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Is Redfin fudging their production stats, counting teams as one agent?

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Can the Redfin model be reported like others?

It is often grumbled about on the West Coast that Redfin touts that their brokerage comprises of a consistent percentage of various markets’ “top agents,” comparing their production numbers to single agents in the same market.

This fall, Redfin’s Courtney Wenclawski wrote, “Nine Redfin Washington Metro & Baltimore agents finished in the top 20 out of the 10,700+ buyers agents in the area in the second quarter of 2011. We pulled these numbers from MRIS, the database for real estate transactions and listings for Baltimore-Washington, DC region, and ranked agents who represented home-buyers of single-family homes and condominiums in April, May & June based first on number of deals, then by total dollar amount.”

Wenclawski writes, “When you work with Redfin, you get great customer service while working with some of the most successful and active agents in the region. Most agents spend around 80% of their time finding new clients, but Redfin agents don’t need to prospect since folks come to us on Redfin.com. As a result, Redfin agents can spend all their time serving clients: answering questions, hosting home tours, writing and negotiating offers, and listing homes. Redfin agents are experts in today’s market because they spend more of their time negotiating and closing deals, not making sales calls.”

Rebutting the data

To the statement that “Most agents spend around 80% of their time finding new clients, but Redfin agents don’t need to prospect since folks come to us on Redfin.com. Redfin agents can spend all their time serving clients: answering questions, hosting home tours,” FranklyRealty.com broker Frank Llosa asked, “Are you referring to the “top” agents listed here? They are giving those home tours? I didn’t know that. Or is there more of a team structure that allows the Redfin agent that signs the contract (and other steps) to get credit for the entire transaction that several non-listed agents were involved in? If so, that seems a little misleading to compare a “team” to “individual” Realtors and then say Redfin agents, and the teams that back them, are the top “individuals.” Facts are facts… unless they are skewed.”

Redfin has not responded on their site to Llosa’s allegations that they are couting “team” efforts as an individual so the brokerage can claim they offer more top agents than others.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. John Kalinowski

    October 19, 2011 at 8:08 am

    This is not uncommon. Most of the so-called "mega-producers across the country are actually teams of agents working under one agent's name.

  2. Matt Goyer - Redfin

    October 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Like many top producers, Redfin agents are supported by a team. This team includes a coordinator who finalizes home tours that are initiated through our website and the paperwork for closing. The team also includes a few field agents (or showing agents) who help with showings. While in the past our agents didn't see the homes our clients were interested in, more and more agents are meeting our clients on their first home tour and other times throughout their home buying experience to provide guidance every step of the way.

  3. Frank

    October 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Also in their claims that they only hire experienced agents with X # of deals under their belt, those deals are sometimes/oftentimes/usually in a capacity as an Assistant to another agent.

    Again it looks good to say you only hire agents with 20 deals (or whatever), but if that agent is the assistant, it isn't as impressive.

  4. Matt Goyer - Redfin

    October 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Frank, to interview with Redfin as an agent you need to have done at least 10 deals in your own name. Deals as an assistant do not count.

  5. Ruthmarie Hicks

    October 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    What I find rather suspect is that the criteria used seem to always and consistently paint the Redfin agents as the "top producers" in the area. I find it baffling that a top producer would CHOOSE Redfin since they can make far more money on their own. On that basis alone – it doesn't add up. I'm just going with common sense here…

  6. Mike O'Hara

    October 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I list REO's among other transactions. I've listed maybe 70 over the last 3 or 4 years. Many of these properties get 5 to 20 offers and MANY more showings. I cannot honestly remember EVER being contacted by a redfin agent to show a single one of them, and definitely have NEVER received an offer from a redfin agent. How can that be? Out of all of those properties, showings offers and NOT ONCE has a redfin agent popped their head up. Hmmmm.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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