Today our competitor Redfin announced two changes to their service. One change is new service levels for home sellers, and another is the ability to tour short sales with a Redfin agent. While we applaud their improvements and think they have a great website, we remain biased about our own service levels and think we can provide superior service by dedicating a single agent to guide you through your home buying or selling process, rather than their teams of agents.
Improvement for Home Sellers
After years of focusing primarily on home buyers, Redfin is now emulating our own services for home sellers. Like findwell, they are now offering in-person home consultations, professional photos, traditional marketing materials, online marketing blitzes, feedback gathering from buyers and agents who have toured the home, along with open houses. They are doing this while matching our own fee of charging half of what traditional agents typically charge for listing your home. They also gave up on their $750 upfront listing fee, which was certainly an unpopular fee with their prospective clients. We applaud their efforts to compete with traditional brokers for listings.
Redfin is also now gathering feedback from agents and buyers who have toured your home. We have always viewed this as critical information to help market a property and make decisions on changes to the price and condition of the home. We’ve had an automated feedback system in place for a few years now, and our sellers have always found tremendous value in it. Since Redfin is now gathering agent and buyer feedback for their own listings, I need to call on them to return the favor to other agents when they tour listings. We have had 200+ showings by Redfin agents at our own listings, but we have only received 2 feedback responses. The rest have been ignored. We also attempt phone calls to follow up with Redfin agents after they have showed our listings, but not once have we been successful at reaching them and actually gathering feedback from their showings. If Redfin is going to gather buyer feedback from tours of their own listings, they need to step up to the plate and do the same thing when they show another agent’s listing.
Short Sale Support
Redfin is now offering the ability to tour homes listed as a short sale in Seattle. However, if you want to actually place an offer on short sales, they will pass you off to one of their external partner agents. Short sales can be volatile and difficult to close, so they are passing off all of that hard work to non-Redfin agents to get the deal done, and only offering a 15% rebate in the process. This is compared to their normal 50% commission rebate for buyers. findwell has chosen a different path with short sales. While the short sale process can be difficult and nerve-wracking, if the home is right for you, your dedicated findwell agent will take you through the offer and negotiation process and stick by your side to make it work. We don’t charge differently for short sales, despite the added risk and time-consuming work involved.
Compelling Alternatives to Traditional Brokers
Traditional real estate brokerages such as Windermere, John L. Scott and Coldwell Banker Bain have long held strong market share in the Seattle market. Online brokers such as Redfin and findwell continue to innovate, combining high technology and lower fees to offer a better approach to buying or selling a home. We are betting that our model will win in the long run, but we’ve still got a long way to go. Before you choose a real estate agent, we encourage you to evaluate some of us newcomers before you make your choice.