Below is a good interview with Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman this week on Bloomberg. In markets like San Francisco, homes are selling so fast that they’re gone within a couple hours. This interview discusses this dynamic and how Redfin is enabling buyers to be able to capitalize on this with their mobile apps. I can say that he’s right when it comes to Redfin’s apps. Whenever a client is writing an offer in a region I don’t have MLS access for, I look up the listing on Redfin. They tend to have more data presented more clearly per property than some of their online competitors.
That said, it’s worth noting that Redfin is a real estate brokerage, not a pure media/technology company like Zillow and Trulia. They have realtors that represent buyers and sellers. It’s just that they have an extremely strong technology emphasis.
Perhaps the most notable thing Kelman said (toward end of interview) is that mobile is forever changing the real estate market. He said that fulfilling buyer demand quickly is the future of real estate, and that buyers in bidding wars don’t necessarily care who they work with, they care which realtor can help them at that moment. He was implying that mobile apps can help buyers do that more quickly.
I agree that buyer loyalty to realtors and lenders is a lot less than what it used to be because of technology. If lenders and realtors don’t have speed (and if lenders don’t have price price), they’re going to lose clients to competitors who do.
It’s also worth noting that lender speed is mostly based on detailed mortgage pre-approval work that’s done before a buyer ever even makes an offer on a home. As for realtors, I’ve definitely seen the ‘Redfin effect’ on realtor behavior over the past few years. It’s caused realtors at more traditional brokerages to move faster and reply faster to their clients even if the technologies at their own companies aren’t at the same level.