Buying A House With Redfin
Yup…we did it. We bought our house with the website redfin.com. Redfin is basically a relatively new website that displays houses for sale online (includes pictures and all of the specs) and even assigns you a real estate agent that will help you close on a home. One thing I learned while buying a house is that ANYBODY can become a real estate agent. No offense to real estate agents but I would say a very large percentage of them are plain idiots. We actually went through 2 agents before settling on redfin. And we met countless agents at all of the open houses we went to. Many times they would lecture to us about the housing market or about loans and it was plain obvious that we knew more than them. I was like….how do these people get clients?????
Now, I’m not going to say that Redfin is perfect but they were miles better than when we were working with any other agent and I’ll explain why a little bit later. It’s so funny too because whenever we would meet a real estate agent and the topic of Redfin came up they were quick to bash them…maybe because they do their job better than them? If I were an agent, I’d be scared too. I see Redfin being the wave of the future for the real estate market honestly. So now I will list the pros and cons of buying a house with redfin.
– You get half of the commission back. When you buy a house with a regular real estate agent, they get 3% of the selling price as their commission. If you buy with Redfin, you split that commission with them so you get 1.5%! This can turn out to be a hefty sum…for us it was over $7K that we got that we wouldn’t have normally gotten with any other agent.
– Everybody gets paid on customer satisfaction, not on you buying a house. Everybody we encountered from Redfin was SO NICE and had the best customer service ever. They were very helpful and were quick to reply to any questions we had. We first put our bid for the house right before Thanksgiving weekend….our agent was working for us ON Thanksgiving Day!
– Everything is electronic. If you’re comfortable with the internet and email you will LOVE this aspect. All of the papers we had to sign were through email using an e-signature. And it was pretty much the easiest thing I’ve ever done. And afterwards you have an electronic copy of all of the papers. Very convenient.
– There’s even a Redfin iPhone app. How cool is it that I can shop for houses on my phone??
– Although I felt like everyone we worked with seemed very competent at their jobs and knowledgeable, I did feel during the negotiation period our agent wasn’t as “tough” as she could have been. In other words, she wasn’t the best negotiator…so in this case, being too nice was not a good thing! But I was reading reviews on the agents (they are all online), you can see that some agents are better skilled at negotiating than others..it is just luck of the draw I guess. In the end, she was good enough and I was overall happy with her.
– Their website/listings only gets updated once an hour. We had many agents tell us how Redfin is not “uptodate” like the listings they see but for us that didn’t matter. It’s not like we can go run and see a house the minute a house gets on the market! But I put it here as a con because it might be for some people.
– You have to find your own houses. This can be a time consuming process and I suppose it might be nicer to have someone else sift through the houses to show you but for us, it wasn’t too bad. Plus Redfin has an email feature where you can put in the specs you like and they will email you when a house that fits your description goes on the market. I noticed many real estate agents are doing a form of this nowadays anyways instead of handpicking houses for you.
– They don’t do short sales. This was a bummer to us but when we had our own real estate agent he didn’t do them either!
The process of buying a house through Redfin is relatively easy. You just go through the listings and pick whatever house(s) you want to see and click “Go See It”. You put in the times you are available to go see it and they assign you a local field agent. This whole process is very fast….you can even schedule to see something the next day. The best part is they do not pressure you to buy a house at all. Again, they get paid on customer satisfaction! If you decide to buy a house, they then assign you a “lead agent”. This person holds your hand through escrow and all of the paperwork/negotiations. We actually never met this person but did all of our dealings through phone and email. That’s kind of weird but convenient because it’s a lot easier to not have to coordinate meet up times since we’re both very busy and work pretty late.
Would I buy a house with Redfin again? Absolutely! Like I said, it wasn’t the perfect experience but if I had to work with a random agent or Redfin I would definitely pick Redfin. I think even if I knew an agent (which we did and regretted using him), I don’t like the pressure of feeling bad about taking so long to buy a house. Plus, you get that fat refund at the end….so worth it!
If anyone has questions about Redfin…feel free to ask!