./Westside Multiple listing Service, known as CLAW MLS.  As its name implies, CLAW is the MLS for L.A. from downtown to the ocean, encompassing some of the most sought-after homes in the world.  So the lack of basic information was particularly maddening.

It soon became apparent that I wasn’t the only one upset with CLAW, because that post and one the next day generated more than 50 comments on Redfin and on Curbed L.A., which picked up the post.  Finally, someone representing CLAW came on the blog and wrote a response.  This person, who did not identify himself or herself, said that if Redfin would simply ask, CLAW would provide the information.

To clarify:  For its database of listings, Redfin relies on data feeds provided by regional MLSs. CLAW’s feeds simply never included the same depth of information that other MLSs did. And to our knowledge, no public listings from CLAW, including those on its own site, the mls.com, included this information.celebration.jpg

Until now.  Because, at CLAW’s invitation, we DID ask.  And as of yesterday, when Redfin released an amazing new upgrade of its site, all CLAW listings include square footage.  Yay!

I checked Realtor.com and CLAW’s own site, and it looks like Redfin is the only publicly accessible online source for square footage for CLAW listings. 

A couple of caveats:  We still don’t have a couple of other data fields we were seeking from CLAW, including lot size and year built.  The folks at Redfin are working on getting that from CLAW.  We’ll keep you posted.

Redfin is extremely grateful to have the square-footage information and be able to provide it to the public. We are wondering, however, whether CLAW plans to provide square footage and other data to other public sites, such as its own site, or Realtor.com, or the others.  If anyone from CLAW would care to respond here, we would welcome your input.

To the folks at CLAW who made this happen:  On behalf of potential buyers and real-estate junkies everywhere, THANK YOU.

By the way, the updated Redfin site now includes more listings than ever, including bank-owned foreclosures and FSBOs (For Sale By Owner).  Redfin’s goal is to become the most comprehensive real estate data site out there, and this is a huge leap in that direction.  Check it out.

Recent Redfin posts:
A Great Big Pinata, Just Waiting to Get Busted
Brave Buyers at Barker Block

  • Tim Hebb

    It’s about time!

    Here’s one to you, Cindy, and to all consumers and advocates who’ve been pressing and waiting for this.

    Still, it’s a dense mystery to me why an organization whose charter is to provide information would push back so long and so hard to withhold it – and continues, in some cases, to do so.

  • http://losangeles.redfin.com/blog/author/cindy.allen Cindy Allen

    Thanks, fellow blogger!

    I am surprised that they gave us the info but don’t include it on their own online listings. I have to think they’re planning to. I hope someone from CLAW comes on and explains.

  • Mmm… donuts

    Kudos Cindy et al! That’s a huge benefit to us. Tim, the primary concern of the MLS is to help realtors make sales. Getting buyers to put down their hard-earned money is their goal. Giving buyers more information so buyers can make better choices or save money is not the MLS’s goal, and you see this repeatedly in their behavior. Realtors are allowed (encouraged?) to game the system too, e.g. unlisting then relisting a property so it appears as if it has just been listed. Luckily Redfin catches some of this now.

  • Angelique

    Bravo!!

    Now, seriously, they want us to go see the places without telling us when they’re built? It’s not going to happen, not in this market.

  • http://losangeles.redfin.com/blog/author/christina.chan Christina Chan

    That’s awesome Cindy! Good news to hear.

  • Corntrollio

    Great news, Cindy. Thanks for starting this!

  • eternal summer

    go cindy, go cindy!

  • http://losangeles.redfin.com/blog/author/cindy.allen Cindy Allen

    Thanks for your support, everyone! I am happy you’re able to finally get the info. I hope we’ll be able to get more as time goes on.

  • http://www.thishikingtrail.com candice

    hmm… ask and you shall receive?

    well… since we’re on this topic. I have some additions I would love to see to the Redfin site! You guys have so much data going through, you should create some statistics of your own.

    Some ideas …
    1. After a house has sold, you have very little info available. Why can’t you keep some of the info that was available while the house was selling … such as … sq footage of property, original asking price, and subsequent price changes, etc.

    2. Sometimes a house is on the market, and then it isn’t. And then it is. It’s days on redfin only accumulates the most recent time on the market. Couldn’t you have a tally like … number of times on market since last sale. So, the buyer can know how serious these people are about negotiating and/or selling.

    3. You could offer more stats on your list. Like I can sort by increasing or decreasing price, $/sq ft, etc, but I would love to know an average of these things as well at the bottom of my list.

    4. You have a search check box that says new listings. It would be great if I could check something like .. .new listings, recent price changes, and maybe changes to description (new photos or whatnot). I check redfin everyday, and I would love to see the new and the changes pop up, instead of hunting through them on my own.

    5. The ability to download more data than can be displayed on the screen. That way I can make my own stats, and graphs trends for the zip code (or 2), that I’m looking at. Redfin is a site for people who are going to do the majority of the house hunting themselves, empowering us with the data would be a huge step in this direction.

    6. In terms of GIS capability. I would love to draw a circle around the area I’m looking at. Sometimes my zoom in, is too zoomed, and my zoomed out includes too many houses. The area I want to look at is more vertical than horizontal. Which with google maps you don’t get as much North-South as you do East-West. Being able to draw a circle around my area (yes, it crosses more than one zip code), would enable me to look at just the area I want.

    7. Similarly (and this would be harder), I would love to draw buffers, say, I want to find something “near” a school or a shopping promenade, or maybe I want to see everything except those that are near something (say freeway). I know buffers would be an advanced capability, but they would be so much fun!

    some of these would be much easier than they sound (trust me – I know data and I know google-maps).

    thanks!
    candice

  • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/matt Matt

    I replied to Candice in an email but quickly here my responses:
    1. The MLS tightly controls what information we can make available after a listing goes off the market. Fortunately some MLSes are better than others so later this summer we will do a better job of showing more information when allowed.

    2. We hope to soon add a more comprehensive listing history that will address this concern.

    3. If you don’t see stats go to Map Settings and select Statistics to turn it back on.

    4. We hope to add a price reduction checkbox soon. Have you signed up for our Listing Update emails? http://www.redfin.com/help/search/get-listing-updates

    5. Have you checked out the Download Results feature which lets you download data to Excel or Google Spreadsheet?

    6/7. We plan on adding this in the fall.

    Matt Goyer
    Lead Product Manager – Search
    Redfin