Finding what you’re looking for is easy. Finding what you never knew you wanted is divine. This is especially true in real estate: we swoon for the perfect property, but often look for it in the wrong places or just stop looking entirely.
So after years of letting people search on every possible attribute of a home, Redfin today is launching Redfin Matchmaker, a service for recommending listings to you based on homes you’ve liked online and in person.
Some recommendations will be for homes in a neighborhood you hadn’t considered, or with desirable attributes you never explicitly asked for but always seem to like. Many will be for homes you actually want to buy: in early testing phases, 20 Redfin customers have already had an offer accepted on a home they discovered through our recommendation.
In one case, we told a Chicago family they were moving to San Diego before they ever told us.
No one makes better listing recommendations because no real estate company knows you better than Redfin, which not only builds the world’s most addictive real estate search tools, but also employs nearly 1,000 of our own agents, who talk to you during home tours, coffee conversations and offer negotiations.
Our software engine generates a set of recommendations based on your online activity, which Redfin agents then approve or reject based on our personal knowledge of what you like and don’t:
The agent then decides which listings the site sends to the client, adding a personal note as needed:
We can use the pattern of what our agents send to clients to further optimize our recommendations over time.
What This Means for the Real Estate Industry
The way the website and the agent work together should end the old debate about who knows you better, your real estate agent or your real estate website. A pure website never sees you smile when you walk into a kitchen with concrete counter-tops, and it never knows which of its recommendations you tour or buy. The agent on her own will always be doomed to recommend listings you saw online two days before. But when technology and personal service work together, you get better listing recommendations — and faster access to hot listings, and better pricing guidance, and deeper insights on what a home we’ve seen in person is really like.
What This Means for Redfin
This combination of technology and service is the crux of Redfin’s strategy, and the development of Redfin Matchmaker illustrates how it works:
- We use technology to make our service better: we just can’t bring ourselves to ship another filter-by-air-conditioned-dog-house upgrade. Basic real estate search is mostly done. But we’ll spend the next 20 years making the whole buying and selling process faster, easier and more personalized, striving to give our clients service no other agent can. An uncanny listing recommendation is just one example. We already released the wildly successful Price Whisperer, for you to ask 250 Redfin.com buyers what they’d pay for your home, as well as a listing dashboard that tracks the traffic to your listing. And now we’re working hard to track the location and expertise of every agent, so you can tour new listings in minutes rather than hours or days.
- We use our service to make our technology better: the combo works in the other direction too. Already, all the publicly available data about a home or a city has been published by a dozen websites. What sets Redfin’s online tools apart is our agents’ knowledge of homes we’ve toured, customers we’ve met, offers we’ve written. Over the past two years, almost every major Redfin technology upgrade has been focused on publishing our agents’ expertise as tour insights, offer insights and now personalized listing recommendations. A pure website, which has never set foot in Rancho Cucamonga or talked to you in person, simply doesn’t have access to the information that a technology-powered brokerage does.
- We use Big Data: the data Redfin has about every possible combination of customers and properties would have once been prohibitively expensive to store, but cloud technology has completely changed the economics and the science of real estate search. We never forget anything about what you like. And whereas our engineers were once mostly visual designers, intent on finding the best way to publish pretty pictures of a house on an online map, today many are data scientists and algorithm experts, focused not just on tiny improvements to email open-rates, but on finding a home that you’ll happily live in for the next 15 years. This is a problem worth thinking about deeply because the stakes are high, but also because, as anyone knows who has bought the wrong house, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Many thanks to the team who built Redfin Matchmaker. As more customers tour homes and write offers, Matchmaker will get more and more savvy, but already it opens a vista for delighting customers in ways none us ever expected.
To sign up for Redfin Matchmaker recommendations, just start working with a Redfin agent. The better we get to know you, the better the recommendations will be.