BrokerageTechnology

Redfin marches into Brooklyn

Expansion into NYC borough further grows high-tech brokerage's footprint

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Takeaways: 

  • Redfin has partnered with agents operating in Brooklyn.
  • The discount brokerage could be coming to a market near you.

Redfin has Manhattan surrounded.

The high-tech brokerage is now serving Brooklyn, meaning the firm operates in three out of the four boroughs that flank Manhattan. Redfin already operates in Queens and the Bronx, but has yet to hit Staten Island.

The expansion means buyers can work with Redfin agent teams and search agent-listed Brooklyn listings on the brokerage’s popular website and its iOS and Android apps, the wellspring of most of Redfin’s clients.

“Redfin is offering the same one-of-a-kind service to people in Brooklyn that it offers across the country,” said Redfin spokeswoman Rachel Musiker.

“We’re accustomed to working in pricey markets like San Francisco and Washington, D.C.”

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We’re accustomed to working in pricey markets like San Francisco and Washington, D.C."

Redfin has tapped Jonathan Makolondra, a Colorado native who has worked in New York real estate for the past four years, to lead its Brooklyn operation. He worked at two other New York City brokerages, Tungsten Properties and Rutenberg Realty, before joining Redfin.

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“Right now we are working out of my home office here in Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” Makolondra said. “As our business grows over the next several months we’ll be searching for office space in Brooklyn.”

Redfin shows three agents on its Brooklyn agent website page and two partner agents. Partner agents pay Redfin for referrals and, like Redfin agents, receive ratings and reviews from those referrals that Redfin publishes on redfin.com.

Redfin's Brooklyn partner agents.

Redfin’s Brooklyn partner agents.

Redfin’s move into Brooklyn further stretches the brokerage’s fast-expanding national footprint, which covers more than 75 markets, according to the firm. The brokerage is fueling its growth with $71 million in funding the firm announced in December 2014.

This summer alone, Redfin has touched down in New Orleans; Dayton, Ohio; Little Rock, Arkansas; Reno, Nevada; El Paso, Texas; Corpus Christi, Texas; the Rio Grande Valley in Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and the Piedmont Triangle region in North Carolina, according to Musiker.

Redfin is perhaps the leading U.S. “hybrid brokerage.” Hybrid brokerages represent alternatives to the traditional brokerage service and commission model, offering everything from discount listing fees and buyer rebates to innovative technology and salaried agents.

“Because most of Redfin’s customers discover the company through its website, Redfin agents spend all their time working with existing clients and zero time looking for new business,” Redfin said in a statement.

“As a result, Redfin operates very efficiently, and can pass along savings to its clients.”

Redfin employs salaried agents who are paid based partly on customer satisfaction, not just commission. The firm refunds up to half of the buyer’s agent’s commission split to the buyer and charges a lower commission rate to sellers than traditional brokerages.

Its discount listing fees can save the typical seller somewhere between 1 and 1.5 percent of their home’s sales price.

In some ways, Redfin has migrated toward a more traditional brokerage model over the years by tweaking its agent compensation model, scaling back the rebates it offers to buyers and requiring agents to spend more time working with clients in person.

But the brokerage also remains a trailblazer, continually rolling out innovative products for consumers and its agents, such as online 3-D home tours.

Email Teke Wiggin.