Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

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chald
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Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by chald »

Hello,

I am a first-time home buyer and thinking about using Redfin as my agent but would like to know other people's experiences with them. My only concern is that since this will be my first time purchasing a home, I will have a lot of questions and might need more hand-holding than usual. I'm not sure if Redfin is the right choice for someone like me. Your advice would be appreciated.
Thanks!
BruDude
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by BruDude »

If you want cash back from your agent, use hungryagents.com. I was able to get a bid from an agent that gave me 50% of her commission. She seemed just as knowledgeable as any other buyers agent would have been. Penfed has a similar cash back program too but only gives 0.5% like Redfin.
dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

I would ask your friends, coworkers for recommendations.

Also, if you go to open houses, you'll have a chance to chat with the selling agents there to see if you feel comfortable with one of them. Additional benefit is you'll get a sense of what houses in your area are worth.
wilked
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by wilked »

Just bought one (closing in a month).

I found the Redfin agent very helpful and trust me, they will do plenty of handholding.

I am in a very hot market where the cycle is

1. List home on Wed-Fri
2. Open houses Sat/Sun
3. Offers due Tues
4. Offer accepted Wed

In the above setup an agent doesn't offer much. How narrow is your geographic search? That helps as well...ours was fairly narrow (3 towns) and I came to know the market as well as any RE agent I bet. We will get a check for ~$5K soon (the Redfin rebate) and I am definitely happy I went that route. FWIW this is our first house
sscritic
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by sscritic »

Yes. I was not completely happy, but then I have felt the same about traditional agents in other transactions.

I don't know if this is the same everywhere, but my redfin was a team. Once you have selected a house and made a bid, most of your interaction is by email with the agent or the office staff. Need to sign a paper? You do it online. I had more personal contact with the escrow company and phone contact with the lender than I did with redfin.
wilked
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by wilked »

sscritic wrote: Need to sign a paper? You do it online. I had more personal contact with the escrow company and phone contact with the lender than I did with redfin.

This was a huge plus for me, personally. I do not have time to waste driving around to sign stuff, esign is MUCH easier
yeledbed
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by yeledbed »

I closed in July on my first home and used Redfin. I was happy with the experience. As Sscritic noted, you will work with a team of agents and office staff. You can select (or be assigned) one agent, but that's not always the same person who takes you to view homes or helps you write your offer. Everything that can be done online or via email is completed that way, and I really liked that.
Redfin agents are experienced agents who should be able to answer any and all questions you have. Plus, the website has tons of educational information about the entire home buying process and ratings of agents, loan officers, inspectors, etc. in your area. I also liked that Redfin agents are compensated based on my satisfaction rather than whether or not I closed. My Redfin agent(s) pointed out numerous issues on several homes that my traditional agent would have glossed over claiming "easy remediation". I was never pressured to put in an offer, even after 6 months of searching and 25+ tours. (Unlike my traditional agent five years ago.)
With every listing available online, the only value I have found in a traditional agent (over Redfin or other discount agents) is that he can send you pre-listings: homes that aren't yet on the market but will be coming soon. That might provide the opportunity to submit an offer before it goes on the market.
kithwang
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by kithwang »

Whoever you decide ...
1. Don't sign paperwork to work exclusively with that agent
2. Find a local agent where you are buying at
3. Find a new agent if you don't like your current agent.

I found a city agent for a suburb I want to buy at. I wanted a lower commission when it was time to sell my condo. Turns out my agent didn't know the neighborhood as well as he claimed. I provided the comps and he was annoyed at me for sticking to the price I wanted to buy at. The local agents all know each other and are more willing to work with each other on deals.
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kenyan
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by kenyan »

We bought with Redfin. I haven't bought with a traditional agent before (this was our first purchase), so my basis for comparison is only what others have told me, slightly augmented by sales pitches I've received from traditional brokers at open houses and such. My general observations would be -

