The popular online real estate brokerage, Redfin recently added a new “Scouting Report” feature, which allows home buyers and sellers to search for agents while providing information about the agents such as home-sales data, including the average length of time — or “days on market” — that it took agents to sell some properties. We’re talking information on more than one million real estate agents!
What kind of information, you ask? Searchers can find how many homes each agent sold, where, for how much, how fast, with how many price drops, and how recently – all presented on a nifty little map.
This sounds great for the home-buyers and sellers out there, but I can’t help but feel like Redfin is creeping just a little bit. It’s not just that they can give out such a huge amount of information, but that people can search by name. And it’s not only those agents affiliated with Redfin — it’s every agent in every market that Redfin serves (with the exception of a few places where MLS agreements restrict such information sharing).
Knowing just the basics, I could go either way on the like/dislike argument, but just a few days after the launch, Redfin’s blog was plastered with comments from angry agents stating that much of the information listed was incorrect.
The biggest mistake might have been with the “days on market” information which proved to be incorrect for a huge number of agents. Also, they showed the wrong brokerage affiliation for many agents in the Portland, Phoenix, and Las Vegas areas.
In the Denver area, Redfin claimed to use data going back three years, when in fact, it only used data from the previous two years. And in many areas, agents were listed as representing both the buyer and the seller in the same transactions, otherwise known as dual agency, and a big no-no in many states.
Redfin claims to have fixed all these bugs, and assuming that is the case, there is obviously some real value here for buyers and sellers, not to mention Redfin (think SEO value).
The real question is, “How did this not happen sooner?”
People have been trying to get this information for years. It’s another way to help those looking to buy or sell get through the always stressful home buying and selling process.
With all of the data floating around out there, constantly being collected by one company or another, how did someone else not think to put it all together in one place for consumers to see?
Well, I don’t have an answer for you, but Redfin is definitely on to something here. If they can clean it up and get their data-ducks in a row, this thing is gonna be a real game-changer.
What are YOUR thoughts?
*Editors Note: Well, things didn’t work out quite the way Redfin wanted them to and they quit offering the service. It was, however, a worthy effort and the general consensus is that consumers WANT that information. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if Zillow takes a stab at it.