Redfin is going after a new real estate niche in a big way. The Seattle real estate brokerage today is unveiling an offering called Builder Services in which home builders and condominium developers can market their properties for sale on the Redfin’s Web site and in its mobile apps.
Redfin tested the concept at the Vannoy Park community in Atlanta, selling all 26 units in the development in less than 10 months about the developer’s target pricing. Next up, Redfin has inked a deal to sell the 20 units in the environmentally-friendly Solo Lofts project in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, with pre-sales set to begin in January 2014.
With the Builder Services program in place, Redfin handles all unit sales for the developments, a potentially lucrative business proposition. The company declined to disclose what percentage commission it is taking as an agent for the seller, though spokesperson Kafia Hosh said that a buyer’s agent will get full commission.
“The listings for Redfin Builder Services will be visible and searchable on Redfin.com alongside all other homes for sale on the MLS,” Hosh said. “The search process will be the same; Redfin.com users will be able to see the units on the map, and search by address, price range, or floorplan.”
Hosh said that builders could not sell properties in this manner previously on Redfin. She said listings will not be shown on Redfin until they are listed in the Multiple Listing Service.
Redfin is already strong in urban centers, and by attempting to tap into the new construction market, it could be playing to its strengths. Of course, condo units in particular don’t typically have as high of price tags as more traditional residential homes. In the case of the Solo Lofts in Ballard — the first condo unit to sign on to Redfin’s new offering — the 500 to 1,200 square foot units start in the mid $200,000 range.
But if a Redfin agent can sell 10, 20 or 30 condo units at $250,000 a pop — that could add up nicely.
This will be interesting to watch.