Redfin, the Seattle-based brokerage that launched as a disruptor, has brought it’s Redfin Direct service to Texas. Announced publicly last week, Redfin Direct soft-launched two weeks ago and already has active participants.

Redfin Direct gives real estate buyers in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio the ability to make direct, online offers on Redfin-listed homes without the help of a buyer’s agent. 

In other words, paying zero commission.

The company has 231 active listings in North Texas. According to NTREIS data, Redfin has a 0.7 percent market share for units and an 0.8 percent market share for sales volume in North Texas.

“We have seen 10 offers thus far,” said Tony King, Redfin’s Texas broker. “Clearly, there is already a demand for this type of service in North Texas.”

Who are the buyers, what are the price points? King says he hasn’t seen any high-end luxury Redfin Direct sales as of yet, but Redfin Direct buyers are coming from across the board: investors, more-informed home buyers, even some first-time homebuyers who have done their research online.

“In places like the Park Cities (and Preston Hollow) we represent an incredible value,” said King.

But local brokers say Redfin Direct is no big deal: Consumers have always been able to buy homes without an agent in tow.

“Consumers have always had the ability to purchase direct from a seller and listing agent, that part isn’t new,” says Chris Kelly, President and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies.  “However, guiding a buyer and protecting their specific interests is the entire point of buyer agency. Helping to identify the property is just step one of about 100 that the buyer’s agent does, and is likely one of the smallest parts of their value proposition. Representing and protecting the interests of buyers should be expanded not diminished.”

Redfin also believes this could jump-start Redfin listings. If sellers can make their homes more competitive on price (minus the 3 percent agent commission), they might be more likely to list with Redfin.

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Just two months after entering an agreement, Redfin’s new program that cuts out buyer’s agents has RE/MAX out the door.

It was a quick divorce from a two-month romance. And to be honest, sort of a head-scratcher.

In mid-March, RE/MAX, the 40-year-old, Denver-based national real estate franchise broker announced a unique partnership with Redfin, the tech-focused brokerage that has morphed over the years, from trying to wipe out the Real Estate agent to employing them with discounted commission fees. The partnership gave RE/MAX agents exclusive access to Redfin’s agent referral program — albeit at a discounted rate (25 percent versus 30 percent of the agent’s commission, the standard for referral fees) — in 5,000 U.S. ZIP codes and throughout Canada, where Redfin recently launched its highly navigated home search website.

Ostensibly this was done, RE/MAX leaders claimed, to partner up with an online brokerage.

“Redfin is a good complement to the RE/MAX model, given their online presence and our offline presence,” Kerri Callahan, RE/MAX’s chief financial officer, said to Inman News in March. 

Leaders of both companies were crowing about reciprocal revenue potential, but the honeymoon ended on Monday.

Redfin’s launch of a new program that would essentially cut out buyers agents altogether had one unanticipated result: RE/MAX withdrew from its corporate partnership with Redfin. 

“Redfin has the utmost respect for RE/MAX as a company, for its agents and leaders. RE/MAX agents who already work as Redfin’s partner agents will continue to be our partners, and RE/MAX agents can continue to enroll in our partner program, but Redfin can now enroll partner agents from other brokerages to serve Redfin.com visitors in the U.S. and Canada,” the company said in a statement.

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Matt Templeton of Keller Williams Urban Dallas regularly educates Realtors on how to make the most of the current market. (Courtesy Photo)

By Matthew Templeton
Managing Principal
KW Urban Dallas

It feels like there have been fundamental shifts in the real estate industry within the last few months. Technology is the buzz word, money is being thrown around, and CEOs of just about every top real estate-related company are out. The last few weeks’ news sums up that feeling.

September 2018: Compass closes another funding round for $400 million — money used to build more software and buy more agents.

And then …

February: Rich Barton (billionaire co-founder of Expedia and Zillow) takes the reins from Spencer Rascoff, who was CEO at Zillow for nine years.

February: Keller Williams rolls out the first artificial intelligence and data-driven platform in the real estate industry — others have been clamoring to follow

February: RE/MAX says [sic] “Our amazing technology is coming, and it will be best in class,” and makes a technology acquisition, Booj.

Last Week: Data-driven Opendoor will now show listings from rival brokerages and offer Redfin-like rebates.

Last Week: NTREIS Board holds a vote on whether to sell greater data access to Zillow. April will be a reckoning month for North Texas Realtors and their data.

We’ve moved into a new real estate era that is faster paced and increasingly powered by technology and data — more than ever before. But there’s something else afoot. It’s eerily similar to what happened with the dot-com bust. Real estate technology companies are flush with capital — in fact, 2018 was a banner year for real estate technology investment.

And yet many of the top “technology” or “platform” companies in the industry are not profitable.

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uptownWhen Leah Nolan told us she and her husband were listing their Uptown condo, she was a little wistful.

And that’s understandable. Her cozy one-bedroom, one-bath home, 3311 Blackburn St. #215, is a perfect spot for someone looking to enjoy some of the best Dallas has to offer, with an affordable price point that gives them entry into what can be a pretty spendy housing market.

