RIP Redfin Scouting Report

Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

Redfin has laid their Scouting Report program to rest after less than a week. CEO Glenn Kelman posted a poignant announcement today on why he pulled the plug on the program, and among his statements, which I agree with, was the following: 

But I still think the folks most violently opposed to Scouting Report didn’t hate it because it was wrong but because it was right. 

I was not among those who was opposed to scouting reports philosophically. I just wanted reliable data. Because I belong to multiple MLS systems, my own report was incomplete, and this presented a problem for me. Of the 40+ deals that I brokered in the past 12 months, Redfin's report had only 2. I felt forced to post my own report just a day ago: Redfin Can't Get my Full Scouting Report Right. So I'll Give it to You Here.

Glenn Kelman's Tweet on Scouting ReportsWe can argue all we want about whether or not a broker has the right to publish the production of another brokerage's sales data. What we as licensees need to understand, and I have said this before, is that this was a long time coming, and it will not go away. With information technology progressing, consumers will soon know who did what where and when, and for how much. Why shouldn't they? It would certainly weed out the obfuscators who mislead consumers with false claims about their production, which, in my view, is a collosal problem today. 

Unfortunately, the program was poorly executed. No broker can expect an IDX feed meant for a consumer home search to tell them, for example, when an agent with both sides of a transaction was a dual agent, or that 120 days on market in one MLS is worse than 90 days on market in another, when one counts days under contract and one doesn't. Someone else is bound to pick up the ball. 

But at the end of the day, whoever does this has to get the data right, period. If you can't, don't do it. I learned a long time ago that the best thing a brokerage-any brokerage- can do is play its position. In 2007 I elected to never originate a loan again because the industry had changed too much for me to add value. And Redfin should stick to being a kickass home search site that gives consumers an option they didn't have before. 

If Redfin is truly the *answer" to the real estate industry they claim is broken, then their model will gain traction and grow organically. My company never grew because I antagonized the competition. It grew because I worked hard and did the right thing. Redfin will grow or not depending on how well they broker real estate. 

Comments (85)

Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

Michael J Perry #68 please see my comment on #64.  This is EXACTLY what they did for five days.  And it isn't just Redfin agents - it was ANY agent with a profile.  Hundreds of thousands of agents not affiliated with them.  Like me.

Oct 05, 2011 01:55 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Phil, the data wasn't there to accurately portray the facts. This episode did bring them a lot of publicity.

Oct 05, 2011 01:55 AM
Mark Welsh
Kirkland, WA

So bad that the truth hurts and is so hard to understand.  i feel bad for the agents that work in multiple areas and didt get accurate info, but the truth hurts.

Oct 05, 2011 02:08 AM
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Glad that pulled it so quickly.  While I agree the concept will be back, this first foray shows the major pitfalls.  Besides being inaccurate, the devil is in the details.  EVERY MLS handles data differently.  We get 100% credit for being one side of a $720k transaction side - if you are both sides - you still only get $720 credit (and the joy of getting a better check - but no additional credit according to our MLS).

The co-agent listing and sale is also something that is not going to be shown through this detail and more importantly the DUAL or Designated agency is not represented.  

For these reasons it will be harder to actually implement something close to FACTUAL and consistent for the consumer.

All the best, Michelle

Oct 05, 2011 02:45 AM
John Cannata
214-728-0449 - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

This report caused quite an uproar with agents. Glad to see they took it down.

Oct 05, 2011 03:39 AM
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Exactly right! And it's only a matter of time before someone gets the data compiled accurately and does it again. Perhaps Redfin should share the technology with NAR and let them do it?

Oct 05, 2011 03:47 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

If it's a case of inaccurate data that made them pull the plug, great.  If it's a case of agents with low production whining it was wrong, when it was really right, well....that's wrong.  I have no clue about the scouting reports for our area because our MLS didn't participate.

Oct 05, 2011 03:55 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Phillip, Thanks for a well thought out and presented post.  I sense that you may be shouting " up wind "  on this one and the premise to your beliefs is obscured by the emotions of the moment.  Rock on !

Oct 05, 2011 04:41 AM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

I agree with you the program was poorly executed. My MLS was covered and my data at first was incomplete and inaccurate, and not because it was reported inaccurately and incompletely in my MLS. After a complaint R**F**, it was fixed but still missing data and showed data for only last two years.

