Redfin is doing all the things that the association of realtors should be doing – if they start their own MLS they could take over the industry.
Hat tip to CM for sending this along, from the nytimes.com:
The real estate listing and brokerage site Redfin has added a tool that gives home sellers access to details about the performance of real estate agents in more than a dozen major markets.
The move continues the continuing Internet shake-up of the real estate world. Web sites like Trulia and Zillow, and local and regional players like streeteasy.com in the New York and New Jersey area, have empowered consumers by putting electronic information about sales and home values at their fingertips. Redfin says it is going a step further, by providing sales data linked to individual agents, to help sellers select a professional to market their home.
The tool can help sellers find agents who are active and who have had success in their specific neighborhood, said Glenn Kelman, Redfin’s chief executive. Using information from local multiple-listing services, where agents list the home they are representing for sale, the “Scouting Report” tool provides data on roughly one million agents, he said.
The tool isn’t comprehensive.
Various M.L.S. restrictions mean the data isn’t available in Redfin’s hometown of Seattle, for instance, nor in Palm Springs, Calif.; parts of Atlanta; California’s wine country; and Westchester County, in New York.
And because the data goes back three years at the most — a period when home sales have been slow — some agents may show no deals at all when you search by their name. But even so, Redfin is going beyond what has generally been available to consumers online, Mr. Kelman said. “Our goal in releasing this information is to help consumers make informed choices about which real estate agent to choose.”
In markets where the tool works, sellers can search for agents by name and see their current listings; how many homes the agent has sold in the last three years, or in the past year in some cases; where the homes are located on a map; photos of the homes; the median sales price; the average number of price cuts for each property; and other details.
Scouting information is available for the following markets served by Redfin: Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco and the Bay Area; Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles; Chicago; Long Island, N.Y.; Austin and Dallas; parts of Atlanta; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Denver; and Las Vegas.
The tool provides information about all agents in many of the markets, Mr. Kelman said, not just those who work directly for Redfin or who partner with it. (Partner agents work for other firms, but agree to offer commission discounts to Redfin clients.) Some markets offer information on all agents, even if they have no affiliation with Redfin.
Mr. Kelman says M.L.S. data is generally accurate and up to date, but if an agent finds inaccuracies, the site outlines a procedure to have the information corrected.
“I think the best real estate agents are going to love this,” he said.
do you love it?
Lawsuits to follow shortly.
The Phoenix data I checked appears to show only listings and only with the current broker. For example, an agent I know there that has closed more than 12 sides this year but recently switched brokers shows only the one current active listing.
I love it, and have many thoughts:
1. When I brought it up to our local association 3-4 years ago that it would be beneficial to our clients to have such a resource, they said, “Can’t do it, we’d just get sued.”
AI’s comment at #2 is probably right, lawsuits will follow. Because Glenn has been a guy who has played nice up to now, I would guess that he’ll rescind the program, rather than fight.
But I hope he fights it, because it is the type of transparency that is wanted and needed, and what is the big deal as long as it is accurate?
2. I hope they provide some guidance on how to use it, rather than just list the # of sales.
3. Realtors already manipulate this stat, like many others. The big 10-20 person teams all put their sales under the lead dog so he/she looks like Superman. They should insist that a note accompanies those that are reporting multiple-person sales. (Mine are mine, Richard and everyone else at KR report individually)
4. Realtors need to know how to explain their stats in a positive way. If you only have a few sales, don’t get defensive, give an explanation. I don’t think the client will insist on hiring agent with the most sales, they just want to know more about your expertise – here’s your chance to explain it.
Ah, love it. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
There should be a secure MLS-wide comment system. See what past clients really felt about their representation.
Yes, it works for ebay.
If somebody left a negative comment, give the realtor a chance for rebuttal.
I think most logical people would expect occasional problems, mostly because there are so many people involved with each transaction – but the agent gets the rap.
I’d listen to both sides with an open mind.
Can we use this data to start our own fantasy Realtor league?
Wow, this is awesome stuff.
Redfin has been publishing so much great information about properties and realtors that is normally hard to find. This kind of stuff is truly revolutionizing the industry.
Sooner or later local MLS organizations (like Sanicor) that are using backwards policies and technologies will go by the wayside.
If an agent hasn’t sold a home in the last three years, that is a very telling statistic. It tells you they have no idea how to sell a house in a challenging market. Everyone is a genius in a bull market.
Since you are a “all cards face-up” type, the fact you are positive on the Redfin site is no surprise.
What is a surprise, however, is the amount of data available on this — not currently on Zillow or Realtor.com.
You are right on target with your eBay analogy…the negative/positive comments have worked there for years. The RE business needs this similar transparency and feedback mechanism. As for the lawsuits, in the words of “W”…”bring ’em on!”
Redfin and JK are bright spots in the otherwise murky landscape of the real estate business.
Being a member of TheMLS (LA) and SoCal (OC) and a few years back Sandicor, I now use Redfin as my main real estate tool and only use the actually mls for private remarks/comments, public records, and past listings/sales (if Redfin does not have them). For most of my clients, I setup hotsheets from both Redfin and the mls and 100% of the time they always tell me to discontinue the one from the mls. Redfin is just so easy to use and well designed. It is an actual joy to use. The same cannot be said for Sandicor’s Tempo 5 (what a disaster that is). Overall, Redfin is what all other MLS can only hope to aspire to. Any secure agent should only welcome Redfins latest “Scouting Report” tool. Even if you are just starting out in the business this tool cannot make or break you. Only you can do that.
Jim keep up the excellent work. It is amazing how you can do the blog and work at the same time.
P.S. Redfin’s iPhone is app is excellent.
P.S.S. TheMLS’s mls is very powerful and sophisticated but complicated to use. SoCal still uses the simple and beautiful Tempo 3. Redfin is still better then both.
Ahhhh, yes Tempo 3, a relative delight compared to Tempo Minus-5.