Well, that might be overstating it a bit. But I couldn’t help but notice that Redfin has once again tweaked its model — first in the Boston area, and if it works probably nationally — yet again. Apparently gone are the days of a “team” aproach to providing buyer representation, with field-based agents for the “grunt work” and office-based agents for the more complex tasks. Instead, a buyer gets to work with the same agent from start to finish — just like the traditional model. Goodbye efficiencies… And absent efficiencies, the fee has increased as well: the rebate has been further reduced to a mere 1/3rd of the commission.
What does this mean for alternative models? Well, its instructive at least. Redfin is almost certainly the biggest and most well-funded of the alternative brokerages, and they’ve apparently concluded that consumers want the “personal touch” and are willing to pay for it. Anyone trying to “change the world” should at least recognize that others are having a hard time doing so and should adjust their plans accordingly (whether by reducing the scope of the change, like Redfin, or by radically changing the model to in a way that differs from the path blazed by Redfin). Interesting times, indeed.