Redfin expands its direct offer service to Northern Virginia

In Northern Virginia, if the seller accepts a Redfin Direct offer, they'd pay a 1% listing fee and a 1% transaction fee

Prospective buyers in Northern Virginia will now be able to make an offer on any Redfin-listed home, without the assistance of a buyers’ agent.

The tech-focused brokerage announced Tuesday it’s expanding its Redfin Direct program to Northern Virginia, its second market along with Boston. In Northern Virginia, Redfin offers listing agent services for just one percent commission.

“Not only does Redfin offer full-service for a low listing fee, but we’re the only brokerage with a strategy to help our sellers save money on the buyer agent commission too,” Jim Sandidge, Redfin’s principal broker in Northern Virginia said in a statement. “These savings, combined with the expertise from our local agents is tough to beat.”

The service will be live in a broad part of Northern Virginia, specifically, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Alexandria, Falls Church and Vienna.

Redfin first began testing the platform in March in Boston. In both of these markets, prospective buyers have the option to work with an agent or make an offer unrepresented, while using Redfin’s 55-question step-by-step online tool. The buyer is guided through the process and given data compiled by Redfin — like the percentage of offers in the area that include an inspection contingency — to craft a competitive offer.

In Northern Virginia, if the seller accepts a Redfin Direct offer, they would pay a total of 2 percent commission — a 1 percent listing fee and a 1 percent transaction fee. The industry standard is around 6 percent, 3 percent for a buyer’s agent and 3 percent for the listing agent.

“The majority of buyers want to work with an agent to guide them through the homebuying process, and Redfin’s agents will continue to do just that,” Sandidge said. “Redfin Direct is simply a new option designed for the population of buyers who feel comfortable making an offer and negotiating for themselves, perhaps because they have prior homebuying experience or they want to make their offer stronger by helping the seller save money.”

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman has been clear that his company has no intention of eliminating buyers’ agents, but the platform has still drawn criticism from some in the industry. RE/MAX pulled out of a referral partnership with Redfin after the service went public.

The service also hit an early regulatory snag due to the exclusion of a mandatory disclosure form, but Redfin moved quickly to address the issue with Massachusetts’ Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons.

The company said it expects to launch Redfin Direct in additional markets this year but declined to reveal further plans.

Email Patrick Kearns

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