“We walk or Uber to the grocery store, for haircuts, and to bars and restaurants,” she said. “It’s just minutes from the highways, we have great neighbors, a pool, and it’s steps away from the Katy Trail and West Village, for the same price that we were paying for rent.” (more…)

Whiffletree Plano home

Custom touches are plentiful in this 1997 contemporary Plano Whiffletree home with four bedrooms, four baths, and 3,700 square feet for $569,000.

Plano’s popular Whiffletree neighborhood has the perfect blend of well-built 1980s and 1990s homes, mature landscaping, and some of the best schools in highly-rated Plano ISD. For our continuing series on great homes located within great school zones, here is a contemporary two-story, nearly 3,700-square-foot, four-bedroom home for $569,000.

This home, located at 3617 Snidow Drive, is zoned for Plano ISD’s Mathews Elementary (rated 10 of 10), Schimelpfenig Middle School (rated 9 of 10), Clark High School (4 of 10), and Plano Senior High (9 of 10). It’s listed (and owned) by Cyndi Schrob of Redfin Corporation.

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dallas mid century modern homesIf you’ve got a hankering for a taste of Midcentury style, our Thursday Three Hundred promises total satisfaction.

Located in the Lake and Garden District’s University Manor neighborhood at 7139 Edgerton Dr., this quintessential 1950’s gem is a 3-2 with 1,502 square feet, built in 1954. It’s a time capsule of atomic era flat planes and glass walls; open, bright rooms; and manicured outdoor living spaces that makes it hard to decide which is better, indoors or out.

It was listed yesterday by Erin Birdsong with Redfin for $364,900. (There’s a broker open house today from 4-6 p.m., and a public open house Saturday, April 9, from noon to 2 p.m.)

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NRT's new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.

NRT’s new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.

It’s a much different model than Zillow/Trulia, but NRT/Realogy will be on pace to not only capture more leads than Zillow, but it has boots-on-the-ground Realtors who can complete sales. This one-two punch is part of NRT’s strategy to “out flank” Zillow, positioning the brokerage as an online and in-person real estate powerhouse, according to Inman News:

“The nation’s largest real estate brokerage, NRT LLC, is preparing to launch two new search portals that are aimed at reducing the company’s reliance on leads from Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com, attracting homebuyers by offering access to a complete set of MLS listings in markets where NRT operates, plus bells and whistles like automated valuations.

NRT, the brokerage wing of real estate titan Realogy, has over 42,000 agents and operates more than 700 offices in the U.S. under the Coldwell Banker Real Estate, ERA Real Estate, and Sotheby’s International Realty brands. It also owns and operates Citi Habitats, The Corcoran Group and, when the acquisition closes sometime this quarter, ZipRealty.”

 

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Brutal Chicago Winter

OK, visualize a brutal Chicago winter. Snow, slush, and gray everywhere, no parking so you have to hike to and from the El everywhere. Boots and coats and a monochromatic landscape that has been known to drive some people up the wall.

Now, imagine you’re selling your home. Would you want tons of people tromping through your house with goodness-knows-what frozen to their soles? Imagine the salt stains on your rugs! And you’ll need to showcase all of the architectural details, so your thermal drapes on your windows will have to be flung open. And can you imagine being displaced several times a week for showings?

In a word: Yuck!

But imagine you’re a buyer and you’re viewing a home during a cold and snowy day, and you walk into a listing behind an agent who immediately turns on the gas fireplace in this cozy beauty:

Hearth Rug

In another word: SOLD!

According to research from online brokerage Redfin, winter is the best season to sell a home. Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

 Redfin analyzed homes listed from March 22, 2011, through March 21, 2013, and found that those listed in winter have a 9 percentage point greater likelihood of selling, sell a week faster, and sell for 1.2 percentage points more relative to list price than homes listed in any other season.

What the what? Now, “winter” according to Redfin, is Dec. 21 through March 21. By March, we’re usually back up in the 70s here in North Texas, and our market tends to get really active at that time, which is usually when Peeps hit the shelves, according to Re/MAX About Dallas Realtor Ken Lampton.

But according to Redfin, it’s not the season that really matters, it’s how motivated the buyer is. So while more people list in Spring and Summer, buyers tend to be more motivated in the winter.

“There are plenty of people who need to buy a home in the winter, whether it’s because of a job relocation or major family change, like a new baby. These buyers want to get into a home quickly, and are sometimes willing to pay top dollar,” said Paul Stone, a Redfin real estate agent in Denver.

Of course, part of it has to do with the perception of the economy, too:

An anticipated rise in mortgage rates is another reason why it may be advantageous to list your home this winter. According to Redfin economist Ellen Haberle, “The Federal Reserve has signaled that it plans to start reining in its stimulus program ‘in the coming months,’ which will push mortgage rates up. For many buyers, this expected policy change is motivation to strap on their boots and find the right home before rates increase, regardless of the cold weather.”

What do you think?