Glenn Kelman
Glenn Kelman at Real Estate Connect

SAN FRANCISCO – When Glenn Kelman took the stage at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco this morning, he was out to dispel some myths about Redfin’s position, and talk about what he believes makes the Seattle-based real estate company special.

“We don’t just handle the search for pretty pictures of a house on the web, we do the whole frickin’ thing,” Kelman said.

According to Kelman, Redfin agents are three to four times more productive than the average real estate agent, and they make roughly double the industry average. In order to do that, Kelman said the company spends a lot of time and money supporting its agents with tweaks to its site.

Sometimes, small tweaks are all that it takes to get a big result. Adding a tab on the home page that said “Sell my home” increased the number of homeowners reaching out to Redfin about selling a home by 54 percent.

In addition, Kelman said that the company is seeing more and more customers interested in visiting a property on the same day they look it up. In some cases, they even end up calling an agent while they’re standing right outside a house they’re viewing on Redfin.

What the company has found is that having an agent available immediately is an important part of getting deals done, even if a customer has worked with another agent in the past.

“Even if you’ve worked with an agent in the past, you’d rather work with an agent who can get you into the house right now.”

To handle showings, Redfin has a system that keeps all of its agents’ calendars in the same place, so it’s possible for them to coordinate showing a property. The company also uses Twilio to pass phone calls off to other agents in the event one person is unavailable to take a call.

Kelman’s comments come less than a month after Redfin unveiled its “Hot Homes” feature, which is designed to give prospective homebuyers an idea of how long a property will take to sell.

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  • Guest

    I’m sorry but I don’t get all the hype. As far as I can tell they have a slightly better web site and a different comp structure for their agents. As a home buyer how does that really help me? And the rest of the large brokers keep upgrading their web sites. What is the long term competitive advantage that makes them worth multiples of their competitors?

    • Rebecca Samuelson, Redfin

      Hi Guest, Thanks for your comment! Just wanted to provide a little more context for you. There are many reasons that Redfin can really help you as a home buyer, but these are the two most popular:

      1. Our agents are paid full salary and benefits instead of commission. Due to this model, we’re able to give you a Redfin Refund on any house you buy or sell with Redfin.
      2. Every client, whether they successfully complete a transaction with Redfin or not, is surveyed. These surveys are all (good, bad, ugly) published on the Redfin Agents’ profiles. Reviews are rarely published in this manner and they have been a big topic at #ICSF.

      As for the competitive advantage you speak of, the pure innovation that comes from pairing Redfin Agents and our software developers is unparalled, which is how we developed features like the Open House Scheduler and Hot Homes. This dynamic allows us to create an environment where Redfin Agents can work efficiently while providing an excellent customer experience for our clients.

      If you have any other questions, please let us know.

      • bootboot

        I bought a house through Redfin and it was an easy experience that I’d probably do again in a region where I had good market knowledge. However I found the review process to be a bit of a sham. I did one failed offer with my Redfin agent and gave him a review (they requested a review for each offer at the time, not sure if they still do) that was not negative, but not excellent either (maybe 3.5/5 stars-level) and he basically said that if I wasn’t going to give good reviews he didn’t want to work with me, “your expectations might be too high, maybe you should go somewhere else” (paraphrasing).

        I got the message that reviews are used for compensation but they don’t actually want honest feedback, so after our house sold duly gave him an excellent score.

        • Rebecca Samuelson, Redfin

          We do still request a review after each offer, regardless of the outcome. What you’re describing is not how the process should go (at all), do you mind emailing me so I can look into it? social @ redfin dot com.

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