Today Redfin announced that they will offer a higher level of buyers service called Redfin Select to a limited number of clients, and for those clients they will be reducing the commission rebate offered.
I hate to see Redfin move their business model away from the edge. The edge is cool, daring, and exciting. They sought to revolution the real estate industry. Their first vision had panache; "no buyers agents", schedule your own showings, drive yourself, and because you are not using a buyer's agent you save a bunch of money.
Redfin Launches Industry's First Online Home-Buying Service: February 6th 2006
"Unlike traditional agents, Redfin Direct agents do not offer private home tours, or advice on which property to buy. To see properties, Redfin Direct customers visit open houses, or for a private tour, contact the listing agent or the seller."
Then they started to offer tours...
Redfin Launches Free Home Tours and Pre-Inspections: October 3rd 2006
"The first home tour with a Redfin agent, up to three hours per household, is free. Future tours are $125 per home or $250 for a three-hour tour."
Then they offered more tours...
Redfin Offers Home Buyers More Property Tours: January 31st 2007
"The first two tours would be free, and the third and fourth tours would cost $250 at closing, with any subsequent tours costing $250 in advance... Redfin exhaustively surveys every client who attempts to use our service, and the most common request has been more home tours"
"With Select, we take you on tour twice a week, every week, until you find a home. When you do, we give you a 50% commission refund, which is usually worth $7,500 on a $500,000 home."
I guess at this point I wonder if Redfin is still a game changer or are they just carving out a niche as an efficiently managed real estate brokerage? Was today's quiet announcement Redfin's way of waving the white flag on being the Expedia of real estate?