Redfin adds “feedback” comments to site features

Yesterday Redfin announced the launch of a new site feature that introduces the concept of “agent feedback” on a broader and more transparent scale.

As with anything new, it will take a bit of time for things to “shake out” on this new feature, as we as an industry continue to balance the obligations to home sellers “IN” an mls system, and the wants and needs of home buyers who do not have any contractual rights within an mls system, the way that sellers do.

I will describe how this new feature appears to function at present, and as I understand it after having tested it.

When you search for property on Redfin and the little house icons appear on the map, some will have a yellow star to denote which properties have been “toured” by a Redfin agent AND the Redfin agent has noted their and/or their buyer client’s thoughts on the property.

If the house has no yellow star, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t EVER “toured” by a Redfin agent, only that the agent did not input a comment to the system after doing so.


If you click on the house icon with the yellow star, the address will appear in a link box. If you click on the link, you will get the property detail, but you will not yet SEE the comment made by the “field” agent. (“Field” agent is the term used by Redfin for agents who view property with prospective home buyers. (Agents “out in the field”.) Redfin “partner” agents also have access to posting comments, even though they are not employees of Redfin. Not sure if they can do that for all of the property they show, or only the property they show to a home buyer who was referred to them “by Redfin”. But I do know they have some access to this new feature as to leaving comments.

What you will see above the map of the parcel, and below the home detail specifics, is this: “Notes About (123 main street) from Redfin Agents Toured (X) Times” along with a Button you press that says “Email Notes to Me”.

Again, I don’t think it is accurate yet as to how many “Times” the home was toured by Redfin, but I’m confused on this issue. I have a listing toured by Redfin at least 2 times that does not have a yellow star, nor does it denote in the detail that it was ever toured by a Redfin “field” agent with a buyer (or Redfin “partner” agent). So I’m pretty sure ALL “tours” are not registering. I thought maybe “Toured 2 Times” meant there were 2 comments, but there is only 1 comment, so maybe that one agent toured it 2 times before making the comment.

Perhaps they should say “1 Comment” vs “Toured 2 Times” in the interest of “accuracy”, as “transparency” carries an obligation of a reasonable degree of accuracy as to factual content. As I said earlier, this is a minor point that will “shake out” vs “shake up” as time goes on.

When you click on the “Email Notes to Me” button, you will fairly instantaneously receive an email with the comment(s).

There is also a feature to receive new notes as they are added later on this property. That appears to be automatic, except if you click on the same property that sent you notes and hit that button again, it will give you an option to receive new notes. So not entirely sure on that one.

To receive these notes you DO NOT have to be a Redfin “CLIENT”. You simply have to be a “registered user” of the Redfin site, as I and most of my clients are.



1) The most notable problem is that at least two of the comments shown publicly in blog posts contain what we call “inappropriate language”. For example the one in this post from Glenn’s post says “ideal for a family” and one of the two comments posted on 1000Watt Consulting Blog by Brian Boero says “not for families with small children”.

The guideline for agents is we must talk ONLY about property and not make broad statements about who should live IN them. Both of those comments mention people vs home attributes, long considered taboo under HUD guidelines.

There are massive writings on this topic, but a good rule of thumb is:


Talk about the home and it’s attributes, and not the people.

A long standing “rule” for real estate advertisements, or most any statements made by licensed agents, is talk about the house and not people.

HOWEVER I often will tell a specific client that a home is not right for them “and their small children” if the house has a master bedroom only on the 2nd floor, and the only other bedrooms are IN the basement, especially if we have already discussed that the master bedroom must on the same floor as their children’s bedrooms.

So I think if Redfin notes a specific “deficiency” of the property in that regard, without mentioning people, like “Master up; children’s bedrooms two floors below and in the basement”. That would be OK. But to simply say “not for families with small children”…well, that’s more about HOW you say it than what you say. Not a huge deal. Just another example of “shake out” of this new feature to come, IMO. What you can say TO a buyer client is different than what you can say “publicly”, and this new feature blurs the lines from a “Fair Housing Guidelines” standpoint.

2) That raises another issue. Let’s say Redfin Agents can say anything because they are speaking to Redfin site “registered users” only. Not saying that is the case, but let’s consider that as potentially the case.

Then the issue of Brian Boero, or any other “registered user”, POSTING those private email comments PUBLICLY becomes a problem.

Can he take a private email and display it publicly? I think Brian can, because I don’t think Brian is a licensed agent. I don’t think I can, unless I am linking to a public place (as I did) and it is not an email I personally received from the site.

If the rationale is ONLY “registered users” can see the comments, then shouldn’t there be an agreement with registered users that they will not publicly post those emailed comments? I think so.

3) The benefit generally is that Redfin continues to try to strike a good balance between the rights of buyers and sellers. But, the seller has a contract as to what their conditions are with regard to an mls being able to display their property information via the mls system. Buyers have no rights in that regard, as they have no written contract with “an mls system”.

I think most mls systems will allow the seller to block this feature, and will recommend that sellers do that, given the seller and the seller’s agent have very limited, if any, control or access to the function. That is generally against most any Listing Contract provision signed by a seller to gain access to the mls system. They are many and varied, but most require the Listing Agent and/or Listing Brokerage to have full control over information on “member” sites, which often limits the info to that available via an “mls” feed, with some and often many restrictions.

Time will tell, but that is my expectation. I think we will be seeing some NEW “mls rules” with regard to this new feature.

118 thoughts on “Redfin adds “feedback” comments to site features

    • It’s a tough one when you try to incorporate what a Buyer’s Agent can do for, and say to, a Buyer Client with specific needs, vs what a Listing Agent can say in an advertisement. HUD has had some problems with that in the past, and even reversed some written opinions on that topic.

      Wanting “at least 3 bedrooms on one level” is a very common request for people with small children vs teenage children. A buyer is allowed to instruct their Buyer’s Agent to rule out homes that don’t have 3 bedrooms on one level, to meet their needs and wants.

      But to Broadcast Publicly “not for families with small children” is another matter entirely. In fact I’m not sure what about that house made her say that. Better to describe the “what” than “the who”.

  1. OK, you baited me in from Face Book, I can’t resist.

    The purpose of a Real Estate Brokerage has always been to facilitate between principles in a transaction. It’s far from a public forum. If I want to, or need to, sell my home that is my business. Real Estate is a business.

    If I am a buyer then that is my business. What some one, I don’t know, or who may, or may not, know anything, about anything, might think, is just noise. Do I pay attention to the noise? Do I base a decision on seeing a property based on noise?

    Then there would be, if there was a benefit to any one, other than the agents making the observations. How does it help a buyer, or seller, or is it just for a mutual buddy at a boy kind of thing?

    Last, let me be clear about internet business models. When you register you are allowing your search criteria to be lead generation data to be resold. The entire redfin concept of rebate brokerage is to do tag on services, and marketing. Venture Capital is smart enough to know that there is no pot o’ gold in residential Real Estate sales.

    • Here’s an example, David, and I think a pretty good example.

      On one house the Redfin Agent noted in a comment that the house has popcorn ceilings. To the best of my knowledge, that fact is not attainable in any other place without going to see the property.

      There are some buyers who know that they will not buy a house that has popcorn ceilings. So seeing that “fact” in the comment is not “noise” to some people, and it saves them the trip of going to the house only to find that it has popcorn ceilings.

      There are things that buyers want to know about the house, that the listing information does not tell them, and they prefer to know it without having to physically go and see the house. I think that is what this new feature is trying to address.

