Find and Sell a Home with Redfin.com
Found In: Real Estate
What is Redfin?
There are several things that impressed me about Redfin.com. First, Redfin is a company with a vision of offering truly consumer-focused real estate services. Second, their passion for the innovative use of technology is second to none that I have seen. Redfin’s revolutionary vision combined with their innovative use of technology elevates the consumer to top priority and makes the entire home buying/selling process more transparent than it has ever been.
Redfin real estate agents are not traditional salespeople focused on sales at any cost, but instead strive to be advocates for the customer. Testimonials from clients boast of agents who not only have superior customer service skills, they put consumers first and will actually advise a buyer or seller to step away from a deal that may be a bad move. I like the idea of my real estate agent being on my team.
Signing up for the account on Redfin.com is quick and easy. Simply enter your first and last name along with your email address. I did experience a minor setback when the confirmation email showed up and wouldn’t open. I fired off an email to customer service and within an hour I received a response and the problem was resolved.
Thinking of putting your house on the market? Take advantage of Redfin’s Price Whisperer feature. The Price Whisperer function is your chance to test the market. Tell Redfin the list price you are considering for your home and they will help you to feel out potential buyers regarding price. Potential home buyers view a very brief description of your home features and then indicate yes, no, or maybe to the price. Use that data to adjust the price of your home before the home actually hits the market.
Upon login to the website, enter the zip code of the city of your choice. Your search results will be displayed using a split screen. Available homes as dots on a map appear on the left side along with detailed listings on the right. I have seen a similar feature on at least one other real estate site, but I was intrigued to learn that Redfin actually got its start inventing the map-based search. Redfin also provides an outline in red on the map to indicate their current service area for that city.
The Search Features
Redfin features all the typical search options in an À la carte menu similar to many other real estate search websites. One option I was particularly pleased to see was the option to filter by “Lot Size”. This is a real time saver if you are looking for a home with a specific amount of land as you can choose to look only at home with lot size that suits your needs. There is also an option to only show new listings, homes with open houses, views, waterfront or homes that are fixer-uppers. I like this much better than the one size fits all approach of most real estate search sites.
The company also offers a Book it Now feature. I’ve not seen this before in real estate. The option enables you to book a home tour as simply as making a restaurant reservation. Pick a date and time and send a request to have a Redfin agent provide a tour.
The Redfin iPhone app boasts a revolutionary Draw your Own Search function. This feature enables buyers to whittle search results down even further by drawing their own boundary around the area where they want to live. So buyers no longer have to sift through homes that aren’t in the neighborhood they want or try to guess if a street address is going to fall in their ideal part of town. To top it off, once you draw in your search area, the Redfin iPhone app will forward you notifications when homes in your target area hit the market or reduce the listing price. When you combine the Draw Your Own
Search and Book It Now functions with their Hot Homes feature that lets you know which houses in your search area have a 70% chance or more of a viable offer in 14 days or less, you can be ready to pounce and snag the home of your dreams.
If all of the above search features haven’t tipped the scales in their favor, Redfin takes it one step further. One of the most time frustrating parts of the home search can be trying to get input from others on homes you are considering. Whether it be your partner, your mom, or maybe your best friend on the other side of the world, home buying doesn’t happen in isolation. Use the unique Shared Search feature to quickly send your favorite listings to your spouse or whoever is joining your home search. Comment on the ones you fall in love with, get input from your best friend, or the even the lowdown from your agent.
Redfin strives to make the home buying process as transparent as possible and this is evident from their website. Each home includes a Transportation score which indicates how accessible the area businesses are on foot or by bike. Isolated areas will display lower bike and walk scores and will have a note that indicates how much of your errands will need to be done by car.
Home Value Tool
The Home Value Tool is a very handy feature. It enables potential buyers to choose up to 5 similar homes that have recently sold to compare pricing and reveal an estimated “real value” of a home being considered.
Agent Insights feature
Tour Insights is a great feature I have never heard of before. Redfin agents are out there, checking out homes and giving tours to other potential home buyers. Every time our agents give a tour, they can send us a note about not only special features of the home but maintenance items that may need to be done or other details such as a noisy road or amount of traffic in the evening. So not only will potential buyers get insight into the real ambiance of the neighborhood, if the lawn needs to be mowed or the pool needs to be cleaned, we’ll know right away so it can be taken care of before the next showing.
Real-time insight into the negotiation process for every home listed is collected and published for viewing. Agents make notes of any issues that crop up during negotiation. These notes are shared first on a general basis, without identifying the home and then after the sale can be shared publicly to hopeful home buyers giving them an insider’s heads up. Agent insights are not shared with the public for at least 2 days after each tour. This lets the current customer make a decision on the home before sharing details with others.
One of the best features I noticed was the Deal Room. This function gives a real-time, to do list throughout the closing process. The Deal Room offers homebuyers important milestones, tasks, and deadlines regarding things such as inspection deadlines or lender timeframes for a home appraisal. All of this information is designed to supplement regular conversations with your agent. If you are awake in the middle of the night, up to date status info is available via the website.
The only disadvantages I found to the Redfin services and website were (1) from the website it wasn’t clear whether there were any agent offices in my area, (2) the school information either wasn’t complete or was entered inaccurately, and (3) several of the small, rural towns I explored came up with zero listings. If you are looking for a home or selling a home in a major U.S. city or high population suburb, I’m sure you will find the Redfin website extremely handy.