Buying or selling a home is an intimidating, stressful, and time-consuming process at the very best of times. The last thing a buyer or seller needs is an unreliable, uninterested, or uninformed real estate agent. Choosing a traditional, full-service real estate agent is one way for buyers and sellers to filter for a more dependable real estate agent.

Traditional Agents vs. Redfin Agents

The distinction between full-service and limited-service real estate agents has become particularly apparent since the advent of limited-service real estate companies like Redfin. A Seattle-based real estate brokerage, Redfin first launched in 2004 and went public in late 2017. During this time, Redfin quickly made a name for itself due to its low-cost commission options and well-designed real estate search engine.

To give you, as the seller or buyer, a better understanding of Redfin’s limitations as a brokerage, we’ve listed the five key areas where Redfin agents underperform in comparison to traditional agents:

Automated Touring

Touring between houses on the market with a local real estate agent is one of the best ways to get a feel for different neighborhoods, home styles, and property sizes. After several tours, most buyers will find that a traditional agent has developed a better idea of their property preferences and can provide more insightful purchase recommendations. If you buy through Redfin, property showings are automated to the nearest available touring agent, making it difficult to form a relationship with a single agent and limiting local market insights to largely superficial suggestions.

Rushed Paperwork

The Redfin business model prioritizes a high volume of real estate transactions per week. Unsurprisingly, this can leave Redfin agents with more clients and more paperwork than they can handle. If your agent is tired and overstretched, it’s more likely that they will make mistakes. According to customer feedback, Redfin’s customer service drops even further during busy selling or buying seasons.

While every agent can make a mistake, a high number of negative customer reports for Redfin agents have highlighted basic mistakes in property offers and counter-offers. If real estate documentation is filed with incorrect names, offer prices, expiration dates, or contingent clauses, it can leave the buyer or seller on the hook for financing approval delays, rushed service fees, or insecure legal contracts.

Inconsistent Agent Contact

When you partner with a full-service agent, the expectation is that the agent will have a high degree of availability for any property-related queries and concerns from the buyer or seller. Because Redfin agents are frequently overburdened with clients, it can make it difficult to arrange face-to-face time. When it comes to large-scale real estate transactions, such an impersonal relationship can be a huge source of stress for both buyers and sellers.

Lackluster Guidance and Negotiation

Purchasing or selling a home for its fair market value often requires knowledge of the local housing market and an understanding of property valuation. This is particularly important if you’re a first-time buyer or seller, where having an experienced real estate agent to guide you through closing negotiation is often the difference between losing and saving money. Because Redfin agents do not earn a commission percentage from house sales or purchases, buyers and sellers shouldn’t count on much more than generic advice and unenthusiastic negotiation from their agent.

Inadequate Experience

Due to Redfin’s automated touring system, you can be saddled with an agent with very limited experience in your local area. Without advice from an agent, buyers and sellers will struggle to accurately judge or set listed prices. In a time-sensitive transaction, Redfin customers may be forced to spend their own time and effort developing a more detailed understanding of historic sales data and local property trends.

Ready to Buy or Sell? Reach Out to a Full-Service Real Estate Agent!

If you’re looking for a reliable traditional realtor, get in touch with Clever Real Estate to connect with an experienced, local agent. By working with an agent in the Clever Partner Network, buyers and sellers will receive full-service support throughout each stage of a real estate transaction, from creating a property listing to submitting an offer on a home.

If you’re a seller, you take advantage of Clever’s low-cost $3,000 listing fee — or 1% of the sale price if the property is sold for more than $350,000. Alternatively, if you’re a buyer in a hot market, a Clever Partner Agent can help you get ahead of your competitors by booking a fast-tracked property showing. Purchasing your home through a Clever Partner Agent will also net buyers a $1,000 rebate to put towards closing costs.