        • Are you kidding me, David? You think a Redfin Agent would say there was a popcorn ceiling when there was no popcorn ceiling? Why would you even think that?

          • What? I’m saying people shouldn’t discount a property over a popcorn ceiling. It’s a minor, extremely minor thing.
            Don’t even start with the asbestos abatement, even full remediation it’s $5K that may be more than adjusted for in the price. However, come on.

          • That’s part of the problem, David, and why this feature is potentially a good one. People don’t necessarily want you to tell them that they shouldn’t care about popcorn ceilings, and consequently have no right to know there is one before going to see the property.

            That there is no system in place to discover and disclose whether or not it contains asbestos, is pretty much ludicrous, and only points out how the system in place really does NOT favor full disclosure to buyers of homes.

            This may not be the ultimate best answer…but it’s a start in the right direction, I’d say.

  2. Hi Ardell, thanks for checking out our new feature!

    We should be getting the number of times we’ve toured your listing correct. So if you see any discrepancies please email me the address of the listing and we’ll investigate.

    I agree we need to be really careful about fair housing guidelines. One of the things we’ve done is we screened the 32,000 notes we had from our agents on listings and whittled it down to ~17,000 that we’re currently sharing with our customers. Also since launching we’ve continued to remove notes as people point out ones that slipped through the cracks. For instance we removed the note in the 1000watt post and have removed the note you reference above (I’ll be updating the blog post shortly.) If you see notes in the future that you think cross the line just let me know and I’ll investigate.

    As for how this fits in with the current IDX and VOW guidelines; the model VOW agreement is very clear about enabling sellers to opt out of third party comments (section 19.7). The agreement is also very clear about enabling “participants” to share their “good faith opinion, advice, or professional judgment” with their customers without the seller interfering (section 19.8).

    We look forward to hearing your feedback as you receive our agents feedback on your listings!

    • Thanks for the update, Matt, and good luck with the new feature!

      I was just on the phone with one of your agents who is going back with a client to my Sammamish listing tonight. But I’d rather have an offer than a comment. 🙂

  3. I understand now that redfin is showing your listing, but this is really such a weird little thing that is just another can of worms to be sorted out. I have spent the afternoon with this concept, but there is nothing there.
    Who would this possibly benefit? It makes no sense. It’s a make work project, or an SEO thing or something, but hardly beneficial.

    • I think the world is trying to move closer to people having more information than just the opinion of one agent.

      Do you realize we are likely the ONLY business/profession that makes it near impossible for someone to get a 2nd opinion? If one doctor tells you you need to have your leg cut off, you can go ask another. If one lawyer tells you not to file a suit because you have no chance of winning, you can go ask another. If you made an offer on a house and your agent tells you to accept the counter…you can’t get a 2nd opinion on that. Well you can, but the agent to agent rules don’t make it easy.

      That’s a little crazy, don’t you think?

      This may not be the way to get there, but for sure nothing will change for the better for buyers of homes if people don’t try something new once in awhile.

      • The doctor to doctor rules, the attorney to attorney rules, the rules always make it difficult.

        The buyer can always contact me through my web site, and for $250 I am more than happy to do an online assessment of a property, always have been.

        The fact is people have contacted me for a second opinion for decades. They’ve contacted you, buyers talk to everybody.

        The only basis you have for the no second opion idea is that time period when Real Estate was hot, hot, hot. There was a time when you had to jump on a property. There is still that multiple offer mentality going on now, but that is also fed by the web 2.0 crowd.

        Internet chatter, in my opinion, is to generate interest, create some urgency, and put on a show.

        We are way past gimmicks. People need good solid, knowledgable, and experienced representation. I’d be interested to see the mentoring program at redfin. I think we are all seeing what mere Real Estate classes, or the chest salad of designations do for the consumer; they are losing equity by the minute.

        • 1) I’m talking about a system that does not honor a buyers need to talk to another agent when they already have one. Mostly that’s about Procuring Cause, but I believe the Code of Ethics also prohibits an agent from speaking with another agent’s client. I’m talking about a system that says if a buyer asks about a property on the internet, and has seen it with an agent or has already submitted an offer but feels the offer is too high or doesn’t know whether or how to respond to a higher counter offer, agents are not allowed to answer that buyer’s question. (that applies more to agents who are members of NAR than those who are not, I think.) I’m talking about agents not being allowed to answer a question about a property in a public forum or even talk about a property in a public forum unless it is their listing. (that applies more to members of our mls than some others.) I’m talking about a system that only lets you tell the good things and does not let you tell the bad things except to your specific client and not where other people can see or hear you.

          Not saying all that is wrong, just saying the need for more opinions is a problem our industry created. Maybe this is not the best way, but Redfin cracking open Pandora’s Box often leads to changing the way everyone does things. That is why the DOJ wants us to embrace newcomers who do things differently. Not because they want “that company” to have a “leg up” on traditional brokerages. Because they want the industry to support change more than it has, particularly with regard to buyers vs sellers.

          You don’t have to think Redfin’s answer is the best thing since sliced bread, but you do have to recognize the unfulfilled need of the buying public that they are trying to fulfill.

          2) As to the internet, it’s the opposite of what you are saying. When people go into a store, they often walk out with something they don’t want because of “a salesman”. Also, if they have a check list of things they absolutely DO NOT want, whether that be a popcorn ceiling or something else, they don’t want to be convinced by an agent that they should overlook that. That is more likely to happen if they go to the property with an agent, than if they know in advance that it has popcorn ceilings and refuse to be “cornered” in the house with a salesman.

          You and I both know that most brokerages do not teach “good, solid and honest representation” of buyer clients. They teach how to “get” them, how to “capture leads” how to “drip on them” and how to “answer objections”” (like popcorn ceilings). Most brokerages are about selling…not about “good, solid and honest representation”.

          You say you want “honest”…but then you say you don’t want a Redfin comment to tell people that it has popcorn ceilings. Where’s the “honesty” in that?

          • You’re just toying with me.

            It’s called “interferring with a Real Estate transaction in progress” and we all know it is done every day, because the buyer is “not” bound by NWMLS rules. That is the beauty of the system. Sellers have rules, buyers have none.

            If Glenn buddy wanted to open a Real Estate brokerage he should have done that. redfin is a lead generation web site, nothing more.

            You have me invested in the subject because I followed the discussion on Face Book while uploading my video. Other than that it’s just noise.

            I do hope that a redfin agent sells your listing so that your time on the subject is compensated for.

            You have done redfin a great service here by adding to the internet chatter.

          • It would make more sense, David, for brokerages to listen to the why of the things they do, and try to do that better.

            Their why is almost always correct, and many hands in the fixing of things for the buying public would work a lot better than throwing stones.

          • Hi David,

            Re: Redfin is a lead generation web site

            Redfin is a brokerage, we employ hundreds of agents. In Seattle alone we have over 60 agents who hang their license with us. We have recently started doing referrals where we hand off customers who want to look at homes to agents at other brokerages, primarily in areas where Redfin doesn’t have agents or where it is a better fit for the customer to do so. The vast majority of our revenue is from directly helping customers buy and sell homes so I’m unsure where you’ve gotten the impression that we’re a lead gen site. And FWIW, “leads” is a four letter word at Redfin. People looking to buy homes are potential customers, not a lead.

          • OMG…”leads” ARDELL refers to buyers as “them.”

            OMG what is up w/Seattle?

            They are consumers. “Them.” “Leads.” I bet Redfin “drips” on their customers, too.

