Redfin‘s been through so many business models over the years, I can completely understand why some folks would think that Redfin is entering a new area by working with real estate agents, but I can’t help remind folks that this is a business model that they’ve tried in the past… and it failed miserably the first time.
In only the 2nd time Redfin was mentioned on RCG, Anna was upset (to put it mildly), that Redfin had gone from being a company that did only referral business to agents (accepting a 20% cut), to including a flat-fee option for FSBO’s to get their listings in the MLS. (Jun ’05)
A few months later, RCG agreed to give Redfin a 2nd chance after they had dropped all references to the flat-fee option for sellers from their website. (Oct ’05)
However, the Redfin evolution when Glenn Kelman took the helm of Redfin in Sept ’05. From this article Galen published in Jan ’06, Glenn Kelman is being quoted talking about Redfin’s referral busines to agents saying:
“How do we make money now? People sign up for a real estate agent… The real estate agent and Redfin share the fruits of that.”
I SOOO wish I had a screenshot of Anna’s profile she had on the Redfin site back in early ’05 because the content on the page would be shockingly similar to the current agent profiles. I can’t remember exactly what the profiles looked like, but I’m almost positive they listed the agent’s recent transactions and had consumer reviews (I vaguely even remember a star system for the agents).
I honestly wish no ill will on the Redfin folks and wish them the best in their latest endeavor. It’s just that the blogger in me can’t believe so many folks are letting them get away with saying they are doing something new. About the only thing I see new with this program is that they are charging a 30% referral fee instead of the 20% they used to charge to agents back when Anna took part in ’05.