I'm glad R**F** chose to tank their reporting system, because I was ready to report the local R**F** broker for posting my listings on their website. One less thing for me to do this week.

Many of the blogs I've been reading outside of ActiveRain on this topic goes to show more instances of  "agent bashing". You know, the story that we're only in it for the money (yeah, I need to make a living like the rest of most Americans) and the insinuation we're all too stupid or too lazy to put in accurate data in our local MLS. I respect my local MLS and take inputting accurate data seriously. Our local MLS has rules about that. Maybe these bloggers are unaware because they're not members of NAR, but they sure seem to know alot about it, don't they?

IMO, brokers/agents that want to report the stats of their competitor broker/agents are the worst kind. I don't focus on my competitors, I focus on my business and what I can do to improve my service to my customers and clients. Maybe that's what R**F** should do.

R**F**'s CEOs comment that the reason agents hate the scouting report was not because it was wrong, but because it was right is an inept attempt of promoting they are better than their competitors. I think the public will see through that. How low will R**F** stoop is the next question.


Oct 05, 2011 04:44 AM
Patty Gable
Thomas Murphy & Associates - Orlando, FL

Great news for those in Redfin territory!  Great post!

Oct 05, 2011 05:41 AM
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

Damn! I just threw out all those post cards that advertised that I was Number 1, too.


Well, at least I still have my "best DAD ever" mug and "world's best Dad" t-shirt.

Oct 05, 2011 05:44 AM
StapletonHomeTeam KnopHomeTeam Distinctive Properties
Distinctive Properties - Denver, CO
For an UnReal Estate Experience call the Knop Home

I learned long ago. Since the real estate world is such a closed circle that bad talking other agents and entities within the business is not good business for me. Why an automated version of that didn't work is not surprising to me.

Damon Knop

Oct 05, 2011 06:23 AM
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Phil- thanks for letting everyone know. I am actually glad this happened and that some agents had their panties in a wad over it- I must agree with this statement: 

But I still think the folks most violently opposed to Scouting Report didn’t hate it because it was wrong but because it was right. 

'nuff said:) Katerina

Oct 05, 2011 06:31 AM
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

@comment #76- DITTO!!! I so agree with you! 

Oct 05, 2011 06:33 AM
Mike Russell
Mike Russell Real Estate Group - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Kansas Real Estate

Statistics, oh how I love statistics. Don't like the way they read, just change the data range. Baseball is famous for this. The stat may be that a certain player has hit 5 home runs in his last 12 at bats but may he may also only have 5 home runs all season. They just happen to be all in his last 12 at bats. You can do that with real estate statistic too. 

Really glad they canned this idea, having been a broker in Denver, I know that Metrolist keeps terrible records. Especially for the buyers agent side of the transaction.

Oct 05, 2011 07:33 AM
Aida Pinto
Independent Real Estate Broker - Los Angeles, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

EO Glenn Kelman posted a poignant announcement today on why he pulled the plug on the program, and among his statements...:

....But I still think the folks most violently opposed to Scouting Report didn’t hate it because it was wrong but because it was right."

If it was right then why did they pull it?  Just asking!

Oct 05, 2011 08:33 AM
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

OMG.  Stats are bad enough in sports, but in real estate they tell such a small part of the story as to be almost meaningless.  No names will be mentioned, but we probably all know agents who close many transactions, but are also guilty of horrible customer service.  Sorry, quality has to come first.  I count on my satisfied clients, not an inaccurate online reporting of stats to bring new business my way.

Oct 05, 2011 12:51 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years
In my opinion it was never about the report but about getting a lot of web traffic mentioning Redfin.
Oct 05, 2011 08:02 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

I'm actually glad they decided on a different course of action towards 'renovating real estate'. First, in my area, they really have to SELL SOMETHING FIRST to even be a player.  Seemed like the kid in the corner yelling about how everyone else gets to list & sell something & we don't - how can I fix this?  Posting others sales does what?  Nothing. In the end the mirror was turned on them & their lackluster sales activity which they should have focused on in the first place.

Oct 06, 2011 04:49 AM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

All numbers just polls can be manipulated by the one doing it. My customers only seem to care about one thing "can you sell mine" and with a day to day contract with no cancelllation fee they can stay or go.

Oct 11, 2011 01:50 PM