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Redfin: Just Another Used Car Salesman

Posted on 02. Aug, 2011 by in Everything Else


This is what bugs me about Redfin. They are a venture backed company led by a bunch of really smart people who had a chance to dynamically transform the real estate industry but instead they are following the same old playbook designed and developed by the used car industry.

Check out their most recent blog post: “Five Redfin Agents Rank in the Top 10 Boston Area Buyers Agents“. Seems straight forward enough. They identify where their data comes from and what criteria they used to determine the results. The only hitch is that they are building a story on top of a questionable foundation.

If I told you I was a buyers agent (which we are – Territory.com) you would assume I represent buyers  (which we do), right? Me too. Yet after only a few minutes of research I confirmed that every single one of Redfin’s top producing “buyer” agents are representing sellers too. I even found some transactions that had a Redfin agent on both sides of the deal! A practice that while legal in Massachusetts is considered extremely anti-consumer and has even been outlawed altogether in a number of states.

So Redfin, while not outright lying, is bending the truth just enough to get you to sign on the dotted line. They wrap up the sales pitch for their super great “buyers agents” by encouraging you to “get great customer service while working with some of the most successful and active agents in the region” but nowhere in this “pro-consumer” company’s bid for your business is the warning that just like Jimmy from the used car lot your friendly Redfin “buyers agent” interests may not be aligned with your own.

A dual agent cannot satisfy fully the duties of loyalty, full disclosure, obedience to lawful instructions which is required of an exclusive seller or buyer agent. The dual agent does not represent either the buyer or the seller solely – Massachusetts Mandatory Licensee-Consumer Relationship Disclosure

I guess it’s no wonder the word “Redfin” instantly conjures the image of a shark in my head.

PS: For whatever reason Redfin’s data seems to be inaccurate for Ryan Wilson. According to MLSPIN data he had actually represented a buyer in 14 transactions over the noted period with a total dollar amount of $6,152,950. This would have put him in the number 3 spot and shifted Redfin agents Hanna Driscoll and Adam Welling down to the 4th and 5th spots respectively.

PPS: Marla Mullen who works as an EXCLUSIVE BUYER AGENT for Territory.com, without accepting and using listings to convert (or bait and switch) buyers into clients, and who also  bills at a flat rate instead of a percentage commission, closed 8 transactions in the 2nd quarter of 2011 with a total dollar amount of $4,314,465. This would have placed her in the top 15 overall!

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One Response to “Redfin: Just Another Used Car Salesman”

  1. Bell Tam 9 August 2011 at 10:48 AM #

    Great article Terry.


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