Paradise Found: Redfin for Android

Engineering at Redfin

Paradise Found: Redfin for Android

What was unnerving about the career of English poet John Milton was

  1. his unshakable conviction beginning in adolescence that he would write Christianity’s great poem, and
  2. the actual age at which, deep in blindness, he would dictate the elaborate epic to his daughters: 58.

Paradise Lost encompassed the early modern world’s total understanding of theology and science, addressing questions of how angels defecate, and whether Creation occurred simultaneously on alien planets.

Redfin has followed a similar trajectory on its latest masterpiece, Redfin Real Estate App for Android, launched this morning on Google’s Android Market. We have known for years that we were going to build this application for mobile devices running Google’s operating system, but we waited until we had time to do it right. The app is its own little epic, encompassing nearly everything we know about a home for sale.

Yes, Redfin for Android has all the standard features, including the map-based search that was Redfin’s original invention, now drawing on your device’s awareness of where you are in the world:

Android Real Estate App

And yes, it also provides the standard details on a home for sale:

Android Real Estate App

And of course we didn’t hold anything back when showing you pictures because, as our old friend Adam Doppelt said when designing his own real estate site, Dwellable, it’s all about the pictures:

Android Real Estate App

But what sets this application apart is that it was done in the Redfin style, with freakish depth on every listing. Of all the Android applications available today, this one provides the most detail on a home for sale:

Android Real Estate App

Unlike any other real estate application for Android, Redfin for Android lets users log-in to see all the juicy data about a listing that we’re not allowed to show the general public. This includes not only notes taken by Redfin agents who have already seen the home in person, pictured above, but also the entire price history:

Android Real Estate App

Redfin for Android allows you to take pictures of a home and upload them to your account on our website:

Android Real Estate App

And it keeps track of all the properties you like and don’t, all your notes and even your schedule of tours with a Redfin agent, synchronizing all the stuff you do on your Android phone with the Redfin website:

Android Real Estate App

Building such a sweet app was not my idea. Almost every conversation I have with Redfin’s search and mobile teams goes something like this:

THEM: We want to build something beautiful, even if it takes a little while longer.

ME: Totally agree! Except on one little point: what about doing something lame and fast?

THEM: Sure, we’ll do that instead.

Then they completely disregard what I have to say and ship something a few months later that makes me immensely proud to work at Redfin.

And thank goodness they did! The depth of the resulting user experience is completely consistent with our overall strategy. We don’t make any money when people casually search for homes. Our business depends on taking serious buyers all the way through to a successful purchase. And, let’s be honest, our audience consists of hard-core real estate junkies, who wouldn’t be satisfied with anything but the full-meal deal.

So please install this new little guy and take him out for a spin! The app works on any device that runs Android 2.1 or better operating systems. If you’d like to see the app but don’t have one of those devices, check out our video.

Rather than hiring a video production company with a sound-proofed studio, we told our new rugby-playing intern from Yale to clip his fingernails and make it himself. He bought a bunch of lights and gear at Home Depot that he later sold on Craigslist. He recorded the sound with his head under a fire blanket, because our office is so noisy right now. It’s the only time I’ve heard Daniel speak without a fake Russian accent.

Thanks to all the product managers and engineers who built Redfin for Android, and thanks to all of you for your patience. As always, we’re anxious to hear what you think!

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