          • Actually, you are misleading on many fronts with your statements. It’s OK because you work for the company, but you, and many of the social media crowd, as I now call them, don’t seem to understand Real Estate as a business.

            I’m not going to touch the word “customer,” but am surprised Ardell didn’t catch that.

            It would be difficult to build a Brokerage from residential Real Estate sales. That being said it must be very clear to you that Venture Capital was invested for other reasons than a residential sales model.

            This is the internet. This is a world of data. We deal in data every day, you deal with data every day. We look at how many hits, how many eyeballs, what they want, and anticipate future desire based on what people are searching for. That’s the internet. That is lead generation.

            Your company, well redfin, collects search parameters for every registered user. That becomes your data. That data can be bought, sold, and traded. Those registered users could be steered to products based on searches completed over time.

            You can say what you want, but this is how the real world works. If you want to tell me that I’m all wet, and no that’s not true, go ahead, hire me, and maybe the company can become more profitable.

            I see that Inman News also has this line of comments. One thing I do want to clarify is one of your agents made the comment that the referral fee charged by your company to an agent is 15%. The commenter forgot to mention that redfin has a rebate business model of an additional 15%. That adds up to a 30% referral fee, between Brokerage, and buyer rebate.

            You will find decades of discussion about why referral fee agency works out badly for the consumer. If you were in the Real Estate business you would be more familiar with referral fee business models.

            I for years did charge 20% referrals to agents, but found the paper work, and follow up a net drain on my resources. Now I just give people a list of three agents who could work well for them.

            Anyway, there is nothing new here.

  4. I guess if you have a home in the “higher” end you never have to worry about a Redfin agent checking it out. Just list a home over say $70k…you’ll never see a ‘fin, ever…

    Just kidding.

    this is such a non-feature. Who gives the go-ahead on this stuff. Really. ARDELL even if a home has popcorn ceilings (ghetto) I would imagine that if a house was perfect in every other way…a buyer might buy it…thus A PHYSICAL TOUR OF PROPERTY.


    Feature. If this is a ‘feature,’ so is my nice toukis. What’s next, a press release that they updated the Copywrite date on the bottom of the site.

    Sheeez Louise.

    • Kevin,

      1) Your nice toukis is indeed a “feature”.

      2) I’m sure you have a bunch of clients who don’t have the time to tour every property you know they would not want. I’m sure you have clients that expect you to weed out properties with certain “negative” features, and that would be mad at you or fire you if you wasted their time by bringing them to something that has a “feature” they expressly said they did not want. People want as much information as possible BEFORE deciding whether or not to tour a property.

      Here’s a good example, but not about “a feature”. If there is a property on market for $7M that is only worth $2M (using that example as you and I have been in such a house in YOUR market) would you tell your client to tour it hoping they might be dumb enough to offer $7M?

  5. ARDELL,

    No one is that stupid. Buyers don’t want agents all up in their biznezz. Lordy, lordy.

    I thought someone told me REdfin was about to go out of business??

    I don’t know…we don’t have them here. Maybe we do.

    • I won’t argue that, Kevin, but I don’t think it’s necessarily about price. Some people do and some people don’t, just like some can do their own tax return and some can’t or choose not to.

  6. Kevin, you are cracking me up. SEE! I’m not the only one who won’t say “leads”, but I do think they do say “deals”, and I won’t say either. 🙂

    • I do appreciate your comments. Inman News, my new sworn enemy, also ran a blog post about this.

      Is the Brad Inman guy the same person that brought us the HouseValues debacle?

      • No, he was HomeGain, if you remember them. He sold that company. HomeGain is still around, but Brad no longer owns it.

        I’m not going to defend Inman News or Brad generally. But curious how you can care enough about him to call him your “new sworn enemy”. That’s a little strong for what they are. Brad has pretty much been in the real estate journalistic and publishing side of real estate for most of his career.

        Think of him as an Aubrey Cohen turned entrepreneurial, for lack of a better description.

        Back in 1996 or 1998 I was quoted in the news as saying to our industry” Get up to speed on incorporating Buyer Agency into our system, or someone else will do that for you, and you won’t like THEIR answer. The industry didn’t. They basically swept that under the rug, and this is what we get for it.

        Don’t like how someone else does it? Too bad! We didn’t, and we had over 20 years to at least make an attempt and failed MISERABLY!

        I can give you the whole case history on it, but until someone cares enough (and as much as Redfin) about buyers of homes, well…you get what you ask for in this World. Our industry is begging to be shut down if they do not incorporate Buyer Agency and you are suggesting it should GO AWAY! OMG!

        If NAR can’t balance the interest of seller and buyers…they will be dismantled. You should thank God for Redfin. Learn from what they do and stop throwing stones at them.

        • redfin throws stones, I just don’t like that. I don’t like divisiveness as a business model. I don’t like tech crowd intellectualism bad mouthing the Real Estate Industry.

          redfin has brought nothing to the table. It’s the same old, same old corporate vision of how the world ought to be if only it were different. Different doesn’t mean better.

          The National Association of Realtors doesn’t get my money. They are on a membership drive to collect funding by any means possible. It’s sad that they have contributed to a rapid erosion of agency that could benefit buyers, and sellers.

          The only way buyer agency works is by contract. Open listing data does nothing. Sellers are injured, and buyers need to be regulated.

          What I continue to say is that buyers have no rules what so ever. There is no mechanism in place for buyers so there is no agency for buyers.

          The Multiple is by membership, and the membership should have control of the data. My thought would be to give buyers access to listing information only after they are registered with an agent or Brokerage.

          If a seller is required to sign a Brokerage agreement, I think buyers should also. The thing that is paramount in my mind is to keep Brokerage with Real Estate agents rather than have a mortgage representative steer buyers to agents who will close the deal. That’s the way I look at a redfin. It’s a steering by corporate interest. There may be a claim of hands off, but to me it’s still steering.

          • I appreciate your comments and candor, David.

            Initially it was perceived that some brokerages should ONLY represent buyers and others ONLY represent sellers. Of course the big brokerages fought that as to ONLY representing sellers ever, but likely it continues to be the best answer.

            The animosity many have for “alternative business models” is they often pull to the buyer side of the equation, and treat the seller side as “product” and “data”. Conversely traditional brokerages tend to favor owners, and treat buyers as “a means to an end”, “end” being seller’s house is sold.

            Maybe it was wrong for the State of Washington to impose a duty of buyer representation with no contract via its Agency Law. WA is one of the only states that has buyer representation as the clear default position. I like it, if brokerages would act accordingly and all of their agents as well. But clearly that is not the case, or all would understand why buyers do not need a contract in WA to be “represented”, because it is specifically and clearly covered in the WA Agency Law.

            I actually have no overall preference, as long as the system is true to itself, and the members of it honor the system in place. Kevin Tomlinson who commented here is in a State (Florida) that basically advocates no agency, and in its place has transaction brokerage facilitation of the parties without advocacy. Nothing wrong with that, and why I hold different opinions from people in different states to “only” need to reflect the agency laws of the state they are from.

            You, David, on the other hand should not feel that a buyer needs a contract to be represented well, because our Agency Law actually favors that you not consider the seller AT ALL unless you are the listing agent. So you shouldn’t be feeling that the system needs to serve sellers primarily, and buyers only via contractual agreement. In WA the buyer is the “client” and the seller is “the customer”. Odd, but true. 🙂 The seller is only the client of ONE person, the Listing Agent. The buyer is the client of everyone else in the mls system under our Agency Law. But clearly the brokerages who OWN the mls systems in WA do not understand that Agency Law mandate, or you would not feel the way that you do.

