September 3, 2009
Redfin is a fascinating real estate brokerage out of the United States that functions as a sort of ‘E-Trade’ for Real Estate. In July BuzzBuzzHome posted an article on Redfin titled “Redfin Turns Profitable, Real Estate Industry Shudders“.
Redfin has now just released an iPhone app that is being described by the San Fransisco Chronicle as “a ridiculously addictive iPhone app…what could eventually be the mother of all time-sucking iPhone apps.”
The application is powered by MLS data displaying photos and details of each home for sale, updated every 15 minutes. It also uses GPS in the phone to locate nearby properties for sale. The real twist on the app that makes it even cooler is that it allows user to take their own pictures of homes and include their own notes which then upload to their Redfin accounts. This ‘syncing’ with one’s Redfin account creates a wonderful environment for collaborative searching for a home – meaning a couple can independently do research but share their photos and notes in a super simple and super mobile application. Redfin has actually purchased iPhones for all its employee agents so they can post information and photos of listings to clients’ Redfin accounts too.
The ingenuity coming out of the United States with regard to the process of acquiring a home is so far unparalleled in Canada. From the power Zillow gives Americans to instantaneously value almost any US home online to service oriented discount brokerages such as Redfin, Canada is definitely lagging. Without a doubt, the process for researching and acquiring real estate in Canada will improve – for now its just a question of how fast this transition will occur and how large this gap between Canada and the US will grow.