Redfin Review 2020: How It Works, Pricing, Top Alternatives

By 

Jamie Ayers

Updated 

September 17th, 2020

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You can sell your home with a Redfin Agent for less than a traditional realtor — but you may get limited service and support throughout the process.

Redfin is a real estate brokerage and technology company that operates in 80+ markets across 44 U.S. states and Washington, DC.

While Redfin offers a wide range of products and services, it’s best known for its popular home search tool and discount real estate agent services.

If you’re looking to sell your home, Redfin Agents will provide the same general range of services as traditional realtors — but you’ll pay about 20-30% less.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a catch: Redfin Agents handle 3x more deals than normal agents, which limits the amount of attention and support they’re able to provide throughout the process.

Depending on your preferences and situation, this increases your risk of a bad experience or outcome on your sale or purchase.

In this review, we’ll break down Redfin’s pricing, services, and overall value compared to other options so you can make the right decision for your situation.

Key takeaways

  • As of 9/17/2020, Redfin is available in 80+ markets across 44 U.S. states. If you live in KS, MS, MT, ND, SD, WV, or WY, Redfin is not an option. Find discount brokers near you.
  • Redfin Agents are cheaper than traditional realtors but offer less hands-on service and support.
  • Some discount brokers offer lower rates, but Redfin is the biggest and best-established, which makes it less risky. Compare rates and service quality.
  • Redfin offers better technology than most, which is well suited to selling or buying during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Not all Redfin Agents are created equal! It pays to shop around and interview multiple agents from different brokerages to find the best fit and value for your situation.

What is Redfin?

Redfin is probably best known for its popular home search tool, but it’s also a real estate brokerage with licensed agents who can help you sell or buy a home.

Unlike other big-name brokerages (think Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX), Redfin is a discount brokerage. In the simplest terms, that means:

  • Redfin offers potential commission savings for home sellers and buyers
  • The tradeoff is less dedicated service and support throughout the process

So how much can you actually save?

When you sell with a Redfin Agent, you’ll likely pay 4-4.5% in total commission fees — about 20-30% less than selling with a traditional realtor.

» MORE How much does Redfin cost?

There are savings opportunities for home buyers, too. Redfin refunds a portion of the commission it collects from sellers — on average, $1,200 — though this offer is only available in select states, and numerous terms and restrictions apply.

» MORE How does the Redfin Refund work?

More recently, Redfin launched RedfinNow, a direct cash buyer service that makes instant offers with flexible closing timelines on qualifying homes — for an additional fee, of course.

Is Redfin legitimate?

Yes, Redfin is a fully licensed real estate brokerage in all of the states it operates in. Since launching in Seattle, WA in 2004, it's become the largest discount broker in the United States by far, with more than 3,000 employees and offices in 90+ markets across the U.S. and Canada.

Redfin.com is also the most popular brokerage website in America, with an estimated six million monthly visitors. Of course, Redfin’s traffic isn’t even closeto sites like Zillow and Trulia, which receive a combined 59+ million visitors per month; however, Zillow Group, the owner of both sites, isn’t actually a brokerage, hence Redfin's “#1 broker website” title.

Redfin became a publicly traded company in 2017, which comes with a ton of government oversight and the mandate for transparent business practices. That said, you still have to do a lot of digging to unearth fine-print details about Redfin’s services and pricing. In particular, you’ll need to look out for:

  • Minimum fees for home sellers that vary by location
  • Exclusionary criteria that may disqualify you from a specific service or offer

How does Redfin work?

Redfin’s primary offering is savings for home sellers and buyers. But can it really offer discounted rates and rebates and still turn a profit?

The simple answer is yes, with a catch.

Redfin creates savings by:

  • Promoting its real estate agent service to the millions of people already using its app and website, which helps Redfin save on marketing to find new customers
  • Using technology and a team-based approach to handle a higher volume of customers per agent
  • Upselling existing customers on additional Redfin services

The tradeoff is that its high-volume, tech-centric approach definitely limits the amount of attention and support agents are able to provide throughout a sale or purchase.

Source: Redfin Investor Presentation, February 2020

This likely means less personalized, hands-on service than a traditional agent, but the degree to which this matters really depends on your specific situation and preferences.

How much does Redfin cost?

Service
Fee*
Sell with Redfin
1.5%
Buyer’s agent commission
2.5-3%
Total
4-4.5%

*Minimum fees apply and vary by market.

Redfin offers a discounted 1.5% listing fee, rather than the typical 2.5-3%. That translates to an average $6,000 in listing fee savings across four price points,  with higher dollar savings for higher home prices.

Price Point
Fee
Savings*
$100,000
1.50%
$1,500
$250,000
1.50%
$3,750
$500,000
1.50%
$7,500
$750,000
1.50%
$11,250
Average
1.50%
$6,000

*Compared to a 3% listing fee.

