When we started our home search in Dallas, we were faced with the customary option of determining who’s going to make a lot of money off of our purchase. Seriously, 3% of our purchase price (THOUSANDS of dollars) to meet us at 10 houses and work the contract of a final purchase?? Realtors work hard, and I wouldn’t want their job because of the constant availability required, but that’s a lot money. If only I could get a cut of that cash pile… enter Redfin!
My brother in law told us about Redfin because they were looking for a house in Denver and the whole “getting paid to a buy a house” part appealed to them as well. After he mentioned it, we decided to give it a try and see if we could get a nice check from them after purchase.
What is Redfin?
They have it summed up pretty nicely on their website:
“Redfin Agents are full-service agents who get to know you over coffee and on home tours, with one big difference: We’re paid to be on your side.”
I don’t think we ever got a cup of coffee, but we did get a full service realtor. Redfin is different than traditional realtors and most realtors seriously dislike them as they’re a complete game changer in the real estate market. They’ve made buying a house a very transactional process and have become very efficient at it.
They’re not in every city, but they’re growing quickly and will be in every city before they’re through. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan. However, Redin may not be for everyone – here are some quick thoughts that should help you decide if you should use Redfin:
You should use Redfin if:
1. You’re familiar with the city and the area you want to buy in
Redfin does have trained realtors, but they aren’t able to spend as much time explaining the intricacies of a market. We pretty much knew the areas we wanted to move to in Dallas, but we didn’t feel like we got a whole lot of advice beyond what we already knew. This may be a result of Dallas being massive, but it made it more stressful in the short time we had to purchase.
2. You’re comfortable with researching and finding houses to look at
To plan your house visits with Redfin, you need to search through their website and request houses to visit. This leaves the house picking mostly up to you, but luckily their site is quite good. After you find houses you’re interested in, you simply submit your list and Redfin works to schedule all of the visits. You’ll then get an exact schedule from Redfin and meet their agents at the houses.
3. You like the idea of getting an almost 1% refund for your purchase price
Not sure anyone wouldn’t say yes to this one… but yes, you get somewhere between .8% and 1% of your purchase price refunded in either a check after closing or it can be applied to your closing cost. Yes, Redfin pays you to buy a house!
You should NOT use Redfin if:
1. You’re brand new to an area and need a lot of advice
As mentioned in why should use them, they’re not always as experienced in the area you’re purchasing in. This may change as Redfin matures as a company, but for now most realtors don’t want to join Redfin because they think they won’ t make as much money.
2. You have never purchased a home before and need much more hand-holding
Purchasing a home is a stressful adventure, and if you’re purchasing for the first time, you may need more support than Redfin provides. As mentioned earlier, they’re pretty transactional and want to move the purchases along pretty quickly.
3. You want someone very dedicated only to you
Our Redfin agents in Dallas were very busy and we alternated between four of them to get all of our house visits in. This can be tough because you lose some continuity, but it can also be a good thing because we weren’t totally dependent on one realtor’s availability
So, did Redfin really pay yes?
Yes, we made over $3,000 on our rebate check and we were happy with our experience! We probably could have found other realtors who were more dedicated to us and who could have provided more knowledge on the areas we were interested in, but in the end, we’d rather have the check. Also, Redfin only charges 1.5% to sell the house (vs 3% for other agents), so we’ll probably use them when it comes time to sell!