Add this to the List Of Posts I’ve Been Meaning To Write But Have Not Had The Time To Hammer Out.
When we sold our townhouse and bought our current home, we did it through Redfin. When we tell our friends we did this instead of using a “traditional” real estate agency in the area they usually have questions because they either (A) Have never heard of it or (B) Have heard of it but don’t really know what it is or (C) Want to know What On Earth We Were Thinking.
The best summary I can give is that from the buying side, it is like Uber but for real estate. You have an app on your phone with access to all MLS listings. You search for homes that fit within your specific criteria, like any other real estate website. When you find a house you want to see, you request a showing and date/time and then Redfin matches you with an available agent. You meet the agent at the house and you tour it. If you want to view more than one house in a tour, then you drive your own car from house to house and meet the agent at each house. You see a house you like? They write the offer, negotiate, etc.
Honestly, the reason we know about Redfin (and felt comfortable trying them out!) was because my parents bought their home through Redfin in 2016. They had a positive experience, so we felt like it was a decision we were comfortable making.
The best part (AKA the whole reason to do this) = if you buy your home through Redfin they refund you part of the commission they earn on the sale of the home. For the house we just purchased, that was $2,600 we got back simply because we used them.
From the buying side, I will say the following:
- While we worked with a primary agent, sometimes we saw houses with other agents. This was not important to us. If you only want to work with one person, this model will not work for you.
- Since their agents aren’t getting paid in the same way as traditional real estate agents, they’re not overly motivated to sell you a house and they don’t get frustrated with you if you have toured, say, 20 of them and still haven’t found the right one. This was especially important to us because the inventory in our market was really low and out of the 30 houses we saw, there were only two we put offers in on and only four or five that we seriously considered.
- Many of the agents we worked with had “day” jobs and so there was a wide variety of skill levels. We knew what we were looking for in a house. We also knew what sorts of things we were looking at in a house (windows, water damage, age of the HVAC system, etc.). If you are completely clueless, this may not be the route for you.
With all of that in mind, 100% we would use Redfin again as buyers.
From the selling side, based on what we paid in listing fees to sell our townhome, we saved $1500 compared to the fees charged by a traditional brokerage (they simply charge a lower percentage of listing than traditional brokerages). Redfin also provided us with a $250 “sparkle” fund reimbursement for the small improvements and repairs we made to the house to get it ready to sell.
Selling our house was a whirlwind, honestly. We met with the listing agent in November just to get an idea of pricing and what we needed to do. Once we were ready to move forward at the end of January, within the span of a week we had our house measured, photographed, listed, with God, I can’t remember 17 booked showings and an open house and by the end of the weekend a signed purchase agreement.
There were times where we felt communication was a bit rocky, but at the same time, for the amount of effort we had to put into selling our house (really not that much) and the amount of money we saved in total on the sales-side ($1,750!) I’d say things went swimmingly. Frankly, they could have been outright mediocre and it still would have been worth the savings.
TL;DR Redfin is the Uber of homebuying, by using them for buying and selling, we saved a total of $4,350. 11/10 would use again.