Redfin Comes to Phoenix. Thompson’s Realty Plays Small Part

redfin-logo Redfin, the sometimes maligned and often misunderstood real estate brokerage with roots in Seattle announced today an expansion into the Phoenix real estate market.

They will have some of their own agents, and they will have “partners” that will service Redfin clients in certain parts of the Valley on a referral basis

In a move that may surprise some (though it really shouldn’t) Francy and I decided early in the process to work alongside Redfin in Phoenix, along with Thompson’s Realty agent Shar Rundio.

I have frequently mentioned here (as recently as yesterday) and elsewhere that there are too many real estate brokerages that hire “anyone with a license or a pulse”.

Trust me, Redfin does not subscribe to this seriously flawed model.

The vetting process to become a Redfin referral partner was not insignificant. Former clients were surveyed by Redfin, and those client reviews are posted publicly on the Redfin site for all to see. There were phone and in-person interviews to be done, and training webinars to attend.

Future Redfin clients we work with will also be surveyed, and posted for all to see.

Why would we go through this?

One, we’ve got nothing to hide. I *like* the idea of client reviews. I’m pondering at this moment the best way to implement something similar with all of our clients.

Two, while I haven’t always agreed with Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman’s business model (in the beginning. It has morphed significantly since then), one simply can not argue with his commitment to customer service. I’ve met Glenn in person, and he is one smart guy. I can assure you his commitment to the client is all-encompassing and sincere. And that’s exactly how Thompson’s Realty thinks it should be.

We’re completely confident we can give Redfin referral clients the same service we give our own clients. Working with Redfin DOES NOT EVEN REMOTELY mean that Thompson’s Realty clients will take a back seat. On the contrary, we think we can parlay what we learn working with Redfin into even better service for Thompson’s Realty clients.

I’ve always felt there is not just room in the real estate space for different brokerage models, there is a need for different models. Redfin brings that to Phoenix, and we’re excited to be a small part of it.

Others opine on Redfin coming to Phoenix:

Greg Swann at Bloodhound

Matt Goyer (of Redfin) on ActiveRain

John Cook’s (Seattle) Venture Blog

Puget Sound Business Journal

PR Newswire (Press Release)


  1. Anonymous says

    Hm. Seems like I recall seeing an article here where you basically called Redfin worthless. Sounds like you need the extra business

  2. says

    Dear Anonymous –

    You're probably thinking of this post:

    In that post I said:

    If I were the average home buyer or seller, would I use Redfin? Absolutely not. I firmly believe in the four fundamental truths outlined above and I'm not going to purchase or sell the most valuable asset of my life without full representation.

    And at that time (May of 2007) that's how I felt.

    At this time, almost three years later, Redfin has significantly changed their model. Kelman's a smart guy. Their limited service, rebate 50% (or however much is was back then) model didn't work. So they changed.

    No, we don't need "the extra business". But any agent or brokerage worth a damn always looks at new revenue streams, different ways of doing business, and learning opportunities. And that's what this opportunity presents. It's really that simple.

  3. says

    My personal opinion and one I feel strongly about, is this is a great move and shows you have an open mind. I've admired Redfin from their beginning, and the changes they made since then. You are dead on when talking about customer satisfaction and their commitment to it. Good luck and I hope it works out for both of you.

    How do you anticipate you will play a role once they get established in your market and hire more of their own agents?
    .-= Tim McDonald´s last blog ..Lake County Tweetup-February Review-March Preview =-.

  4. says

    "How do you anticipate you will play a role once they get established in your market and hire more of their own agents?"

    That's a great question Tim…

    Right now, Redfin agents will only cover certain areas of the Phoenix metro area. And certain price-points. The Phoenix MLS covers an area literally the size of Massachusetts, so I don't think they'll ever hire enough agents to cover it all. And their model doesn't work well with lower-priced homes, of which there is an abundance in this market.

    But only time will tell. In theory, they could of course cover it all at some point. At which the partner relationship would end. But I don't anticipate that happening for quite some time, if ever.

  5. says

    Kudos to you and Francy, Jay. I’m sure the vetting process was no small feat.

    It will be interesting to see if Refin’s presence in the Phoenix market brings with it a greater push to raise the bar at other brokerages. Competition is good, as it often brings out the best in the participants while at the same time helps weed out the slackers.

    One things is for sure, the business of real estate is changing fast!
    .-= Gary Sattelberger´s last blog ..First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit ”“ April 30th deadline quickly approaching! =-.

  6. says

    The best thing about being in business for yourself is that you have the right do whatever you feel is best for your business. Kudos for being open minded and looking into different business models.

    That is what good leaders do and I consider you to be a great leader in our industry!

  7. says

    *Gasp* Jay Thompson, I can't believe you!!

    Seriously- congrats on having the cajones to do this…

    If you can't service a client, best to place with a brokerage/agent that promotes your ideals of client service and screens their agents apropos…

  8. T.L. Patton says

    How can it hurt your business? Well, if they're successful and you help them become successful, they can expand their business where they hire more agents. Suddenly you are competing against them and you must also kick back 50% of your commission to try to chase those commission dollars. However, the money they're refunding is bottomless-pit venture capital and the money you have to refund are actual dollars that will come out of your pocket.

    Their ultimate goal is to disrupt and destroy traditional, full service real estate sales, and your partnership aids them in this goal.

  9. says

    Jay, I was the first Redfin partner agent in New York. It has worked out just fine. And they have indeed evolved. That doesn't mean we always see eye to eye, but it does mean they are willing to adapt.

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