I represented the buyer in the sale of a home worth $450,000. Luxury home on the first tee of an exclusive golf course, right next to a million-dollar custom-home lot.
How much did we pay? $310,000.
Now the truth is, I had an ideally-situated buyer and we were working with an ideally-dys-situated seller. Fortune favors the well-prepared, but, in the end, we simply got lucky.
But if I wanted to, I could present that story in such a way that, by the time I finished warming your ears, you’d want to rename Wednesday after me. (Take that, Odin!)
In all fairness to Redfin, if the numbers had come out the opposite, the re.net would have been all over it, showing it as “proof” that they suck.
Indeed. And as much as CEO Glenn Kelman resists the characterization of Redfin.com as a discount real estate brokerage, it remains that their marketing appeal is based on saving clients’ money. It’s hard to doubt that discount-seekers would be discount-finders.
But, as I discussed last night, Redfin’s results are not a slam-dunk validation of its agents skills, zeal, rigor, vigor or charm. The much more likely explanation for the results it reports is that its clients — unlike swimmingly-besotted house-lovers — are congenitally low-balling INTJs and INTPs who do not focus on anything that can’t be expressed numerically.
Tougher agents or tougher clients? There is a way to find out for sure. Last night I made this proposal to Kelman:
I’ll make you a deal. Send me PDF scans of the 170 files. I’ll make a server available for FTP, and y’all can redact for personal details. I can reconstruct a transaction from the file, so I can vet the quality of the work in full, not just as regards price. For example, I can see how complicated the deals are, and how much Redfin’s buyer’s agents are bringing to the transaction. I’ll report my findings in detail, and you can get your incredible PR machine to promote them far and wide. What could be more fair?
I truly do not believe you can deliver the service you promise and promote, and I do not believe that ordinary buyers can adequately evaluate the quality of work you are doing, but I am completely prepared to be proved wrong — and I am never shy about admitting it when I am.
I don’t think they’ll take me up on this, but they should. I’m a real estate broker. I’ve read a lot of files — and I can tell a hawk from a handsaw. More importantly, I am an information broker with a hard-won reputation for hard-headed integrity. I can do a whole lot more for Redfin than the Seattle Times, if its praises are worthy to be sung.
So there’s my gauntlet. Redfin shared its raw numbers with us, but the numbers by themselves don’t tell me anything. (For example, if many of Redfin’s houses were egregiously over-priced to begin with, its Sales Price to List Price ratio would look impressive even if its actual results were awful.) Seeing the files wouldn’t tell me everything, but it would tell me a whole lot more — of which I would conceal nothing.
Kevin Boer and Pat Kitano keep coming up with off-the-wall cost-saving ideas, and, in that spirit, I will give Redfin.com this much credit: Omitting the cowbird practices, omitting the rebel-without-a-clue MLS rules violations, omitting the unrelenting antagonisticism (now that’s a religion!), the idea of a hierarchically-managed real estate marketing practice is not awful. In a world of haute cuisine, the idea of a McDonald’s or a Taco Bell might be anathema, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work.
So send me the files, Glenn. I could end up being your most vocal champion…