1. Don't buy with Redfin if you aren't willing to do most of/all of the legwork in identifying houses you are interested in. Nowadays, this isn't a big deal for most.
2. Our agent was very low-pressure, which I liked. Since he wasn't depending upon our commission to get paid, he wanted us to make sure we were going for the right house at the right price.
3. Having a team of people ready to escort us to view properties when it was convenient for us was very nice.
4. Could differ by agent, but ours was always easy to get a hold of. Last summer's mini-frenzy had a lot of challenges for buyers, and our agent was always there to answer questions or discuss our concerns.
5. The refund check was a very nice way to pay for a lot of the closing/moving costs.
6. I would use them again.
Retirement investing is a marathon.
autonomy
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by autonomy »

I did - in a very spontaneous way. Wife & I wanted to see what the market was like and what there was out there, so at first we went to open houses that we found on Redfin. There was a property that we kind of liked, but then after mulling over, realized it was a pretty good deal, so we decided to go for it after looking for only about a month.

Our agent was super friendly and easy-to-deal with. We closed in the space of a month and the agent was able to persuade the buyer to knock about 3% off an already aggressive price. I did a lot of reading/research, but in the end it was more helpful to receive a list of inspectors/lawyers/loan officers the agent usually works with - everyone we used ended up great people to work with, my sister even ended up using our real estate lawyer to buy her house.

As some people mentioned, it was really convenient to fill out forms online, no need to drive.

So, a pleasant, no-rush experience, and the bonus check was pretty good.

P.S. Redfin has done a couple of homebuying seminars at my workplace, I think a few people at work have also used them.
plymster
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by plymster »

We bought our first home through Redfin as well, and I echo the previous posters praises:
* No pressure (we searched for ~10 months, and looked at a dozen houses)
* Find the home yourself (which is easy on their website where they list everything from previous listing prices to photos to standard data and comps)
* Work with a team (meaning you have different people showing you homes, and a coordinator walking you through the buying process, as well as one agent leading the negotiations)
* They have loads of free classes (first-time homebuyer classes, mortgage classes, inspection classes, buying a foreclosure/short-sale classes)
* Cash refund of ~1% of the purchase price.

I've heard a few complaints about timeliness, but that wasn't my experience at all, so your experience may vary. I'm unable to discern what a "regular" RE agent gives you that they don't (aside from more expense).

To me, Redfin seems like the Vanguard of the RE world.
Topic Author
chald
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by chald »

Thank you, all! It sounds like most people including first-time buyers had positive experiences with Redfin. I think I will give them a try since there is no obligation and I can always switch to a traditional agent if I'm not satisfied. Thanks again, everyone!
bogleraw
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by bogleraw »

Does one have to declare the cash refund on their taxes that year?
renter
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by renter »

We used them for our first home purchase and worked out great. There's no science to this. Search online, go to open houses, put in an offer, get an inspection, then decide.
thomasbayarea
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by thomasbayarea »

Over the last 9 years we have bought two and sold one home through Redfin.

Nothing but positive things to say about them, except that their cash back % has significantly decreased since 9 years ago.
Nearly A Moose
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by Nearly A Moose »

This is a very interesting thread, thanks for starting it. Has anyone used Redfin to but in a HCOL area? Are they helpful in navigating situations where the homes are priced in anticipation of escalation clauses and/or in assessing how competitive offers will be?
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.
absolutFinance
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by absolutFinance »

we used redfin to buy - had a great experience. we started our search for our second home using the traditional agent from our first home. during that process, i felt like the service was lacking - i was being asked to do some legwork that i expected the agent to do. i got frustrated about that so we dropped our agent, switched to redfin and we ended up buying within a week. the redfin agent was awesome, knowledgeable and helpful in a super hot market in a HCOL area (avg days on market = 6).

would definitely do this again now that we have some experience of home buying under our belt and i recommend redfin to all my friends who are looking to buy.

i didn't have as good of an experience on the sell side - so we went with a traditional agent, but that's another story.
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Elsebet
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by Elsebet »

Nearly A Moose wrote:This is a very interesting thread, thanks for starting it. Has anyone used Redfin to but in a HCOL area? Are they helpful in navigating situations where the homes are priced in anticipation of escalation clauses and/or in assessing how competitive offers will be?
I bought a house via Redfin in Issaquah, WA east of Seattle in 2014. It's the highest COL area I've ever lived in. The house popped up in my email on a Thursday afternoon. I went to look at it on Friday after work and there were already 20+ realtor business cards on the counter. It was a fixer-upper estate sale, but the bones looked good enough for me, it had land (2.5 acres), and it was at the low end of my price range. I put an offer on it and heard that there were 6 other offers, some with escalation clauses. The Redfin agent was really punctual and worked with the mortgage lender until midnight that Friday night getting all the docs in order for the offer with my pre-approval letter. I got lucky and they picked mine that Monday, my agent talked me up to the seller's agent which I think helped my offer win.

