What if real estate agents could quickly show sellers not only how much their home is worth, but also hard numbers on its desirability? That’s the idea with a new comparative market tool (CMA) unveiled by high-tech brokerage Redfin.

  • The new tool auto-suggests comparable homes to Redfin agents using the Redfin Estimate algorithm and also lets them choose their own comparables to produce a customized report.
  • The rollout of the CMA tool comes after Redfin scrapped a DIY CMA tool it had served up to consumers since 2012.

What if real estate agents could quickly show sellers not only how much their home is worth, but also hard numbers on its desirability?

That’s the idea with a new comparative market analysis (CMA) tool unveiled by Redfin. The high-tech brokerage has put the software in the hands of its agents after phasing out a consumer version it previously provided on its website.

The new tool auto-suggests comparable homes to Redfin agents using the Redfin Estimate algorithm and also lets them choose their own comparables to produce a customized report.

Redfin agents had previously produced CMAs using tools provided by multiple listing services (MLSs) and software companies.

But what sets Redfin’s tool apart from those products is a feature that shows sellers the number of buyers currently hunting for a home like theirs in their neighborhood.

“When I sit with potential sellers in their living room and say, ‘There are 245 buyers looking for a home like yours.’ They are wowed,” said Roddy de la Garza, a Los Angeles-based Redfin agent, in a statement.

Some brokerages use Buyside to publicly display buyer statistics based on lead data.

But Redfin casts its buyer data as superior because — due to the popularity of its website — it’s “the only brokerage tracking buyers’ online search, tour and offer activity at scale.”

What happened to the DIY version?

The rollout of the CMA tool comes after Redfin scrapped a DIY CMA tool it had served up to consumers since 2012.

The consumer-grade version — which was designed to help sellers start a “fact-based conversation” with Redfin agents about home values — seemed to break new ground at the time; the brokerage expected the feature to ruffle feathers in the industry.

Some real estate websites, including Zillow and the site operated by brokerage Surefield, have since rolled out their own DIY CMA tools.

Meanwhile, Redfin took a page out of Zillow’s book in December 2015 by adding its own home value estimates, called “Redfin Estimates,” to property details pages.

Redfin spokeswoman Alina Ptaszynski said the brokerage phased out its DIY CMA tool in conjunction with launching the Redfin Estimate.

“The Redfin Estimate is one of the most popular features we’ve ever launched, so we’re focusing on efforts related to that,” she said.

The criss-crossing trajectory of Zillow and Redfin’s home-pricing features highlights the evolving and sometimes conflicting calculus of real estate tech firms.

Both businesses depend on connecting consumers with agents online, but they may have come to different conclusions about the best way to use home-pricing features to accomplish that.

“… we haven’t ruled out an interactive feature built on the Redfin Estimate, but we’ve chosen to invest in other projects at this time,” Ptaszynski said about sunsetting the DIY CMA tool.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information on Redfin’s pricing-tool strategy. 

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