Redfin today is rolling out a new online service dubbed Price Whisperer, an offering that allows home buyers who may be thinking of selling to test the waters on how much their home would fetch.
“The most important decision when selling a home is what price to charge,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman in a release. “The traditional process often amounts to a high-stakes guessing game with tens of thousands of dollars at stake for the owner. Price Whisperer was created to get Redfin customers top dollar with less risk, asking Redfin.com’s audience of serious, active buyers the question that matters most: are you interested in touring a home at this price?”
The service is free, and available in Boston, Chicago, LA, New York, Portland, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington D.C. There’s no obligation to utilize a Redfin agent after using the Price Whisperer service.
To get started, homeowners simply provide a target price and address to a Redfin agent who then takes the data — along with photos of the homes — and polls up to 250 buyers on whether they would buy the home at the target price.
In that regard, it is kind of a “Hot or Not” for home prices in which would-be buyers give a thumb’s up or down.
When I first heard about the new Redfin service, it reminded me a bit of Zillow’s “Make Me Move” offering, which allows homeowners to float would-be prices for their homes.
Amy Musser, a spokeswoman for Redfin, said that Price Whisperer is different because agents contact actual buyers with an email message asking if they would pay a certain amount for a home.
“It specifically targets emails to homebuyers who are registered on Redfin.com, and then provides a detailed report to the seller with an analysis of the likelihood of selling for the test price based on the responses from those dozens to hundreds of buyers who were contacted,” she said.
That could give a would-be home seller a better idea of the price point of their home, perhaps eclipsing automated home valuations tools like Zillow’s Zestimate. It also could lead to transactions being done outside the confines of the MLS, though Redfin said that is not its intention.
“Of course, Redfin recommends that home-sellers list their home on the MLS for maximum exposure and the possibility of attracting other, possibly higher offers, but this is a useful tool that can help people figure out if they really are in a position to sell, and likewise help them make a more informed decision on how to price their home,” said Musser.
Added Bridget Frey, vice president of engineering at Redfin:
“Price Whisperer does what a traditional agent does — asks around about what the market will bear — just with much more precision and scale using technology.”
What do you think? Would you give it a try if you were contemplating selling your home?