When we closed, the agent gave me a receipt for a riding lawnmower she had ordered to be delivered. I was astounded. I had received a fruit basket for the first home I bought and nothing for the second (both in the Midwest). A riding lawnmower gift boggled my mind, I admit I felt guilty accepting it but I guess she did still make at least ~8k from the transaction after the purchase.

I will definitely use Redfin again.
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simplesimon
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by simplesimon »

Interesting thread. As someone interested in buying in the next few years I'd be curious to see if and how Redfin changes the home-buying experience.

Is Redfin completely DIY? Or does it connect you with good realtors and you can work with them outside of Redfin as well?
michaeljc70
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by michaeljc70 »

Yes.

I sold my home myself (listing in the MLS paying buyer's agent 2.5%).

I used Redfin to buy. I am pretty much hands on do it myself kind of person. I told them what I wanted to see, they made the appointments and showed up to show it. Like any real estate agent, they offer differing levels of advise depending on who you get. If you don't know the area you want to live in (say a relocation) and need a lot of hand holding, I probably wouldn't recommend them. I think I saved around $2k with Redfin.

BTW, if you think you will just call the seller's agents yourself and save the commission, it doesn't really work that way. Also, they prefer working with other agents and many won't take you seriously.
youdiditr2
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by youdiditr2 »

I didn't buy a house with Redfin, but I did use Redfin and had the agent make an offer. Overall, I thought it was a positive experience.

I told him which houses I wanted to see and how much I wanted to offer, he make some recommendations. Worked fine for me as I didn't want someone driving me around to houses I wasn't interested in or pressuing me to buy..although now I wish he did because the houses we were looking at in 2011 for $400ks are now going for $700k :(
youdiditr2
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by youdiditr2 »

simplesimon wrote:Interesting thread. As someone interested in buying in the next few years I'd be curious to see if and how Redfin changes the home-buying experience.

Is Redfin completely DIY? Or does it connect you with good realtors and you can work with them outside of Redfin as well?
I guess it might depend on the agent. The first agent they gave me told me I needed my own car because she said Redfin didn't think it was safe for her to have clients in her car and asked me if I have a list of houses to see. Not having a car, I said "screw you."

The next agent was more than happy to drive me around any houses I wanted to me and other houses I might be interested in and help recommend a good offer, basically doing everything a full service agent would.
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kenyan
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by kenyan »

bogleraw wrote:Does one have to declare the cash refund on their taxes that year?
I believe the official answer is "check with your tax preparer," but in the vast majority of cases, the answer should be no. It's a rebate (of fees nominally paid by the seller), somewhat akin to credit card rewards, and not income.
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kenyan
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by kenyan »

Nearly A Moose wrote:This is a very interesting thread, thanks for starting it. Has anyone used Redfin to but in a HCOL area? Are they helpful in navigating situations where the homes are priced in anticipation of escalation clauses and/or in assessing how competitive offers will be?
Our experience was in a HCOLA during a hot time in the market. The agent was very helpful, but didn't offer specific advice on attempting to predict others' offers. In our area, there tends to be just one go-back after initial offers in a multiple-bid sale, where the sellers ask for your "highest and best" offer. The advice from the agent was basically not to bid more than we were comfortable paying.

