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Redfin Launches Online Real Estate Service in Chicago

June 26, 2008

CHICAGO, June 26 /PRNewswire/ — Online real estate broker Redfin Corporation today launched its real estate e-commerce service for the Chicago area, its eighth market overall and first new market in 2008. Redfin’s brokerage, headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., now serves Cook and Lake counties, but users can search for listings throughout greater Chicago. The company also expanded its real estate search to reach most of California, Illinois, Maryland, northern Virginia, Massachusetts and western Washington, increasing the number of listings and sale records on its site by more than four million, or almost 40 percent, to a total of 16 million homes.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070426/SFTH054LOGO)

“After the steepest decline in real estate prices nationwide since World War II, Redfin is perhaps the only brokerage expanding into new markets,” said Mark Reitman, Redfin’s Chicago market manager. “We are continuing to grow because we have seen that a hard-nosed, data-driven approach to home-buying appeals to consumers now more than ever. And Chicago is the ideal market: it is the most-requested new market for Redfin and it’s bursting with progressive professionals, the kind of people who have embraced Redfin from the start.”

To buy homes through Redfin, clients use Redfin.com to search homes for sale and describe offer terms, then work with Redfin’s Chicago real estate agents to access properties and negotiate transactions. Buyers who use Redfin get two-thirds of the commission refunded at closing; for a $600,000 house offering a 2.5 percent commission to the buyer’s agent, the refund would be $10,000. Redfin also offers a service for homesellers for a flat fee of $4,000. For a $600,000 house that would normally pay a seller’s agent commission of 2.5 percent, the savings would be $11,000.

Unlike any other brokerage, Redfin pays its agents based on customer satisfaction, not commissions, and offers a 100-percent-customer-satisfaction guarantee, refunding all commissions and fees if the customer is dissatisfied. Redfin also is the only online brokerage to combine foreclosure and for-sale-by-owner listings with broker-listed properties from local Multiple Listing Services (MLS). In the markets that Redfin serves, Redfin.com displays more homes for sale and more information about those homes than any other website.

Expanded Search Capabilities

Redfin.com users now can search for listings and past-sales records in nearly 100 additional counties in the states we currently serve — California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Washington as well as the Washington, D.C. corridor of West Virginia. Redfin does not offer brokerage service in these areas, but homebuyers can view the complete MLS listing plus days-on-market, price drops, lot outlines and nearby similar listings. Homebuyers also can search sale records of homes sold between one week and 20 years ago to get information such as past sales prices and tax records. Expanded search counties include:

   -- California: Monterey, San Benito, Santa Barbara   -- Illinois: DuPage, Will, Winnebago   -- Massachusetts: Plymouth, Springfield, Worcester   -- Maryland: Carroll, Hartford, Frederick   -- Virginia: Caroline, Fauquier, Spotsylvania   -- Washington: Grant, Thurston, Whatcom   -- West Virginia: Berkeley, Hampshire, Jefferson    

Also new today, Redfin.com homebuyers can use Google Maps Street View to get a 360-degree, dynamic perspective on a home and its neighborhood.

“The expansion of Redfin real estate search to areas beyond the reach of our brokerage service was driven by a fundamental shift in how clients come to us,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “At first, many consumers came to Redfin because of the novelty of our business model, but today about a third of our clients first hear about Redfin from people who fall in love with the search site, which has seen 15 to 20 percent month-over-month traffic growth in 2008. Because we offer more data about each listing and more listings in each market than any other national site, we believe we can successfully develop a broader brand, and that this will drive word-of-mouth for our brokerage business in the core urban areas.”

Dish and Dig on Chicago Neighborhoods

Now Chicago customers can join Redfin’s Chicago Forum, a local real estate message board designed to let consumers communicate with one another. Redfin is the only brokerage to offer an open forum for customers to comment on its service. Available at http://forums.redfin.com/rf/board?board.id=Chicago.

Redfin also launched its online real estate blog, “Sweet Digs,” for Chicago. Homebuyers can read daily, local real estate market information via the Sweet Digs blog, email newsletter or RSS feed. At launch, Sweet Digs will cover Andersonville, Bucktown, Evanston, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Uptown, Wicker Park, Wilmette, Winnetka and Wrigleyville. As Sweet Digs’ Chicago readership grows, Redfin will expand its coverage. Available at http://blog.redfin.com/chicago.

For a complete run-down of the new features in Redfin.com, check out our blog at blog.redfin.com.

About Redfin

Redfin (http://www.redfin.com/) is the real estate industry’s first online brokerage, currently available in the Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco Bay, Seattle and Washington, D.C areas. Redfin combines the best real estate search site with local, experienced real estate agents. Redfin.com’s map search displays the most homes for sale and information about those homes. Customers who use Redfin to buy or sell properties earn a refund of most of the commission traditionally due their broker, and get full support in paperwork, offer presentation, negotiations and closing. Redfin has the highest customer satisfaction rate in the industry — 96 percent, and is the only brokerage with a 100-percent-customer-satisfaction guarantee. To give the Redfin service a try, visit http://www.redfin.com/; to keep track of our daring exploits visit our blog at blog.redfin.com, or our customer message boards at forums.redfin.com.

Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070426/SFTH054LOGOAP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

Redfin Corporation

CONTACT: Cynthia Pang of Redfin Corporation, +1-206-859-2834,cynthia.pang@redfin.com

Web site: http://www.redfin.com/




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