Seattle-based real estate brokerage Redfin says it’s begun posting the sales price of homes as soon as they are sold, along with photos and other details, and has updated its Web site to include similar information on every property sold in the past two years in the markets it serves — about 1.4 million properties.
Consumers outside of the Seattle and Washington, D.C., markets must be registered users to obtain that and other detailed information shared between brokers and once accessible only by real estate agents.
In a blog post, Redfin Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kelman promised "a staggering amount of detail on the property that just sold," including all the information the seller’s agent provided when listing the house, which Redfin pairs with parcel outlines, tax records, automated appraisals and other information.
An obvious application for consumers is to create their own comparative market analyses, or CMAs, Kelman said, by using the photos to "exclude all the dumps" and find comparable properties with similar square footage.
Like many other real estate sites, Redfin was previously able to show only public records of recent sales that included basic facts like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the sales price, after the information was collected by data-collection services and syndicated to Web sites two to 12 weeks after a sale, Kelman said.
Redfin is also generating reciprocal trackbacks to blog sites that link to a listing, so "consumers can easily see what everybody on the Internet is saying about a house."
Kelman said trackbacks and past-sales data "would not have seen the light of day" without last year’s Department of Justice settlement with the National Association of Realtors giving online brokers "the right to share any data with our customers that an agent can divulge to a customer face to face."
He said MLSs not governed by the settlement have also agreed to many of the same terms, an indication that "the industry is changing for the better."
Washington, D.C.-based Sawbuck Realty also provides real-time updates on new listings, price changes, contracts and sales on its Web site.
The company, which in July announced closing on $2 million in a round of financing led by A.H. Belo Corp. to drive further expansion and improve the company’s Web site, offers mortgage and closing services through third-party providers and subsidizes a portion of those costs for its buyer clients (see story).
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