I was asked about the fee for service company on a board where I post. I thought I would share my answer in my blog.
I posted the following:
This is from their website:
We are primarily an online service, so we are not for everyone. In competitive situations, we present offers in person, and visit the property for inspections and appraisals, but otherwise our agents work from our offices. Contractors typically access the property during an inspection or after closing. We meet with clients in our offices, but primarily work with you via e-mail, facsimile and telephone.”
I think the statement sums up the differences. Traditional Realtors may not be for everyone. If you are comfortable viewing homes on your own and if you have full confidence that you could spot potential trouble on your own and you are aware of the areas in which you are visiting homes, Redfin may be for you. There is room for many different types of real estate services in any market.
It is a fact, that most listings are available through many different search engines. The sources of information have grown from just the MLS to hundreds of websites, craigs list and many for sale by owner sites. Home buying information has gone from the closely guarded MLS of the past to an abundance of information available to all.
There always will be consumers that prefer to have professional help sorting the “chafe from the grain”. One must always be mindful that although there are disclosures that are usually provided by sellers to buyers, “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) is a basic principal governing all sales.
I understand the dynamics that gave birth to the “Redfin’s” of the world. The exponential growth of the internet and the tendency to attempt to use it in as many ways as possible in our daily lives, has led to new frontiers and forays into potential markets. It may be quicker. It may seem less expensive. The jury will remain out on those facts for some time to come.
I still believe that having a trusted advisor assist you in the purchase of a home is the best way to go. Although on the surface it may appear financially overwhelming, I prefer not to think of it as the largest investment that you will make. It is your home. It is your family’s home. I like to think that most folks will realize that their welfare and the welfare of those they love are best protected by a professional that assists them every step of the way. This assistance should be up close and personal and face to face. Information shared should be the result of actually viewing property and not from pictures posted on line.
The internet and internet based firms are wonderful for information gathering. Actual decisions are best made when they are informed decisions. So there is room for the “Redfins” of the world. As a buyer, you should not have to pay any of the commission offered anyway. Your perceived savings may end up costing you a great deal more in loss of peace of mind or worse.