            But again, thank you David for clearly highlighting “the disconnect” and pinpointing from where it emanates. It is another reason why NAR cannot “direct the show” and why the DOJ is involved. Not all states have the same mandate as to balance of power between buyers and sellers of homes. There is no national law on that, and the state laws vary. That is why at times many agents attend national curriculum classes and learn the “wrong way” for WA, such as buyers needing a contract to be represented. That is true in many states, but not in WA.

            Redfin operates in a mode that is more true to our particular Agency Law in WA, and if they are incorrect then maybe it’s time to lobby for change of that law. But as it stands, they are more correct than most any other brokerage in this particular State of WA.

          • Of course I believe that buyers need representation, more now than ever before. With so many buyers making huge missteps in the market place today we are only creating the next round of foreclosures. I do have a domain name for buyingseattle, or buyingseattlerealestate, but realized in January that project will have to wait another year.

            More to the point of this post is that redfin has brought nothing to the table. Sellers, now more than ever, should be very wary about having their property broadcast online. Now we have the weird random comment feature. I can not imagine any listing agent advising any seller that this is a good idea.

            We have seen how bizarre the social media crowd is. Directing a seller to cater to the internet at this point seems counter productive.

          • David,

            To understand “the internet” and the futility of wanting things to be different and “like the good old days”, you have to look at it from the buyer side.

            From the seller side I would agree, but seller’s got caught up in the “aren’t more and as many eyes as possible on your house better Mr. Seller?” They all say yes, until someone wants to point out the electric towers nearby or the City Dump 100 yards away. Then they want only an 8 X 10 glossy in some fancy magazine in the grocery markets back. 🙂

            You have way too many agents focusing on getting the listing by promising maximum “exposure” without regard to what will best sell this particular house. That puts more and more bad info next to the good info, and that is something sellers did not foresee when they wanted “more, more, more” exposure. Oh, they forgot to mention ONLY exposure of the BEST I have to offer…not the worst.

            MORE exposure usually reveals the “naked” truth…like a fat woman without the obscurity of a girdle or strong support bra. No mls will ever show the 6 cars in blue tarps in the driveway next door. But Google Maps will, as will the Field Agent remarks on Redfin.

            Controlling the timing on the distribution of information is likely no longer an option moving forward.

  7. Department of Justice issues aside, Brokerage is an agreement between the seller, who wants to sell, and the agent who they choose to represent the estate. The buyer, looking to build an estate, doesn’t need an agent. An agent, in many, or most cases is an impediment to the transaction. Agents are bound by Brokerage agreements, either real, or implied.

    The Multiple Listing Services are owned by the Broker members. Having a national broadcast of an intent to sell does very little, or might hinder, the ability to sell. Throwing in a bunch of random observations seems even more petty.

    It’s my house. I’m selling my house. The thieving agent has planted a sign in my front yard, and is now broadcasting my intent to every corner of the earth. Now I have every yahoo that ever thought about buying a property kibitzing about the color I painted my living room.

    What I need is representation. I need some one to come in and buy my house. I go to my local Real Estate office with the idea that people looking to buy, in my area, will go to, or contact that office.

    Becoming fodder for an in house advertising campaign, by the Brokerage, wasn’t a part of my plan to sell.

    • David,

      That is actually a strong argument for why BOTH parties need an advocate. LOL! In fact it’s a stronger argument for why a buyer needs a buyer’s agent.

      Seriously?-“I need some one to come in and buy my house.” Seriously?

      You and I both know that having a home inspection doesn’t cover 30% of what a buyer needs to consider when buying a home. That the seller and the agent for the seller doesn’t want anyone helping them figure that out, is a strong case for why a buyer needs their own agent.

      I do agree that developments like this could lead to more “for sale by owner” properties for sellers who don’t want to be in a more honest, vs merely advertising best features, type of mls system. On that we agree.

      • As to Ardell’s (above): “You and I both know that having a home inspection doesn’t cover 30% of what a buyer needs to consider when buying a home. That the seller and the agent for the seller doesn’t want anyone helping them figure that out, is a strong case for why a buyer needs their own agent”.

        I’ve often found that to be true myself even though I have a lot of experience
        in real estate as a buyer, seller and owner/purchaser’s architect inspector. JG

  8. I think this is a great feature. Consumers want more information and this is a great way to provide it. Nothing is more annoying that seeing a property online only to find out it is across the street from a gas station or next door to a fire house or some other glaring issue that is left out of the MLS description.

    If anything, something like this could force Realtor to be more honest about their listing descriptions

    • Russ,

      Are you implying that Realtors are not honest? If it is across from a gas station wouldn’t the buyer’s agent know it? If not shouldn’t they? Buyers know the areas they want to live in better than MOST agents.

      Let’s be real. If a car manufacturer produces a car without power windows, should they say in their description “oh yes, this car DOES NOT have power window.

      Oh yes, this will revolutionize the way buyers buy real estate…the EXACT SAME way that the ZESTIMATE re-tooled our industry.

      It’s called “A reason for a press release.”

      I mean, come on.

      • Kevin, I’m not implying anything. I am SAYING that many Realtors are less than forthcoming about a property’s issues. I see it everyday financing properties, but that isn’t really my point.

        My point is that a feature like this could prevent a lot of wasted time. For example, I would NEVER buy a property across the street from a gas station. I recall when looking to buy my home we would go see a listing only to discover it was on a very busy street or had some other HUGE flaw that was conveniently left out of the listing. I see listings all the time where the agent strategically takes photos so you can’t see the “gas station” or you can’t tell the house backs up against the subway, etc. I’m talking flaws so obvious that it almost ought to be in the MLS listing. I know that it is the listing agents job to present a property in its best light, so I am not blaming them necessarily. However, some of this information would be very useful to have BEFORE someone waste their time to even go see a property.

        I am not saying this feature will be perfect, but it does promote transparency of information.

    • No…. but the agent/consumer insights would. 🙂

      Again, knowing this information would be helpful. You can try to conceal, obfuscate, overlook, or deny something all you want. That doesn’t change the facts. Consumers WILL find out one way or the other. As a consumer, I would rather know earlier than later.

      Between Google street view, agent insights, availability of public records, and other sources, there really is no need to sugar coat listings imho. At least not for buyers who are a bit more educated about their purchase and thorough buyer’s agents.

      • But I think you could be diminishing the value of the owner’s property.

        That’s all. What if someone put a slightly subjective comment on YOUR house.

        “Needs a paint job”

        Heavy pet odor

        • Kevin:

          I agree, there is a fine line. As a seller, I would want to know why my property isn’t selling. If there was a strong pet odor, I would expect someone to tell me. Maybe the decorating sucks. We have a site in Chicago called It has quickly become one of the most popular RE Blogs in Chicago. Basically, the site owner posts a random listing and people comment on the property, both good and bad.

          At first, Realtors hated the comments. Guess what now? Agents send listings to get put on the site due to the feedback and many of the properties sell as a result of the comments.

  9. Kevin,

    This comment on the Redfin Corporate blog shows the “need” that Redfin is trying to address, as requested by their “buyer public”. I don’t see it as “a reason to have a press release”, and they have been working on answering the request of people like this for 18 months now.

