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Don’t like the conversation on your performance data? Then change it

Redfin releases sales data of most Realtors

Redfin, the discount brokerage that some in the industry love and some love to hate, got a lot of press for rolling out a new “Scouting Report” that shows consumers information about agent performance based on MLS statistics. It was initially rolled out in 15 markets, but was quickly yanked from several after concerns about the accuracy of the data being displayed. San Francisco is one of the markets where Redfin has made the data available, so I couldn’t resist pulling up my own scouting report.

Some within the real estate industry are howling that it is unfair to share this data with consumers, and others welcome it with open arms. I work for a brokerage that provides recent sales data (for agents that are a part of our brokerage) on our public facing website (although agents can opt-out if they wish). So I’m definitely in the camp that thinks the more data you share with consumers, the better.

Every change brings plenty of well-intentioned hand-wringing. Is the data accurate? Can it be manipulated? These arguments remind me of when Zillow first rolled out their zestimate. Transparency will do wonders to ensure that data gets more accurate and prevent manipulation. When every brokerage and association embraces the sharing of this information, no one agency would be in a position to manipulate data, and inaccuracies surface more quickly when many people review the data and data feeds.

Why hasn’t this data been available before?

Despite the well-oiled press machine, Redfin isn’t actually the first to ever provide stats like this. The scope of their reach, though, makes their move important. Technical arguments and issues haven’t been the obstacle to sharing agent performance metrics – association politics are. It gets to the core question of who a multiple listing service (MLS) is designed to serve. Is the primary purpose of an MLS to serve real estate agents, or is an MLS for consumers? For better or worse, the answer seems to be that a MLS is for agents. How else would you justify not providing agent performance metrics from consumers?

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While I generally welcome Redfin’s actions, I’m not sure I agree that it’s a brokerage’s place to share performance data about agents outside their company. That said, I don’t think most associations would even considering changing their policies without the swift kick recently provided by Redfin. I also think any agent should have the ability to opt-out of any program that shares their performance data with the public.

Start a Conversation, change the conversation

Everyone wins when consumers make informed choices. Regardless of what your scorecard says about you, it’s a great way to start a conversation with a consumer. If you don’t think your MLS stats accurately tell your story or convey your value, be prepared and ready to help potential clients understand the value you bring.

So what if your stats show you’ve only sold 3 houses in the past year? Maybe there’s a reason for that, and maybe if you explained that reason to a potential buyer or seller it would make them want to work with you more, not less.

So what if your stats shows you had a listing that sat on the market for 8 months? If there is a valid reason, and you can help a potential client understand it, that conversation demonstrates your market knowledge and expertise.

The only person who loses when a consumer is more informed are the agents at the bottom of the barrel who don’t belong in this business. So let’s all help consumers understand who those agents might be – instead of relying on one “rebel” brokerage – and help consumers find agents that will do a great job for them.

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Agent reviews, performance statistics, and other consumer-oriented service metrics are here to stay. It’s a shame that this data is only being published by Redfin. MLSs across the nation should take this as another wake-up call and challenge themselves to find ways that they can help consumers in their market make smart and informed decisions about hiring an agent. I don’t care how you mark it on the scouting report, I say the future is bright for great agents.

Written By

Matt Fuller brings decades of experience and industry leadership as co-founder of San Francisco real estate brokerage Jackson Fuller Real Estate. Matt is a Past President of the San Francisco Association of Realtors. He currently serves as a Director for the California Association of Realtors. He currently co-hosts the San Francisco real estate podcast Escrow Out Loud. A recognized SF real estate expert, Matt has made numerous media appearances and published in a variety of media outlets. He’s a father, husband, dog-lover, and crazy exercise enthusiast. When he’s not at work you’re likely to find him at the gym or with his family.



  1. Micki

    October 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Now, this is transparency I can believe in! Good article — intelligent POV!

  2. Ranee

    October 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Great info for consumers — evaluating data available and how to discuss these benchmarks with potential agents! Thanks!

  3. Kelly

    October 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    It's always nice to be informed before you deal with or purchase things. Get to know who your dealing with.

  4. Mike O'Hara

    October 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    "Regardless of what your scorecard says about you, it’s a great way to start a conversation with a consumer."

    There is one of the problems that I have with this Matt. Often you will not get the chance to have that conversation.
    Redspin is using your (incorrect and incomplete) data to drive eyes to their site and their agents, AND AWAY FROM YOU, using your own name. They have monster google juice. Juice that you or I could never get. What happens when an agent actually googles Matt Fuller and the first thing they see is your Redspin profile? I'll answer my own question. Many consumers will contact the RF agent either because they don't know any better, thinking that perhaps he or she is one of your team members. Better yet, a consumer may actually compare you and your intentionally poor RF profile and choose a RF agent who claims, "30 closed sales in 2011", when in reality that agent may have closed 4. RF is playing very dirty pool. They are a member of NAR and breaking a COE. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
    BTW, I list REOs and they often get many showings and as many as 20 offers. In 3 years I cannot remember 1 offer coming from a RF agent. They are desperate. Give backs to make up for alledged awfull customer service will only get them so far.

  5. Mike O'Hara

    October 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Poof, and now it's gone. A nice publicity stunt.

  6. Joe

    October 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Great article Matt. I especially agree with how agents should have the choice to participate in such a program. This type of data, even more comprehensive data, is still being published however, just not on a national level. provides an application to the Austin, TX market where agents can opt in or out and are kept anonymous. Although the application is only currently available for the Austin market, the company has plans to expand to several other markets in the near future.

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