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Redfin & Book It Now for On-Demand Home Tours

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Redfin announced their On-Demand Home Tours today with a blog post by Glenn.

Completely agree with the consumer win on this, and Redfin just might have enough agents in their network to solve the liquidity challenge.

When I saw the announcement, I immediately thought of Curb Call (which has been written about). Perhaps Seth could chime in, and tell us what he’s learned working on this for the last couple years.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Seth Siegler

    Like most things from Redfin, this looks to be nicely done. I’ve long been a fan of theirs and we even purchased our home in San Diego through Redfin!

    I hope to see it in action, in person at some point, but from what I can read about it so far, it looks like they’ve taken a different approach towards on demand showings than we did. This is understandable given their different business model vs the traditional real estate brokerage that Curb Call is geared for.

    Curb Call is designed to let agents set their own schedule of availability for showing requests, in realtime, as free time happens. This suits a traditional real estate agent well because their days are unpredictable. (That’s one thing I vividly remember from my days as an agent!) Sometimes you find yourself with some free time, and in that free time, you can use Curb Call to go available. Showing requests are routed in realtime through our platform to the agent that the buyer requests or the agent who is best suited for the showing based on proximity, travel time or expertise.

    On the flipside, it appears that the Redfin solution actually schedules their agents to be available at particular times throughout the work week ahead. That works for Redfin because their agents and other team members are employees. That wouldn’t suit the traditional agent but is a nice solution for Redfin agents and consumers.

    I find it validating to see other players recognizing the trend towards catering to buyers who want showings on short notice. More and more buyers are handling the early part of the search process on their own. When the time comes to view listings in person, it’s a good opportunity for agents to get face to face in order to earn these buyers are clients. It eliminates the awkwardness that comes from agents having to try to earn online shoppers are clients too.

    I also agree with Redfin’s assumption that in the near future, more and more requests for showings will be requests for same-hour entries. Since that’s the only type of request we cater to, I can personally attest to the reality of that trend.

    Overall, I agree with Drew that this is a “win” for consumers and a nice move for Redfin.

  • I get the want for convenience that “on demand” offers, but I do not think this is a win for consumers. In most cases they will end up having representation from untested, inexperienced agents. Might a consumer have to wait a minute to get my representation? Yes. But in the end they will make up all that time by having the guidance of an experienced agent throughout their incredibly costly, fragile and complicated transaction. I know the value I bring. So do my past clients.

    • I agree, the least experienced agents are the ones that have the most time on their hands and will be filling these requests. As this is such a big purchase as long as a good experienced agent can show you the home on time to get your offer in, a consumer is better off with the experienced agent.

      Redfin has a knack for taking the mundane and making it sound new and exciting. In this case they have a showing option which ALL websites already have, and they are simply taking steps to make it more efficient with their agents.

    • massysett

      A Redfin agent may well be untested and inexperienced. But my experience is showing that most agents are untested, inexperienced and, frankly, lousy. Look through any MLS. Houses have crappy photos, shot with camera phones at night. Descriptions are inaccurate, showing that agents don’t even know one neighborhood from another. The many open houses I’ve been to affirms this impression: one agent was literally asleep on the sofa, and another insulted my wife after she asked a simple question.

      In this age, I’ve already done the work of figuring out what neighborhoods I want. I can review listings in the MLS. I don’t want an agent to ask me “so what do you like” and then drive me around. I don’t need someone to recommend a lender or home inspector. So then why should a full service agent swoop in at the last minute and scoop up thousands in commission all for a few days’ work?

      • It sucks that you’ve had a poor experience. In my market, I know literally hundreds of great agents who work their tails off for their clients. Of course, I know a few clowns too. I suppose it’s that way in any industry.

        • There are definitely schmucks in every industry. Just a reality, unfortunately.

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