    “I finally see this great feature that I asked Redfin to offer last year, although only field agent’s comments are available. It’s great for buyers and it saves tons of unnecessary tours for both buyers and field agents. It saves the unnecessary hassle for the seller too. Hopefully Redfin will let customers who toured the house post their comments on the house as well, which will avoid some legal issues for Redfin field agents. Amazon and a lot of other online retailers offer customer reviews on every merchandise one can buy from their website. I can’t understand why a home buyer does not get the same type of service when purchasing the biggest item (house).”

    People want to know why they can’t get the opinions of other people who considered buying the home, much like they can for any restaurant, nail service, book or CD. To them the hefty price tag of a home suggests getting reviews is even more important than on a book that costs $25.

    Not saying I totally agree, just proving that Redfin did not make up this need out of nothingness in order to have “a reason for a press release”. I’m sure that one person noting they requested this service a year ago from Redfin is not the only person who asked for this new feature.

  10. Don’t the sellers have rights?

    ARDELL, we get it you LOVE REDFIN.

    REDFIN is not a company or a model that I would be following. #justsayin

    ARDELL, you should be a REDFIN agent.

    I think it’s a perfect fit.

    • Kevin,

      Just because I can see the issue from both sides of the fence, and support that there in fact IS a buyer side of the fence in addition to a seller side, does not make me a “Redfin” lover. I am absolutely opposed to those who are Redfin HATERS.

      Hey…you want to take away Buyer’s Agents altogether and go back to single agency seller only representation. I can do that and have done that. But using “Buyer Agent” as a TITLE for the guy who wants to sell you something for the benefit of the seller…just not right. Take away that title from the industry, call everyone Agent for the Seller like “the good old days”, and everything you have said makes perfect sense.

      You just can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  11. Lemme tell you

    If someone put a comment about MY house that I didn’t like…Let the lawsuits begin.

    And we all know that you don’t even need to go to court to win, now…don’t we. 🙂

  12. I have no idea who Kevin is, but he just made the best point about the “transparency web 2.0” nonsense. Public opinion, or the weird little internet world, is making, or breaking, a seller’s right to market a property.

    Everybody, today, has to play by the redfin rules of Real Estate marketing. Your house has to, has to, conform, not just in price, location, and condition, but also has to follow the redfin rules of Real Estate marketing.

    You must comply or you are subject to ridicule by the flying monkeys. You remember the flying monkeys don’t you? You have been attacked many a time, and you are a regular blogosphere player. What about the home owner who just wants to sell the frigging house? Are they now supposed to be drug over the coals because they chose an agent who may be out side of the circle?

    The transparency is that you better conform.

    I would address any of russ’ comments, but lead generation for mortgages is what the web world was built for. For russ this is all very good news as long as he stays on the right side of the internet world.

    Do you know how many agents are afraid of the people who frequent the internet, even among the people you know? All of them.

    This is more buyer, and seller bashing by a company who wants to be relevant. Glenn buddy should sell the company to somebody who wants to do Real Estate brokerage and get back to doing something constructive.

    • David,

      NAR is posting numbers saying 87% of home buyers search for property on the internet…and you are saying most agents are “afraid of people who frequent the internet”? Wow! I’m not even going to ask why because, Wow, that ‘s just mind bloggling to me.

      Do you really think people “who frequent the internet world” are scary flying monkeys? Wow!

      • You are well aware of what the internet Real Estate world has become. Pretending you just don’t know is unfair. It’s anything but mind boggling. And actually they revised the number to 97% of home buyers “start” the search for properties online.

        Most agents are driven off the internet by those flying monkeys who are sure that the wave of Real Estate sales, in the future, will be tweeking, or HD pictures, or that there IDX / blog site / web site combo, with flash, oh yeah the powers that be decided flash was passé.

        Yeah, we are in a weird little world. Most Real Estate agents pay attention to the Multiple, because we are members, but whatever the web 2.0 is doing is just out there creating static noise for buyers, and sellers.

        This is actually good news for you because you can navigate this little world. Buyers need you more, if they are going to buy online. You would be a better choice, from a trust point of view. You are not an affiliate of the corporate powers that are attempting to dictate the market place.

        • David,

          Answering via my iPad while on a bike at Gold’s Gym. Does that qualify me as a “Flying Monkey”?

          The question I remember one of my clients asking me, that would serve you well to ponder, was “ARDELL, Why do so many agents reach out and learn new technologies, to then only use them to do business the ‘old fashioned’ hard sell way.”

          The beauty of technology, David, is it’s harder to convince someone to overlook a negative on the Internet than in person. That’s why buyers like it and some sellers and agents don’t.

          As long as you are not trying to hide anything or invoke some Power of Selling memorized script, you don’t have to fear the Internet.

  13. If I was a buyer in Seattle—I’d use Redfin to find a place and contact the listing agent directly and ask for that commission as a reduction to the final negotiated purchase price. That’s how buyers get the best value. #justsayin.

    Watch all that transparency and Web 2.0 hoo-haa go right out the window.

    • That’s an option Kevin. Some people do their own tax returns without worry and some can buy a house without worry. Heck…some can even do their own divorce without an attorney.

      None of us should want to be in a world where we need to create a vehicle (mls) that has even PART of their motivation as pretending no one can do it without an agent or no one EVER needs one. It’s a choice people make and “the system” should make that choice equally available.

      I think David’s on his way over to take a pic of me answering on a bike at the gym on my iPad, so I better get out of here. 🙂 besides my butt hurts. I like the treadmill better. 35 minutes on a stationary bike is boring.

  14. The systems allows for people to do whatever they like. It’s the realtor babble that is deafening and distracting that does not allow for consumers to “take a minute” to think.

    I have never “called on” a client in my career. I offer a service. My website makes it very clear as to what I bring to the table. Clients call me. I prefer it that way. I’ve never been busier…and I don’t need to suck up to Redfin because I have my own custom IDX.

    My people know what they want to buy before they even call me. I do it the way I would like to do it. Peruse and then call the person that I feel that I want to call. Period.

    If agents would just stfu for a minute and treat a customer like they would want to be treated….all would be well I suspect.

  15. Off Topic
    Breaking on TWITTER: Very important for people in Seattle:

    @spencerrascoff just answered a question on #zillow.

    OMG this is EARTH SHATTERING. This is transparency!!!! I needed to know that Spencer just babbled somewhere about something. I do….I really, really do.

    thanks for those amazing tweets @spencerrascoff.!!! Keep ’em coming.

  16. Good Morning!

    Actually Kevin here in Seattle there is a great guy Lennox Scott who has a “traditional” Brokerage, but firmly believed in the internet. He was working with Microsoft, another local company, about brininging listings online. I don’t recall perfectly but my first ability to forward listed Multiple Listing properties was in like 1998, or 1999. If you registered with me I could send you batches of listings.

    It was like the book, only you were allowed to share.

    In 2005 this great big hoopla of web 2.0 transparency allowed Zillow, with zestimates, to sell mortgage products on line. The whole world of lead generation opened up, and tech geek marketing drove the market place. It really doesn’t matter, it was a big waste of time, and a lot of buyers ended up getting caught up in the hype.

    The only point I wanted to make is that buyers don’t have to contact the listing agent at all. Buyers are free to work directly with the seller. We have had two companies here in Seattle, John P. Nagle, and Lancer, along with Principles Only that are Buyer Brokerage, Principles Only. They said to avoid Real Estate agents like the plague.

    Seattle is on the Real Estate cutting edge on a lot of fronts.

    • Well, I really wouldn’t call that cutting edge stuff. More like farts in the wind.

      I mean all the discount brokerages end up going out of biz. I think FSBO’s are where it’s at. Buyers STILL drive the neighborhoods they want to live in.