Not sure how things might differ in areas where people get into bidding wars.
Retirement investing is a marathon.
Mitchell777
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by Mitchell777 »

I have not bought a home for decades. Boy, this is all so different. What does Redfin or similar companies do not provide good agents as many are referencing here. They must be doing something to provide overall better agents than if you just looked in the on line yellow pages or used Uncle Joe's cousin.
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jfn111
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by jfn111 »

Mitchell777 wrote:I have not bought a home for decades. Boy, this is all so different. What does Redfin or similar companies do not provide good agents as many are referencing here. They must be doing something to provide overall better agents than if you just looked in the on line yellow pages or used Uncle Joe's cousin.
Redfin is like any other Brokerage, there will be good and bad agents. (Or politely, experienced and inexperienced)
I just looked at our MLS (Minneapolis).
Redfin shows 17 agents
164 buy side transactions.
1 agent had 127 of those transactions.
So the other 16 agents had a combined 37 transactions.
BW1985
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by BW1985 »

BruDude wrote:If you want cash back from your agent, use hungryagents.com. I was able to get a bid from an agent that gave me 50% of her commission. She seemed just as knowledgeable as any other buyers agent would have been. Penfed has a similar cash back program too but only gives 0.5% like Redfin.
I wish I had known about hungryagents.com when I bought earlier this year. I used a referral program through my relocation company and got 0.3%, better than nothing I suppose.

Redfin's rebate at lower price points like 200k is not even 0.5% because of their minimum commission.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
michaeljc70
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by michaeljc70 »

jfn111 wrote:
Mitchell777 wrote:I have not bought a home for decades. Boy, this is all so different. What does Redfin or similar companies do not provide good agents as many are referencing here. They must be doing something to provide overall better agents than if you just looked in the on line yellow pages or used Uncle Joe's cousin.
Redfin is like any other Brokerage, there will be good and bad agents. (Or politely, experienced and inexperienced)
I just looked at our MLS (Minneapolis).
Redfin shows 17 agents
164 buy side transactions.
1 agent had 127 of those transactions.
So the other 16 agents had a combined 37 transactions.
I used Redfin and was happy. But to play devil's advocate, if the agents are experienced and great, why would they work for less commission? Maybe Redfin is eating the rebate mostly due to lower costs? I am just throwing this out there and don't know the answer.
BW1985
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by BW1985 »

michaeljc70 wrote:
jfn111 wrote:
Mitchell777 wrote:I have not bought a home for decades. Boy, this is all so different. What does Redfin or similar companies do not provide good agents as many are referencing here. They must be doing something to provide overall better agents than if you just looked in the on line yellow pages or used Uncle Joe's cousin.
Redfin is like any other Brokerage, there will be good and bad agents. (Or politely, experienced and inexperienced)
I just looked at our MLS (Minneapolis).
Redfin shows 17 agents
164 buy side transactions.
1 agent had 127 of those transactions.
So the other 16 agents had a combined 37 transactions.
I used Redfin and was happy. But to play devil's advocate, if the agents are experienced and great, why would they work for less commission? Maybe Redfin is eating the rebate mostly due to lower costs? I am just throwing this out there and don't know the answer.
More clients? More clients = More $$$
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
michaeljc70
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by michaeljc70 »

BW1985 wrote:
michaeljc70 wrote:
jfn111 wrote:
Mitchell777 wrote:I have not bought a home for decades. Boy, this is all so different. What does Redfin or similar companies do not provide good agents as many are referencing here. They must be doing something to provide overall better agents than if you just looked in the on line yellow pages or used Uncle Joe's cousin.
Redfin is like any other Brokerage, there will be good and bad agents. (Or politely, experienced and inexperienced)
I just looked at our MLS (Minneapolis).
Redfin shows 17 agents
164 buy side transactions.
1 agent had 127 of those transactions.
So the other 16 agents had a combined 37 transactions.
I used Redfin and was happy. But to play devil's advocate, if the agents are experienced and great, why would they work for less commission? Maybe Redfin is eating the rebate mostly due to lower costs? I am just throwing this out there and don't know the answer.
More clients? More clients = More $$$
Maybe. I'm not sure why they'd be able to handle more clients than a regular agent other than maybe not having to enter the search criteria for the clients.

