First Milestone in National Expansion, $8 Million Financing
SEATTLE - May. 31, 2006: Online real estate broker Redfin today launched its award-winning real estate site in the San Francisco Bay Area, and opened new offices in San Jose, San Francisco and the East Bay to provide local customer support. Redfin lets home-buyers buy homes online and get two thirds of the commission refunded at closing. Redfin is the first online brokerage to offer local service across the entire Bay Area.
Redfin's Bay Area launch inaugurates an ambitious national expansion strategy to open offices across the West Coast this summer and to reach East Coast markets by year's end. In conjunction with the launch, Redfin closed an $8 million series B financing led by Vulcan Capital. Beyond its support for California, the site launch also includes many important new features:
- Time-on-market queries, to identify new as well as distressed listings;
- Real-time map-driven price analytics for past sales and new listings;
- Picture-in-picture map navigation, for easily shifting to any area of the map;
- A new interface for improved ease-of-use;
- Customer testimonials, to explain how Redfin's brokerage service works.
California home-buyers can now visit this site to see new listings and past sales data on an aerial map and preview properties online that they later tour in person.
For consumers who can use the Internet to find their next home on their own, Redfin offers Redfin Direct, an online tool that guides home-buyers through the process of drafting and submitting an offer. A local Redfin Direct agent reviews and finalizes the offer, negotiates with the listing agent and coordinates closing, refunding two thirds of the buyer's agent commission.
"As more information is associated with location coordinates," Eraker continued, "Redfin's map can be the basis for incorporating all sorts of neighborhood context from both the Internet and listing databases: shifting education, income and crime demographics; average time on market; even neighborhood Web feeds."
The average Redfin customer gets a commission refund of $11,402. In preparation for high Bay Area demand, Redfin has hired only real estate agents who have completed 25 successful home sales or more.
Since launching its Redfin Direct service in Seattle last February, Redfin has become Seattle's most-trafficked real estate brokerage site, and processed over 40 pending or closed real estate transactions, with an aggregate value in excess of $15,000,000. Each month, the company surveys its customers, including those who won and lost in their offers to buy homes, and the results so far have been 100% satisfaction.
"No market is in greater need of an online real estate brokerage than the Bay Area," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. "Our typical customer is very similar to a typical Bay Area resident: Internet savvy, shopping for homes far more expensive than the national average, with the expectation of passionate customer service from offer to close. We believe Silicon Valley real estate consumers will go hog wild using Redfin."
The Bay Area launch brings Redfin to a market more than twice as populous, with homes that are nearly twice as expensive, as Redfin's original Seattle base. Redfin's site supports Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and most of Santa Clara counties, with search functionality scheduled to come to Marin County in June. Redfin's online forms support both standard California Association of Realtor forms and local variations such as San Mateo County's PRDS.
Customers interested in talking to a California agent can call 1-877-973-3346, or review the California Offer Wizard at www.redfin.com. Customers can also sign up for an online Web seminar that explains the whole process at Redfin.com/webinar.