      If I was a consumer—I’d avoid them like the plague. They have their elevator speeches on why you NEED them DOWN PAT.

      Redfin should be down for the count in a couple of years. It’s not like they are making money or anything.

  17. Whenever agents are having a conversation about real estate generally, if they are not talking about “cutting edge” for the buyer OR “cutting edge” for the seller, you can pretty much tell who is living in the past.

    Putting me and Kevin and David and Jerry in “a room” to talk about “cutting edge” is a joke really. We all focus on different things.

    Redfin is primarily “cutting edge” for home buyers who are planning to live in the home.

    Kevin is primarily a listing agent of upscale condos and the buyers who buy them. He works in Florida where they have Transaction Brokerage vs any kind of client “advocacy” role. I doubt he ever has to worry about which type of roof shingles, hot water tanks, rats in the attic or wet basements. Climbing up steep stairs to get in the bedroom in the attic with sloped ceilings (one of the Redfin Agent Commments) would never happen in Kevin’s world. 🙂

    David often talks more of home as investment vs creature comforts. A world where wood rot, popcorn ceilings and dirty, smelly houses are insignificant to a buyer’s consideration of purchase and value. In fact he often goes so far as to say that everyone should be buying the property using cash vs any kind of financing. To David, “the internet is a weird little world”, to me a place where people only buy all cash and don’t care about popcorn ceilings is “a weird little world”.

    I don’t think Kevin gets all that involved in how to finance the purchase either. I’m sure he has no need to understand the changes in FHA becoming effective on April 11. I’m talking to a client about the timing of that which will add $60 to the monthly payment if the contract is before or after that date, and actually stressing over that $60 difference for my client. In Kevin’s world no one is talking about a $60 difference in payment because FHA us upping their up front MIP %.

    Jerry wants everyone to buy a tear down or home that does NOT meet their current needs, so he can build or renovate it to meet their needs. Apparently a world where “price is no object” since I can never get him to talk in terms of total ballpark costing.

    In the world of buyers buying homes to live in them you are either “on the cutting edge” or you are “the dull side of the blade”, and given those two choices in life, Redfin is CLEARLY “on the cutting edge” as to their website. As to their hands on services to buyers and sellers on a combined or even separate basis, I think they continue to work on that. In fact Glenn recently wrote:

    “Take it from someone once intent on replacing real estate agents with software: even consumers claiming to hate agents still want their advice when picking neighborhoods, pricing homes or negotiating deals. The whole history of Redfin has been of a software company that one day realized its main competitive advantage was its agents, not its software. There are good agents out there, and they take enormous pride in their craft. Rather than hiring an agent you’ll resent, hold out for one you trust, and pay her a fair price. Hopefully at the end, you’ll both feel good.”

    Sometimes admitting where you are right and where you are wrong, where you are weak and where you are stong…is “cutting edge”.

  18. Hi, All,

    I’m an agent at Redfin in Seattle. Not interested in getting involved with the heated debate about Redfin’s business model, but I wanted to say that, since our Agent Insights feature went live last week, several of our clients have told me (while on tour) that they really appreciated the feature. This morning, a client I’m meeting tonight referred to my comments on a listing that we’re visiting tonight and it helped us talk through whether the home might meet their needs.

    I took a client through the same home last night who was disappointed in the home based on the MLS listing, so hopefully my insights will help other clients of ours who are considering a visit.

    Ardell, I love the quote from Glenn that you mentioned above.

    Happy Debating,

  19. As much as things change they remain the same.

    John P Nagle has some 200 rentals some place, I think Arizona, and Lancer Properties owns a bunch of stuff in North Seattle.

    Residential Real Estate is as you say FSBOs with buyers driving neighborhoods. That is where the phrase location, location, location comes from.

    Residential is an after thought to commercial property investment which includes job centers, and infrastructure. That is where the money is.

    A part of commercial real estate is providing the housing units that go along with the commercial core. That’s why some towns die, some cities die.

    Nothing about residential real estate sales is cutting edge other than the mess we have today. 30%, 50%, 80% drops in pricing in five years? and you are still talking about creature comforts as a buy signal of Real Property?

    Chad has probably pointed out the biggest flaw in residential real estate; he’s just not interested. He’s doing his job, getting paid, and following the program. Glenn buddy’s comments are just an admission of guilt, and that seems OK with everybody.

    People need real, beneficial, help in sorting out the online mess. I don’t know the answer to Real Estate agent compensation because good agents don’t get paid nearly enough for a life time of dedication.

    It is a life time of dedication. It is a way of life, much more than a job. The people who entered in the past ten years are finding it different since the market has changed. The difference is the market is going back to normal. It’s a way of life. You have to live it to love it.

    • Hi, David,

      Right after saying I didn’t want to get dragged into the debate, I’m feeling hurt by your comment. I care deeply about our clients, and am more dedicated to the mission of our organization than 99% of my friends are to theirs. I love real estate, and am awake nights thinking about how to serve our clients’ needs well.


      • Chad,

        Don’t be hurt by David’s comments, his perspective is different, that’s all. Plus there’s a whole lot of “Who moved my cheese?” going on in real estate these days. Not being interested in debating with David has no relationship to your being devoted to your mission at hand and your client’s objectives.

        I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to comment.

        • My cheese has increased by 30% in the past year.

          This is what bothers me. I could benefit greatly by a rebate brokerage business model. Do you get the concept of the rebate? It’s money, at closing, that can be redirected. I’m sure the intention was to use that money for escrow, mortgage, or title fees, vendor fees.

          As it happens I can also claim that money in Real Estate services, such as removing a popcorn ceiling, without having to have the money held in escrow.

          Actually I was in a meeting today with a couple of people who recognized the number of home owners who are “stuck” with properties. People who bought as recently as last year have lost equity. It’s projected the people buying this year will lose equity.

          At the same time, with that loss, or those losses, people will have to make do with the property they have. Fortunately my part in the Real Estate business, rather than sales, has afforded me the ability to adapt.

          As you know I tell buyers to wait until after this June, or July. There are some people who have to buy right now to get into the proper schools, but beyond that they had better get the best deal on a property they can. They are stuck.

          Next is the number of people who I have talked with in the past five years that own poop properties. I makes me no money to waste my time on a project that will go nowhere. I can refer, like I refer Real Estate agents, but there’s no upside in getting bogged down in a bad remuddle.

          So we’ll stick to preparing properties for sale because there is such a great need for that. Thousands of home owners need service. Many a time we have had to break bad news, but we, for the most part, make a positive impact on the sale of a property.

      • Hello Chad, that’s not the point.

        You need to be concerned about the debate because it does impact your client. What are you bringing to the table for them? Is the business model you are promoting contributing to the role of Real Estate in a family’s financial security, or is it sales?

        It makes no difference Chad, it’s nothing personal, it’s a debate you should be very involved in.

  20. Chad,
    Sell ’em a house real cheap. That’s what they want. Oh and ARDELL says no popcorn. And if you ever list a home w/popcorn it should have a disclaimer: In the spirit of transparency (or under the guise of) “you may not want to look at this house because it has POPCORN”

          • You only got asbestos in the good kind of pop corn ceiling. Once it’s painted it’s encapsulated. It is allowed to be removed and tossed in a land fill. The cost is remarkably inexpensive so I’m not sure what your obsession is.

