On my personal finance blog, I shared my friend’s pleasant and frugal experience buying a house through Redfin. In that post, I mentioned that even if you weren’t comfortable with the more DIY experience (and not comfortable enough that splitting the buyer’s agent commission didn’t make you more comfortable), you could at least leverage their wonderful home search capabilities in your own hunt.

We aren’t in home buying mode, we probably won’t be for a little while, but with mortgage rates at historic lows, even if not absolute lows, and the housing market soft in our area, we’re always keeping our eyes open. So we both have

Here are a few things that Redfin does that I don’t know why others don’t:

  • Leverage Google maps. If you go on almost any other real estate company site to look for a home, you get little more than the MLS results. There is a map but oftentimes it’s to a crappy Mapquest map (who still uses Mapquest?). Redfin gives you an integrated map on the page with an outline, in red, of the property and its neighbors. In an instant you know where it is and what it is. The real question is why doesn’t anyone else do this?
  • Ability to save favorites and get updates. You usually can’t even register on another website so saving favorites is a moot point (so is sending updates). I think part of this is because they assume an agent will do this for you so they have little incentive for you to register and mark your own favorites. I’m waiting for the day that you get to mark down what you like (or they tease it out from your searches and your marked favorites) and Redfin tells you when new properties fitting that description are entered into MLS.
  • Keeps limited historical data on past sales. Here’s a house I marked as a favorite when I was first played with the system (it was put on the market in late 2009 and just recently delisted). Thank you for keeping some of the data around, even if they are from public records.
  • Posting a listing history & other important information. Go to any live, or historical, listing and you will see data pulled from sources other than MLS. I like the property history underneath the map. That’s useful information and thank you for not forcing me to go to the Maryland Real Property tax search (or your equivalent in your home state) to find out what it sold for last time around.

There are about a million other things I like about Redfin and I have yet to find a reason why I’d go to a real estate company’s website over their.

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2 Responses to “Why I’ll search for my next house using Redfin.”

  1. Ben Says:

    Wow, I’d never heard of Redfin but after checking out their site, I’ll definitely consider them when we buy our next house. Thanks for pointing them out!

  2. Ryan Says:

    Definitely worth checking out. My wife and I may be moving in the near future (meeting with a real estate agent today about listing our home). Buying and/or selling a house is an interesting process.

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