I also have not seen a RedFin office. I am sure they have one somewhere, but unlike a lot of local realtors, they don't have an office in every major neighborhood which means lower overhead. I wouldn't be surprised if the agents work from home.
denismurf
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by denismurf »

[/quote]BTW, if you think you will just call the seller's agents yourself and save the commission, it doesn't really work that way. Also, they prefer working with other agents and many won't take you seriously.[/quote]

In my most recent experience, if you phone the seller's agent and tell them you are working through Redfin, they might just hang up on you. They will certainly NOT agree to show you the house you're interested in seeing. I asked one Realtor if her client knew that she was refusing to show the client's house to a person not represented by another realtor. She answered that that was none of my business.

We got the place we wanted, and Redfin handled all the paperwork just fine. However, I left with the perception that the escrow company, not the realtor, does all that complicated paperwork. In fact, I don't know what realtors do to earn that standard 6% commission they ordinarily claim.
ArmchairArchitect
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

We recently used Redfin as buyers in Philadelphia, and had an amazing experience. My last two house purchases involved agents who were "really good" but the Redfin agent we recently used, just completely blew me away with his knowledge, attentiveness, professionalism, and representing our interests. And the $5k cash rebate was really nice to get.

You get better service from Redfin because their agents are paid based on performance/customer satisfaction (there's a review system), rather than commissions (which many agents will just try to close a deal no matter what).

Also Redfin has an efficient operating model- they have separate people who will show you homes, and then if you're interested in a home, they pair you up with an actual agent who will take you through the rest of the process.

Also make sure to use their low-cost/no fees sister title company, Title Forward. Amazing service there as well.
BW1985
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by BW1985 »

denismurf wrote: In my most recent experience, if you phone the seller's agent and tell them you are working through Redfin, they might just hang up on you. They will certainly NOT agree to show you the house you're interested in seeing. I asked one Realtor if her client knew that she was refusing to show the client's house to a person not represented by another realtor. She answered that that was none of my business.

We got the place we wanted, and Redfin handled all the paperwork just fine. However, I left with the perception that the escrow company, not the realtor, does all that complicated paperwork. In fact, I don't know what realtors do to earn that standard 6% commission they ordinarily claim.
Seller's agent is still getting paid either way, why would they care who's representing you? And why would you call the listing agent for a showing, why wouldn't Redfin arrange that for you?
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
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jfn111
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by jfn111 »

BW1985 wrote:
denismurf wrote: In my most recent experience, if you phone the seller's agent and tell them you are working through Redfin, they might just hang up on you. They will certainly NOT agree to show you the house you're interested in seeing. I asked one Realtor if her client knew that she was refusing to show the client's house to a person not represented by another realtor. She answered that that was none of my business.

We got the place we wanted, and Redfin handled all the paperwork just fine. However, I left with the perception that the escrow company, not the realtor, does all that complicated paperwork. In fact, I don't know what realtors do to earn that standard 6% commission they ordinarily claim.
Seller's agent is still getting paid either way, why would they care who's representing you? And why would you call the listing agent for a showing, why wouldn't Redfin arrange that for you?
I'm scratching my head at that too. :confused
Nearly A Moose
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by Nearly A Moose »

kenyan wrote:
Nearly A Moose wrote:This is a very interesting thread, thanks for starting it. Has anyone used Redfin to but in a HCOL area? Are they helpful in navigating situations where the homes are priced in anticipation of escalation clauses and/or in assessing how competitive offers will be?
Our experience was in a HCOLA during a hot time in the market. The agent was very helpful, but didn't offer specific advice on attempting to predict others' offers. In our area, there tends to be just one go-back after initial offers in a multiple-bid sale, where the sellers ask for your "highest and best" offer. The advice from the agent was basically not to bid more than we were comfortable paying.

Not sure how things might differ in areas where people get into bidding wars.
Thanks, good to hear. Does Redfin do seller's side work? If so, what have been people's experiences?
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.
EXH
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Re: Has anyone bought a home with Redfin?

Post by EXH »

We bought with Redfin in the Bay Area a couple years back.hcol area in a multi bid situation where with a couple rounds of counter offers. She never recommended a specific price and there was no pressure. It was a very positive experience. Our agent was fantastic - very knowledgeable and easy to reach. The only downside was looking at houses with the other touring people - they were less helpful. Not sure about seller side except to say that ours switched to seller side only. It looks like they have their most successful agents switch to sales.
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