          • My obsession is that people have it and don’t KNOW it contains asbestos. Where’s the disclosure, David? We have a FIVE PAGE disclosure form that tells people NOTHING! That’s insane! I’ve seen pieces of it falling on a stove while someone was cooking. I’ve seen ripped pieces of it hanging over a baby’s crib!

            We have a national form for lead based paint that no one pays any attention to and asbestos hovering over children, without the tenants or homeowners knowing it is asbestos. You don’t see anything wrong with that?

  21. @DavidLosh: “Hello Chad, that’s not the point.

    You need to be concerned about the debate because it does impact your client. What are you bringing to the table for them? Is the business model you are promoting contributing to the role of Real Estate in a family’s financial security, or is it sales?

    It makes no difference Chad, it’s nothing personal, it’s a debate you should be very involved in.”

    I am concerned about the debate — that’s why I said I’m more committed to my organization than most of the people I talk to. I’m committed to our values of transparency and advocacy, and, just like you, debate the merits of Redfin’s model versus “traditional” firms endlessly with good friends of mine.

    But I am not interested in debating it in this thread. Its tone doesn’t seem productive or (frankly) all that respectful.

    • Frankly, it annoys me how discount brokers throw the term “advocacy” around as if “real” brokers are not ethical.

      It’s like a “hook” in a song. Frankly, like the word “transparency” is very 2009. BAM!

      No one is out to screw anyone. Buyers want to buy and sellers want to sell.

      It’s a simple transaction for both. Buyers: don’t buy what you don’t want to. Sellers: don’t sell something that you don’t want to sell.

    • Hello Chad,

      I think random comments about a listing, presented by one of the finest Real Estate agents in our industry today, are uncalled for, number one, and may deter, based on your comments here, other buyers.

      Shouldn’t individual buyers be able to view a property without random, uncalled for noise from some one who has tastes different from them? Shouldn’t a listing agent be able to present a property without unsolicited commentary that may, or may not have anything to do with the property?

      • Just curious David,

        When you say “Shouldn’t a listing agent be able to present a property without unsolicited commentary that may, or may not have anything to do with the property?” are you suggesting that popcorn ceilings have have nothing “to do with the property”?

        • Chad just happened to pick a Steve Laevastu listing as his example. Steve is the most prolific, knowledgeable, honest, and consistent listing agent in the three geographic farms he works. He also shares that farming with three other agents he has a long standing working relationship with. Steve Laevastu is a shining example of excellence in the Real Estate profession, but Chad, and Chad’s buyer have some rare insight we should all pay attention to because they know best, or at least better.

          Now I don’t care if Chad, and his buyer commented that this is the best property on the market. No one should care. People need to get out and look at property. Arm chair elimination in a market place that has seen millions of people lose billions of dollars is nutsy, just nutsy.

          Now Ardell, like I said, I really hope one of these redfin agents has your listing sold, because this really was a gigantic waste of time. Somebody should be getting paid, and you put up the post, so it should be you. Glenn buddy owes you, again, as usual.

          • David,

            If “feedback” is of NO value, then why do sellers and listing agents ask buyer’s agents for it, and have for many years? If sellers and Listing Agents can ask buyer’s agents for feedback, why should buyers feel any differently about wanting to hear it?

            Let a room full of buyers add some questions to that Seller Disclosure Form, and you may be on to something. That is all Redfin is doing. Instead of dictating to buyers what they “should” want to know, they are responding to what they actually DO want to know.

            The seller’s agent should NEVER be the one who gets to limit what the buyer can know.

          • That’s ridiculous. Random opinions are just that, random to the person that has the opinion. As you say there is nothing new here other than more noise.

            You don’t want as a listing agent, the seller doesn’t want it, and buyers will still need to look at properties regardless of the comments.

            It’s another nonstarter, nobody cares, and they shouldn’t. This is just a ploy to get some controversy, and maybe if redfin is real lucky they will get another fine, so they can cry a little louder.

            As I have said before, it’s not what you know it’s who you know. In this case it happens to be Steve Laevastu. Steve is the very best representation a seller can have and any buyer looking in that price range should see Steve’s listing if for nothing else what they should be comparing to.

            This is just noise. It’s petty. It’s beneath the amount of time it has gotten, but I do hope a redfin agent has sold your listing. Best of Luck.

    • Chad,

      If the “good friends of yours” are not traditional real estate agents, that really isn’t a debate though, is it? It’s more like “selling” the idea of yours is better.

      When you said that you also, “debate the merits of Redfin’s model versus “traditional

      • Oops — should have clarified, Ardell. The good friends (whom I respect and would trust with my own purchase or sale) are traditional brokers. One in particular, with whom I fight it out over beers at least once a quarter, and in the end, we are both happy and successful. I respect him enormously and he respects me.

        And for the record, I think there are really great brokers out there in traditional firms working hard for their clients and serving them really well.

        Clearly I’ve been sucked into this debate more than I wanted or expected, so I am leaving it there and won’t be commenting or following anymore. Happy commenting!

  22. Oddly, Kevin is making random and untrue “noise” comments about Redfin on twitter, and I am getting messages from Redfin saying that he should not be making “noise” comments about Redfin just to get him more public “face” time. Which is exactly what Kevin and David are saying about Redfin’s new comment feature.

    Perhaps if Redfin feels the Listing Detail is “inadequate” for home buyers, they should come up with a list of things they want their Field Agents to note in the comments, instead of making it a random “noise” whatever they “feel like” saying feature.

    Given they don’t seem to like it when done to them…maybe they should rethink doing it to sellers and the seller’s agent, or at least add a bit of structure to the feature to make it more relevant and less “noiseworthy”.

  23. ARDELL,

    !BRAVO! Can you believe that? I get a tweet from that girl from that #redfin place saying that I need face time. OH please, gurl. Has she seen my INTERNATIONAL press? She’s obviously out of her league.

    You are one smart chick.

    @ardell sorry for the linkage:

    um, @redfinseattle from: 3/22:

    Here’s #redfin s tweet to me: @miamibeach Redfin’s not failing & the fantastic @ardelld isn’t taking over. Stop needlessly stirring up the pot just to get face time.

    Imagine how a Seattle seller would feel.

    …now run off and go play in your sandbox. #lessonlearned

    • I knew what you were doing and the irony was not lost on me. Still I doubt that Redfin understands the direct correlation between what you did to them and what they are doing to sellers of homes.

      Bravo to you. Point VERY well made. kudos!

  24. David, had to move this down. Hate those stacked replies and they ran out of space. You said, “They’d be crucified by the flying monkeys. Redfin is the sacred cow.”

    NO, not at all. OMG! Very interesting response, and unexpected as well. In fact they would give Redfin the kudos for the change. The only “people” who would crucify anyone for “unwanted truth” is the seller and the Listing Agent. Never “The Flying Monkeys”.

    • If John L Scott or Windermere would have come up with a, let’s add random agent comments to a map search, the flying monkeys would have been all over them. It would have been “how dare they,” or “what a bunch of trolls.”

      No, it’s another redfin wacko idea that will get shut down, then it will be another thing for redfin to cry about. It’s the poor little me business model.

      It’s noise, just noise. Did you read the comments from the 1000 watts of light link? How is that unwanted truth?

      • The “unwanted” truth is that the house has signs of water intrusion in the basement, or mold on the walls. The “debate” is not the unwanted truth. The property negatives are the unwanted truth.

        How is mold on the wall “noise”?

        • Are you a mold expert? Did you take a reading of the mold? How much of a problem is mold in the Seattle area?

          Here in the pacific northwest it’s probably mildew. It’s probably a positive because it’s defining the extent of the water intrusion.

