Redfin Expands to Atlanta, Organizes Agents Into Local Teams
SEATTLE, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ — Online real estate broker Redfin today expanded to Georgia, organized its real estate agents into local teams to give customers a high level of personal service, and began alerting customers by email when a listing sells in their neighborhoods.
Atlanta is the company’s tenth market overall, and third new market this year. Redfin brings to Atlanta its trademark combination of customer service, candor and value. Redfin draws customers to its website by publishing data that most other Atlanta sites lack, such as when a property was originally listed and at what prices. Customers can search Atlanta’s entire metropolitan area, which is enormous: the new market increases the number of listings on Redfin by 30%.
Visitors to Redfin.com can use Redfin’s online tools to ask an agent for service: answering questions, arranging home tours, preparing offers and listing homes. In Alpharetta, Buckhead, East Cobb, Intown, Perimeter, Suwanee and Woodstock areas, Redfin employs its own agents, paying salary, benefits and a customer-satisfaction bonus rather than commissions.
All of the agents’ customers come via Redfin’s site, not through sales prospecting, allowing Redfin to focus exclusively on delivering industry-leading customer satisfaction. To measure customer satisfaction, the company surveys every agent’s customers, deal or no deal. Redfin then publishes the survey responses on the agent’s online profile, giving customers unprecedented information about that agent’s past performance.
Customers who buy a home through Redfin then get half the commission refunded at closing, typically worth $7,500 on a $500,000 home. In West Cobb, Gwinnett, Peachtree City and Lake Lanier areas, where Redfin does not employ its own agents, Redfin works with partner agents who agree to provide Redfin’s level of service and transparency. The refund from partner agents is 15% of the commission, worth $2,250 on the same $500,000 home.
“Redfin’s arrival in Atlanta is a huge win for consumers, who get more information about both properties and real estate agents, and new ways to use the Internet to get better customer service,” said James Marks, Redfin’s Atlanta market manager. James was a local Atlanta broker for six years prior to joining Redfin, and the vice president of operations for Technology General Contractors before that.
With the Atlanta launch, Redfin is also organizing its real estate agents nationwide into local teams consisting of an agent, a coordinator and several field agents. The agent is responsible for the customer’s success from start to finish, offering advice, negotiating offers and managing the team.
The coordinator assists the agent with tour scheduling and closing paperwork, while the field agent ensures customers can get into homes all over town on short notice. For continuity of care, Redfin pairs each agent with another Redfin agent so the two can support one another on days off. To staff all the teams, Redfin nearly doubled the number of employees in its customer-service organization over the past three months.
“This model gives each client the accountability of one throat to choke, the intimacy of a small team who knows the customer by name, while still offering more resources every day of the week than any one agent can deliver on his own,” said Scott Nagel, Redfin vice president of real estate operations. Redfin’s website and telephone system now automatically route telephone calls and online service requests to Redfin team-members, so customers get fast service from the right person.
With this upgrade to the website, Redfin now also alerts users by email when a property in their neighborhood sells, including photos, property details and the price. To get the alerts, users run a search on Redfin, then click the link in the top-left corner of the screen entitled “Email me New Listings.” The alert now not only includes any new listings but also records of any sales that just occurred, limited by the same search parameters. Users can now also adjust what type of data they see in alerts, requesting only listings or past sales, or any changes in the status of a home within their search parameters.
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the real estate industry’s first online brokerage, combining a customer-focused team of real estate agents with online tools for making the process of buying or selling a home easy. Redfin is the only major search site to feature listings direct from broker databases as well as for-sale-by-owner and foreclosure properties from across the Internet. The company pays its agents customer-satisfaction bonuses, not commissions, and surveys every client, publishing each survey as well as details on the agent’s negotiating performance and deal history. Redfin’s service is available in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Washington DC, Baltimore, New York’s Long Island and Westchester County as well as most of California, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California and Sacramento. To keep track of our daring exploits, subscribe to blog.redfin.com or our Twitter feed @redfin.