February 06, 2006
Redfin Launches Industry's First Online Home-Buying Service

SEATTLE - Feb. 6, 2006:
Online real estate broker Redfin today launched Redfin Direct, a home-buying program for saving consumers thousands off the price of a home. For Seattle-area home buyers ready to make an offer, the program combines online service with agent telephone support to prepare a standard offer, negotiate terms and coordinate closing. The program has processed several offers, with one acceptance already.

By using Redfin's site to do the house-hunting legwork on their own, Redfin Direct customers earn two-thirds of the buyer's agent commission for themselves, applied at closing. For a typical $400,000 listing, the discount would be $8,000 or 2% of the home price. "Two percent can spell the difference between winning and losing the house you want," said Marcus Smith, Redfin's senior broker and vice president of real estate operations. "You can direct the money you save to the seller to make your offer more competitive, or use it to afford a better home."

"Redfin Direct is fantastic," said Kevin Weed, one of Redfin Direct's first customers. "The online forms guided me through the process of making an offer, and Redfin's agents provided superb back-and-forth support to ensure that my offer met all the seller's requirements. The bottom line is that Redfin's commission refund and pricing data made me much more competitive as a buyer."

According to a Redfin survey, 58% of registered Redfin users are 'very interested' in an online service for making an offer. Another survey found that the stages of the home-buying experience where consumers felt that they needed the most support were in areas supported by Redfin Direct: generating a legal and accurate offer, negotiating final terms and contingencies, and presenting the offer in a credible way to the seller.

Unlike traditional agents, Redfin Direct agents do not offer private home tours, or advice on which property to buy. To see properties, Redfin Direct customers visit open houses, or for a private tour, contact the listing agent or the seller. For those who need help finding and touring homes to buy, Redfin is continuing to connect its customers with a free partner agent, in a program now known as Redfin Connect. Redfin Direct is not available to consumers working with a Redfin Connect partner agent.

"Redfin has been committed from the start to empowering consumers with information previously limited to agents," Redfin founder David Eraker said. "For example, we combine tax records with listings to let consumers see the price histories and assessed value of properties on the market. Now we are putting the home buyer completely in charge, with an online service for making an offer. Over time, we believe that technology can give real estate consumers better information, more choices, and lower transaction costs."