One of the challenges of being a Realtor is that your personal plans are often waylaid by the needs of your client. Case in point — I was really looking forward to attending last nights MIT Forum about the future of real estate technology, but my evening was prioritized by the needs of a client. Ah well…such is the nature of the business. Justin has laid out his comments over on Rain City Guide and I’m looking forward to hearing what Ardell and some of the others have to say.
One interesting question Justin raises is the business model of Redfin — they tell the client to make the listing agent do the work of showing you the home than come back to us and we will write the deal for a discount — will listing agents start refusing to show the home to Redfin’s clients? Or to take it a next step, will a listing agent sue Redfin for the commission based on procuring cause.
I only have a take on the first question for now. I think Redfin’s model is awful, not because of discounts and the competition for lowering commissions, but because they leave the buyer with limited to no representation. Their agents do not look at the home that is being purchased and I’m not certain if they do anything except review your contract paper work. I’m just waiting to see which lawyers are going to start pouncing all over them with the class action lawsuits for inadequate representation.
For my part, I would not refuse to show a Redfin client one of my listing. I may not like their model, but my responsibility is to represent the best interest of my client. So if there is a ready and willing buyer, yes I will show them the home.
Interesting side note: I was working with my client (a buyer) until 9:30PM last night and missed the forum dinner for which I had already paid. Redfin’s hours are 6AM – 6PM (they don’t indicate a time zone though they are here in Pacific Time zone). I don’t know any reputable agents whose availability to their clients ends at 6 o’clock.