In today’s real estate market, having the right online resource is just as important as having the right agent. The number of homes for sale has been at historic lows, which means prospective home buyers have to stay connected and well informed to be competitive. So how does the right real estate website make you more competitive, you ask? Well, being the first to tour a home and make an offer can mean the difference between buying your dream home, and watching it sell to another buyer.
Redfin, a technology-powered real estate brokerage, has homes ready to search the moment they hit the market, plus an award-winning app and a site that makes it easy to search, save homes and set up tours with the click of a mouse or tap of a finger. If you’re just starting your home search, here’s how you can use Redfin and all of its tools to buy a home!
1. Search Homes for Sale on the Website or App
Redfin makes searching for homes really easy. Simply visit www.redfin.com or download the free app for iOS and Android. In the search field, enter the city or zip that you’d like to search for homes in. You’ll see a map pop up with all of the homes for sale.
To narrow your search by price range, number of rooms, square footage, etc. click on “Filters” at the top of the page. If you’re looking for something specific in a listing, like a pool, chicken coop, fireplace, etc. you can enter those keywords in the field that says “Remarks.” Click “Update Search” to see all of the listings that match your filters.
If you’re interested in homes in a very specific area, the app has a really cool tool called “Draw Your Own Search” that allows you to do just that. Simply tap the “Draw” button and then select the area on the map that you’re interested in.
2. Save and Share Your Search
Once you’ve narrowed your search by the things that matter to you, you can save the search to receive instant updates when a new house that meets your criteria hits the market. Just click the button in the upper right corner of the map that says “Save Search.” If you don’t already have a Redfin account, you’ll be prompted to make one.
Want to share your search with a friend or loved one? No problem! You can add the email address of another person so they can see what you’ve searched and receive updates, too.
3. Book a Tour
Once you’ve found a home that you like, the next step is to schedule a tour with a Redfin agent so you can see the home in person. Select a date and time that works best for you in the “Go Tour This Home” box. A Redfin agent will call you to confirm the details. You can select up to six homes to tour in one day, and Redfin agents will tour as many homes with you as you need before you feel comfortable making an offer.
One big difference between Redfin real estate agents and traditional agents is that Redfin agents are paid a salary, and earn bonuses based on your satisfaction with their service. That means they’ll never rush you into a home that’s not a perfect fit for you, and if they can see that it’s a bad deal, they’ll advise you to walk away without worrying about how that will affect their paychecks.
4. Make An Offer
As soon as you’ve found “the one,” a Redfin agent will help you put together a competitive offer, and they’ll negotiate with the seller on terms. Redfin has an online tool called “Deal Room” that lets you track every step in the offer process. You’ll get an online checklist of things to do and paperwork you need to fill out, and you can even sign and send documents online. Deal Room will help you stay organized and will keep you informed on what comes next.
5. Save Money
Typically, the seller of a home pays a commission of 6 percent of the final sale price of the home, which is split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. Traditional real estate agents keep their full 3 percent commission. But when you work with a Redfin agent to buy a home, they’ll give a portion of the commission back to you in the form of a refund. You can use the money – which is often thousands of dollars – to pay closing costs, buy new furniture or for home improvement projects. The total refund amount for each home is listed on the page with all of the details and photos of the house; you can find it next to the photo of the agent on the right.
If you need to sell your home before you can buy a new one and move, you can also save money by working with Redfin. Instead of charging the typical 3 percent commission fee, Redfin charges sellers only 1.5 percent.
Happy house hunting!
Natalie Schwab is Redfin’s Managing Editor and writes for the Fun & Fab section on everything from DIY decor to life hacks. Her dream home would have a huge art studio and a comfy living room where she and friends could catch up on episodes of “The Bachelor.”