Benevolent-Transparency-Bringers? I don't think so!

By
Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

Well, now that the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled from the "shot heard round the real estate world", as Redfin announced that they are now publishing the sales statistics of every agent in the marketplaces they serve in a format called a Scouting Report.

You can go on Redfins' website and view the Scouting Report without even the need to register on their site.  So they're not even cloaking this one in "they're our clients" camouflage as they did when they allowed their agents to "review" other agents and agencies listings.

It's a controversial move, to say the least.  Our local MLS does not allow us, as agents or agencies, to take the information that they've compiled and publish it elsewhere.  That's part of our rules.  And yet, somehow Redfin has been allowed to do exactly that with their "Scouting Reports"

As you can see from the graphic above, Redfin knew it would "ruffle some feathers"... in fact I'm sure that was part of the reason they did it.  Any PR is good PR. They know that the public will perceive this move as a step toward "transparency", and that balking and complaining about it will make more Realtors and agencies appear as though we're trying to hide the information.

In reality, Redfin, in this very clever move, is making all who complain look bad, and the rest look bad by inaccurate statistic.  I'm a fan of transparency.  I want the public to know how real estate transactions work, how we make our money, where it comes from and where it goes.  But I want that information to be accurate, and I want it to be controlled by an independent third party, not by my direct competitors in the market, who can "whoops" accidentally manipulate that information.  Already we're finding that non-redfin agents average "days on market" have been in error by several hundreds of percents.

Their data reporting doesn't seem to account for teams, doesn't seem to account for changing agencies, and takes Redfin agents (who use a rebate business model, and to make up for the "discounting" crank out more transactions per handful of agents who serve the area) and makes their numbers look far better than the average agents in the area.

Sorry... for me that seems like unfair manipulation of the data, and is designed to delude the public... not to create transparency.  Note the last line in Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman's corporate blog that states the plan for this release of data is to: "help you make a better choice about which agent to hire, and hopefully that choice is more often to hire a Redfin agent."

Well, at least THAT's accurate!  Since we now understand their motivation... should we still be accepting them as the benevolent-transparency-bringers??  i don't think so.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois

   

Comments (109)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Agreed.

Oct 03, 2011 07:25 AM
Roger Johnson
Hickory Real Estate Group - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

Redfin is not in this area so I've never had to deal with their tactics directly.  That said, my statement on data remains firm:  Any time data is provided it's important to know WHERE it can from and WHY it is being presented.  Know the answers to both of those, and the sensible person can usually figure out if the data is accurate or not.

Oct 03, 2011 08:38 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Lenn - I love it when a good-looking-woman agrees with me!

Roger - unfortunately, not all consumers can be counted upon to be 'sensible' about where the data is coming from, and why.

Oct 03, 2011 09:24 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

HA!!  Fact is, I'm a sucker for a man with a beard.  The only thing better is a nekid man with a beard.

Oct 03, 2011 11:06 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

whooooaaaa [ladies and gentlemen, we'll need to see your identification and membership cards, in order to make the balance of this blog post available for your viewing pleasure]

 

restricted access...         restricted access...         restricted access...

Oct 03, 2011 11:08 AM
Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

Oh Dear God, do the challenges ever stop?  Wait, I know the answer to that question.  There is so much misinformation already and now more misinformation which just manipulates the public unfairly.  It just sucks!

Oct 03, 2011 12:12 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Beverly - you're right.. they never stop.

Oct 03, 2011 02:02 PM
Michael Singh,Broker
Singh Real Estate - Corral de Tierra, CA

Who pissed off Redfin?

Oct 03, 2011 07:04 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Michael - they're not pissed-off.  They're just exercising a very clever, albeit invasive, method of marketing.

Oct 04, 2011 01:26 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I hope they get sued.  I checked mine and there was nothing accurate about it.  They are manipulative liars just like with their bait and switch adverteasing.

Oct 04, 2011 07:18 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Gene - I doubt that'll happen.

Oct 04, 2011 07:28 AM
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Redfin has taken down the Scouting Report:

Redfin Takes Down Scouting Report

Oct 04, 2011 12:08 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Pat & Wayne - huzanga!

Oct 04, 2011 01:38 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Would that all our MLS providers would be more careful about what they allow to be shown, as are Palm Springs, the Bay area's wine country and Atlanta.

"where our data providers are more careful about what they can show"

 

Sharon

Oct 04, 2011 04:35 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Sharon - every MLS should be very careful about what they display.  And we, as Realtors, need to be vigilant and let them know when we see an error, so that it can be corrected.

Oct 05, 2011 02:38 AM
Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX of Barrington - Barrington, IL
Making Today's Dreams Tomorrow's Reality!

Alan, thanks for getting the word out ... adding the needed clarity to Redfin's supposed "transparency".  I just reblogged this!  Great post!

Oct 08, 2011 06:40 AM
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Alan - you are so right about PR. Until that happened, I didnot know about Redfin. And how many people commented that they did not about Redfin, but...

So, for Redfin it was the phenomenal PR

Oct 08, 2011 06:44 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Allyson - thanks for the reblog.

Jon - and I think that was largely their plan.

Oct 08, 2011 08:16 AM
Jayson Holland
Listings.com - Denver, CO
Jay Holland

I have seen a lot of real estate business models come and go in the Denver market, most recently, assist-2-sell, help-u-sell, etc. Here today gone tomorrow. Redfin is not here yet so I dont know anything about it. Why do they call it redfin? Are they sharks in the water and the water is bloody making their fins red? whats up with the name?

Oct 20, 2011 11:32 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

Jayson - I don't know what the origination of the name is.  But I also don't think they're a flash-in-the-pan.

Oct 20, 2011 12:34 PM

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