Thursday, January 10, 2008

Using Redfin to buy real estate: recommend, with caveats

Redfin is a Seattle-based real estate company which is disrupting the well-established norms of real estate transactions. I have been addicted to the Redfin site for a while now. The website is the best for searching properties for sale and researching past sales. Find out what your neighbor paid for their crib! And if you are in the market to purchase, it provides valuable property details which help you sort prospects onto either the drive-by list or the discard pile.

As a buyer with previous experience in real estate transactions, my Redfin buyer experience was great. I would use them again to purchase property in the future, no question. However, Redfin may not meet the unique needs of a first-time buyer. Here’s my take on the characteristics of a successful and satisfied Redfin buyer.

Redfin is great for buyers who are:

  • Self-motivated and like the self-serve aspect of purchasing through Redfin

  • Comfortable with digital communications (internet, email, scanned docs, faxing)

  • Experienced in the property-buying experience (at least one prior purchase)

  • Can do their own homework to determine an appropriate offer price

  • Willing to be proactive in communicating with Redfin staff

  • Comfortable working with different Redfin team members at different stages in the process

  • Ok with Redfin staff having scheduled work hours (and not working on your deal if they are not on the clock)
Redfin caveats for buyers who:
  • Are first-time home buyers, or haven’t purchased in a decade or more

  • Prefer explanation and personalized coaching throughout the process

  • Want to work with one person through all stages

  • Need to be able to reach their agent at any time, or expect an immediate call back

  • Are not comfortable using digital media as the primary communication channel
To learn more about buying with Redfin, check out the 3-minute Buying a Home With Redfin video from Common Craft. (disclosure: Common Craft are friends of mine).

Since I’m in disclosure mode, I have one other faint connection to Redfin (which I only learned about recently). My sister and the CEO of Redfin went to elementary school together. Go Ardmore!


Glenn Kelman said...

Thanks for the kind words about Redfin! What is your sister's name?
Glenn at Redfin

Jeanine Anderson said...

Hey Glenn, thanks for stopping by! My sister requested that I not put her full name here. Ping me at jeanine dot anderson at g mail dot com and I'll send you deets. cheers!

Lee said...

That Glenn, he really gets around on the web. :)

One thing that we learned recently, that I might add to the list, is that Redfin is a good fit for buying in a familiar city. A high percentage of their market already knows the city/neighborhoods where they'd like to buy. It's not as good for people moving to a new city.