I had decided on a moratorium on Redfin news for awhile, but with their blogging, interviewing, press-releasing and general stirring up of the real estate dust last week, they’re hard to ignore.
With their venture capital dwindling and real estate commissions drying up, they’ve taken to a late-night-TV hawker mentality (But, wait, there’s more!) by offering special deals and twofers in hopes of attracting the last few home buyers before the holiday lull really sets in.
In a play borrowed from cereal manufacturer and candy bar makers who routinely make the packaging smaller while raising their prices, Redfin has begun to increase their services to where they should have been all along, while lowering the amount of their rebate.
Tim and his fellow minions have killed several years now in writing Seattle Bubble, a blog devoted to documenting the rise and fall of real estate in Seattle and around the country. The blog is equal parts post and comment and the many threads boil down to
1. Real estate is overpriced
2. Only an idiot would buy or own a house.
So, it’s a curious and puzzling partnership. Why would a real estate business hire a writer/representative who doesn’t believe in owning real estate? If Redfin cross-links with Seattle Bubble, which they have and will, what kind of “buyers” are they hoping to attract? You can waste a lot of time spinning wheels writing low-ball offers from cheap bottom-feeders who are only testing the market. And readers of these bubble blogs tend to be frightened of home ownership anyway, so I imagine they’re not highly motivated home buyers.
And on the coat-tails of Redfin’s announcement, I get a press release from findwell, another discount broker, challenging Redfin and offering defecting Redfin clients an additional $500 rebate if they use findwell’s services instead.
And now another Redfin pretender out of Boston, House Savvy is here. They’re offering zero-cost listings to sellers in the Boston area and plan to make money just in sales. Didn’t Foxton’s try that? And Iggy’s House?
I’d add a link, but they’ve both since gone out of business.