Redfin The Next Disruptor to Arrive in Canadian Real Estate Business

Published February 19, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

We’ve talked briefly in the past about how the trend of industry disruptors has extended to the Real Estate world as well, and as we are now firmly into 2019 we are seeing yet another example of it again. Indeed, the ways the real estate business has been for many decades have changed very drastically over the course of just the last one, and as you might expect these changes have been very primarily fuelled by advances in digital technology.

As a realtor, one of the things that you must do is accept the reality of the situation. That reality is that these advances make it more of a challenge for you to work as a realtor exclusively in traditional means and approaches and still have the type of success that you envision for yourself. You definitely need to adapt, and revise your strategies and skillsets offered because, as we’ll discuss here today, there are new disruptors arriving in Real Estate all the time and that’s not likely to change.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is one major advantage for realtors that relies on the same trend where advances in digital technology are coming fast and furious. It leverages the power of the internet to provide real buyer and seller leads based on prospective buyers and sellers filling out forms online. There’s more to it than that, but long story short what you can know is that our service is one digital technology advancement that you can – and should – see very favourably.

Redfin Arrives in Canada in March

Now Redfin, like PurpleBricks before it, is yet another entry into the real estate business that most realtors will have difficulty seeing favourably. That’s because it markets itself as a more affordable way for people to buy and sell homes, and there’s no getting around the fact that services like Redfin and PurpleBricks eliminate a lot of the need for what you’re able to provide as a realtor. Not ALL of it, but a good portion of it.

We’ll say briefly that these types of websites and their services certainly won’t eliminate the need for realtors, but it is changing the playing field for sure. Let’s have a look at this.

Redfin is based in Seattle and will open in Toronto and Vancouver by March. It has plans to expand to other major Canadian markets once well-established in Canada’s 2 largest urban metro centres.

Redfin is a technology-powered brokerage that will have its own agents working in their offices while delivering much of the same services that you do as a realtor. You do it in person, they do it remotely via the Internet. That’s the start of what you need to understand about Redfin.

Redfin was built on the understanding that nowadays so many consumers start their search online. Being a technology-first brokerage helps them meet customers at a lower cost, and obviously that’s a HUGE benefit for the prospective home buyer or seller. Having services provided online means a streamlining of many of the processes that would require some back-and-forth, and time delays, when these customers are working person-to-person with a real estate agent.

Since 2006, Redfin has established its presence in more than 85 markets in the USA, and now Redfin’s website and mobile apps will show all homes for sale through the local MLS in Toronto and Vancouver. It will also put sold prices in those markets on display, whereas previously clients requested that information from their realtor and then waited for him or her to get back to them with it.

Canadian Market Plans

Redfin’s aim is to eventually offer services in other major Canadian cities, but that will obviously take time. For those of you working in the GTA or GVA, however, this powerful competitor is arriving soon and is expected to take root quite quickly. You still have the ability to prospect clients in traditional ways, and many people will still prefer the in-person service and human interaction / trust part of working with a local real estate agent.

That said, all realtors are going to lose prospective clients to these types of services with Redfin and PurpleBricks. That’s the just the way it is. You may need to rethink and reorient your service and promotion platforms and how you present yourself to clients, and it may be something you need help with. If so, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board with a real estate business consultant expert.

Take note of the fact that salespeople working for Redfin will be employees of the company – not independent contractors – and will be paid bonuses based in part on customer satisfaction. The number of agents in individual Canadian offices would be a reflection of how busy those offices become.

Agents won’t be recruited in the way a conventional real estate brokerage does, rather customers will be recruited and then agents will be brought in based on the level of increased demand.

Redfin will charge home sellers a 1% listing fee, and the remote agents will provide complete home-selling services, including pricing and staging advice, free professional photography, a 3D walkthrough of the home, open houses, yard signs and nicely designed and put together marketing materials.

That’s right – a lot of what a realtor did him or herself in person for decades. Times change, and you need to change with them.

Big Potential Savings a Necessity for Many Now

Redfin has provided estimates on what they’re able to offer in the way of savings; for example, a seller in Toronto will save $11,250 on a $750,000 home sale when compared to paying a listing commission of 2.5%. The listing fee does not include a buyer’s agent commission, but that’s paid by the seller here with Redfin.

The appeal of services like Redfin are furthered by the reality that nowadays it’s harder to get a loan. Foreign investment has driven prices up, and there’s ever-greater numbers of people who need every last dollar possible put towards the house. In such a scenario, the cost savings made possible with services like these are obviously going to appeal to a lot of people.

Lastly the Redfin model rewards customer service, so agents are accountable to deliver the best outcome for their clients. Customers are asked to review the service they received from their Redfin agent, whether they buy or sell a home or not. The reviews will then be published on the agent’s online profile, and agent bonuses will then be based on these reviews – among other factors.

The New Realities

These ‘disruptors’ aren’t going to stop arriving any time soon, and they’re being seen in all sorts of different businesses and industries that have been the same way for decades up until now. It’s a trend that’s here to stay, and overall it’s a good one as it puts more clout back in the hands of the consumer and we ALL benefit from that – yourself included.

As a realtor, you’re going to have to adapt and, as mentioned, revisit all of your business promotion and marketing approaches to ensure you continue to have the same flow of business you’ve become accustomed to. If you’re starting out, you may be at an advantage as this ‘new reality’ will be the only reality you’ve ever known.

Experienced or new to the business, all realtors should sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated leads delivered to them exclusively for their similarly-exclusively served region of any city or town in Canada. Once you have it, it’s yours and yours alone and only you will receive the buyer and / or seller leads for it. Most realtors who’ve already jumped on the opportunity now see it as marketing budget well spent, and we’re sure you’ll find it to be the same.