Apparently so, from this ad posted on Craigslist. Why not just re-hire the people they let go? Is it so they wouldn’t have to pay health insurance?
With all their technology, heat maps, search functions, blogs, forums, statistics, pie charts and graphs, Redfin should have just entered the market with a traditional pricing structure and no rebates. They could then have the best agents with no labor costs, as those agents could be very successful. Redfin would be happy, agents would be happy, clients would be happy, and I’d be hanging my hat at Redfin.
With their technology and marketing skills, they’re already offering something better than the average brokerage, they don’t have to give a discount on top of that. They could charge the actual costs of their services instead of giving so much away (like their profits) and combine the best of today’s technology with the high-touch techniques of traditional agents. They would be an awesome force in the real estate business.
Instead, what they’ve done is challenge the rest of the real estate establishment to meet them technologically, and many have stepped up to the plate with their own new innovations. I have a new interactive map on my website that has a following function, so that it appears that every listing is MY listing. My firm is also offering agent and home videos online and a home-planning service that emails buyers new listings that fit their criteria as soon as they hit the market. We even allow buyers to review and submit offers online, if that’s what they want to do. Though we’ve been online before Redfin was even “born”, real estate brokerages might not have made the move from static searches to map searches. I still find them slow and buggy, but for some folks who aren’t as familiar with the neighborhoods, they may find the maps preferable.
Maybe now’s the time for Redfin to sell their technology to another firm who can actually make money with the concept. It’s just so brilliant, what with the blogs, the forums, the meet-ups, the FAQ’s, the outreach to Amazon, Microsoft and Google employees.
Thanks for all the ideas, guys.
(NOTE: The original job listing was removed, but a new ad for Contract Agent for Redfin was posted on October 22nd.)