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 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.