          So it is noise. Popcorn ceiling is noise.

          redfin is a real estate sales blog site attempting to be relevant with sales data, zestimates, and now weird random noise commentary. People need Brokerage.

          • That statement as to what is “noise” is probable the strongest statement in favor of this comment feature I have seen to date.

          • Your definition of “irrelevant” does not match the “average” buyer’s idea of “irrelevant”. What negatives would you think are relevant, David? What negative comment would not be “noise” by our definition of irrelevant noise?

  25. I haven’t read this entire comment thread so forgive me if I missed something, but can Redfin actually do this? Several years ago I thought about starting a blog to offer online “reviews” of properties for sale in West Seattle to potential buyers, in the interest of (duh) building business, but also to hopefully save people from driving around looking at homes that didn’t fit their needs. I was told by numerous agents, as well as my managing broker that this would never fly, because it would be construed as “advertising another member’s listing without their express written consent.” If you are an MLS member (which Redfin agents are), and you publish a review of another member’s listing, you are most definitely “advertising” it, regardless of whether your comments are positive or negative.

    Wasn’t there some kind of flap when Redfin was reviewing homes on the market on their Sweet Digs blog a few years ago? Isn’t this basically the same thing?

    I’m betting this is gonna get ugly.

    • You are correct on what you cannot do. As to how this feature differs from “blogging” on another brokerage’s listing, it is tied to the Department of Justice vs NAR suit. Part of the settlement of that suit was that Brokerages are allowed to tell their “customers” what their professional opinion of a property is, whether the seller agrees with that or not.

      The comments are not “publicly” available on the site. They can only be emailed to “customers” of Redfin. The site only tells you via the yellow star whether or not there are any comments to be emailed to you, and then additional instructions as noted in this post as to how to get those comments.

      The questions remaining are

      1) IF NWMLS is going to honor the spirit of that suit with NAR, given our mls is not tied to NAR.

      2) If anyone and everyone registered with the site is indeed “a customer” of Redfin as defined by the DOJ in that settlement.

      I think the “ugly” will be more about what those comments are, than whether or not there are comments allowed generally.

    • You are correct, this is ugly, for our industry.

      This is a cheap, and tawdry, little gimmick to get people to register with redfin.

      If a Brokerage, or Broker would have tried this they would be have been villified.

      redfin is the darling of web 2.0 transparency, so they must be right.

      • They are “the Darling” because they are consumer-centric vs agent-centric.

        They are “the Darling” because they often examine the world through the lens of the home buyer vs the home seller, or at least equally from both sides. Though the bent initially and still to a large degree is toward the home buyer.

        What I don’t understand is why I see Redfin vs “traditional” brokerage. What about them makes them not another “traditional” brokerage? What does “traditional” mean really? We all represent buyers and sellers of homes. Why the need to separate them as if they are not “one of us”?

        • It was a choice Glenn buddy made in the marketing of the redfin brand. Glenn chose to be “different,” and has back pedaled since then.

          There is nothing consumer centric about the redfin web site. It is an attempt to direct sales by providing charts, graphs, and zestimates. It’s the same sales technique used by all sales people for all products.

          The problem is leaving the analysis of sales data open to interpretation. It’s a hands off, step back, and let the buyer beware kind of web site that promises to “write it up for ya'” for less.

          Ray Pepper would be a much better choice.

          • David,

            You really couldn’t be more wrong about Redfin. You should really examine where your distaste for them is coming from, because your distaste for them is likely illegal. Not against a rule or a Code of Ethics, but downright illegal. You like to yell about how many “non-traditional” companies have failed, and now ask yourself how you, and those like you, have contributed to past failures by “hating” them so for no good reason!

            As to their service being “for less”, you really don’t know what I charge or what everyone else charges their clients. So a blanket “for less” is conjecture at best. Sometimes I charge more than them on a lower priced property. Sometimes I charge less than them for a more expensive property. So your blanket “for less” is just flat out wrong.

            The Redfin site offers more insight to potential buyers than ANY other website. In fact I highly recommend it for anyone searching for property online. In fact I had to use it myself to locate a property today while at the dentist, because the mls map feature requires “a mouse” to do a map search, and an iPad doesn’t have “a mouse”.

            Giving people more data, and giving them some credit and respect for their being well able to “interpret” it for their own use, is better than acting like agents can interpret it any better than the actual buyer. Most can’t. Who do you think should interpret “the data”??? Do you think you are better at interpreting the data than the average home buyer?? There is NO reason NOT to give buyers more information, except to try to pull one over on them, or use some slimy sales tactic like pretending there is no asbestos or mold, when everyone knows there is.

            You are just flat out wrong and your use of the term “Glenn buddy” is intentionally offensive.

            Knock it off!

          • You are completely off base.

            My distaste is for those people who knock good, decent, hard working people who dedicate a life time to a profession.

            There is nothing there at the redfin site. People need help in making this important financial decision. Millions of people, millions, have lost billions of dollars in equity.

            The facts are, today, people are still making tragic mistakes by purchasing over priced properties.

            You made a post about the new redfin gimmick, and for some reason you aren’t liking the results.

            In the mean time redfin has been as aggressively divisive as they could be, in my opinion for the press releases they generate. Glenn, OK, he’s your buddy, is the one who promised the changes that never came. Now they are scrambling to become a Brokerage, but it’s too late. The damage is done.

            Ray Pepper would be a much better person to write it up for less, or you are an excellent choice, heck I am always open to negotiation, but to actually build your business on that premise? Come on. There has to be more.

            And really I don’t see anything illegal in my comments. That’s a red herring.

          • There is nothing illegal in your comments, David. What I said is your distaste for them as a business model generally, to choose to be against them and treat them as anything different than another real estate company in the mix, to target them in any way…that is not legal. If you were alone in that it wouldn’t matter. But the large number of agents and brokerages that feel the way you do is dangerous for all concerned.

            I like them. I always have. I think they are a breath of fresh air, and their presence in our world has been of great benefit to many, me and my clients included. I don’t see them as being any different than a new agent in an office. They bring a lot of new energy and fresh ideas. They learn and adapt and change as they go, just like anyone new in our business.

            I like them better than people who choose to not like them.

  26. Thanks for the useful info Ardell! And per David’s comment, wouldn’t it be interesting to create a “members only” area of one’s blog, where you reviewed properties on the market, and see how long it takes your peers in the MLS to rip you to shreds for doing so. If creating a username and password on a website is all it takes to create an agency relationship, then it’s just a matter of time before the web is literally flooded with property reviews, and my bet is that sellers, by and large, will not have it. I totally respect Redfin’s right to use whatever business model they want, but if they don’t have to follow the rules, then why should any of us?

    Gotta run- time to create my “customer login page” :p

    • What “value” do you see in that? If I put up a blog of the top 3 houses in each market, I would be creating competition for my clients, and that would be counter to my client’s best interest. Even if I have no client for those homes today, I might tomorrow. So broadcasting “Ardell’s Picks for Best on Market”, while it would likely be a well read feature, would work counter to my own clients’ objectives.

      At the end of the day if it is not good for your own clients, and only gets your site more “hits”, it’s generally not a very good idea at all.

      That’s where I see a strong weakness in this new feature. Even if the single Redfin Agent’s client says they don’t want that house so it is OK to post comments, giving that one buyer 48 hours to decide doesn’t help the Redfin client of a different agent in the Company who may also be considering that house.

      If it could hurt your current or even future and yet unknown client…why do it?

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