Tagged: Foxton’s

Real estate dreams – fact and fantasy

I was intrigued by the title “Big box broker lays off thousands, puts best producers on salary plus commission“. Who could it be, what company had done this? Reading the article, however, I realized it was just wishful thinking. No large brokerage has actually converted their commission-based agents to salary plus commission because it doesn’t make any sense.

If converting agents to employees or paying them a salary made financial sense, then brokerages would rush to convert all of their commission-based sales people into employees.

If it were possible to make money hiring agents and paying them a salary, then Foxton’s would still be in business.

If it made financial sense for real estate firms to have agents become employees, then Zip Realty wouldn’t have had to lay off all of their workers.

The argument made is that Redfin has agent employees, and they are “profitable”.

Do not believe Redfin’s press releases.

They may have, on occasion, made more money in a month than they spent, but they are still far from profitable.

Redfin is still $30M in the hole and the money they are refunding to their buyers is the money that they received from venture capitalists. The only hope they have to pay that back is to find a gullible buyer.

If this kind of business model made financial sense, there would be more imitators.

Redfin competitor?

The brokerage findwell, in a press release issued today, appears to be setting themselves up as a alternative to Redfin, refunding 50% of the commission to a home buyer.

In their press release, they claim $6.6 million in closed sales in the first quarter of operations, however, I’m finding only $5.4M in all of 2008.

Setting yourself up as a discount broker and then naming your competition seems like a bad idea.

From Notorious R.O.B (via 4realz.net/hotlist)

Offering items at a sale price is a very tempting tactic. In the short term, it drives traffic and sales. What you lose in margin is made up in volume. Problem solved, right?!

Bigger problem, created. What you’re really doing is eroding your long-term margins and your long-term sales. (This is especially true if you run a business based on quality and value versus being a low-price provider.)

According to their press release, they’re driving customers around in a “findwell MINI” – a green MINI Cooper marked with the findwell logo and printed with the phrase “Full Service. Mini Commissions.”

Didn’t Foxton’s US have Mini Cooper’s before they went bankrupt?

Foxton\'s Mini

Foxton’s UK has just called in the investment bank NM Rothschild to save it only a year after it was bought by the private-equity group BC Partners.

Findwell takes on Redfin in real estate