If you sell and buy with a Redfin Agent within a single calendar year, Redfin will issue a 0.5% refund at the time of your purchase, effectively dropping your listing fee to 1%.

But that 1-1.5% isn’t the only expense you’ll be on the hook for when you sell with a Redfin Agent. Here are some other things to be aware of when assessing how much it will cost to sell your house with Redfin.

You’ll still likely cover the buyer’s agent commission

In a typical real estate transaction, the seller offers a commission to the buyer’s agent for bringing their client to purchase the home. Rates are negotiable and vary by market, but 2.5-3% is typical nationwide. Redfin sellers are not exempt from this arrangement, so you should budget for a total commission of 4-4.5%.

» MORE: What is buyer’s agent commission?

Watch out for Redfin’s minimum fees!

Though Redfin advertises a 1.5% commission, it has minimum fees ranging from $2,000 to $6,500, depending on the market you’re selling in. Translation? If you’re selling a less expensive home in a market with a higher minimum fee, you could end up paying an effective rate well over 1.5%.

» FIND: See Redfin's minimum fee in your area

Don’t forget about closing costs

When you sell with Redfin (as with any real estate broker) you’ll still be on the hook for some closing costs. These may include transfer taxes, title insurance, escrow and settlement fees — possibly more, depending on what you negotiate with your buyer. You should budget for at least 2-4% in additional closing-related fees and taxes.

» MORE: Who pays closing costs?

How good are Redfin Agents?

All Redfin Agents are fully licensed real estate agents and provide the same general range of services and support as traditional realtors. That said, there are a few key differences that could affect your experience or outcome.

Less direct incentive than traditional realtors

Traditional realtors typically work solely on commission, meaning they get a percentage ONLY if and when the sale goes through. This makes them highly motivated to help you sell quickly and for the highest price possible.

In contrast, Redfin Agents are full-time salaried employees, meaning they’re getting paid whether your home sells or not. Redfin does offer bonuses to agents who close a lot of deals and get high customer satisfaction scores. BUT compared to a traditional realtor, there’s simply less direct incentive to hustle hard and get you the best deal possible.

Redfin Agents are a mixed bag

Just like Keller Williams, Compass, and Century 21, Redfin has some great agents — and some no-so-great ones…

Don’t just assume they’re all the same and roll with the first Redfin Agent you see. Remember, you’re hiring a person, not a brand!

The good news is that Redfin is actually pretty good at being transparent about customer satisfaction. Redfin surveys all of its customers and posts every completed review to the associated agent’s profile.

When you search for Redfin Agents near you, you’ll be able to view their average customer rating, read detailed reviews (good and bad), see past and active deals on a map (which tells you what neighborhoods they typically work in), and so on.

Screenshots from a profile page for a Redfin Agent in Houston, TX.

Redfin’s agent finder tool may also display results for “Redfin Partner Agents.” These are agents from other brokerages who pay Redfin a fee for sending customers their way. Importantly, these agents DO NOT have to honor Redfin’s pricing model or offer any discounts whatsoever.

One of the big drawbacks of Redfin’s tool is, of course, that it only shows Redfin Agents and Partner Agents — the best agent (or price) might be with a different brokerage.

Compare agents and save thousands

Try our free agent-matching service! Clever will get proposals from the top agents in your area — and negotiate discounted rates of just $3K or 1%.

How does Redfin compare to similar services?


Redfin
Clever
Redefy
Avg customer rating
3.2 (281 reviews)
4.8 (442 reviews)
4.7 (332 reviews)
Dedicated point of contact?
Yes
Yes
Yes
In-person support?
Partial
Full
Partial
Regions covered
National
National
CO, FL, GA, IL, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA
Listing fee
1.5% (min fees vary by market)
1% or $3,000
$3,500 ($500 due up front)
Avg Savings*
$6,000
$7,375
$8,500

Learn more
Learn more
Learn more

*Average fee compared to a 3% commission at four price points: $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, $750,000.

Savings

While Redfin offers significant savings over traditional realtors, they’re actually pretty middle-of-the-pack compared to other discount brokers and services.

Some are more expensive — REX Real Estate charges a 2% listing fee with a $9,000 minimum — but many offer lower base rates with comparable (or better) service models.

Clever is not a discount broker, but offers an agent-matching service that gets you 1% rates for top agents from major brands like RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, etc. That’s got Redfin’s 1.5% fee beat, plus you get all the benefits, full service, and support that come with a traditional realtor.

» MORE: How can Clever help me save on realtor fees?

Don’t forget to watch out for Redfin’s minimum fees! If you’re selling a less expensive home, you could end up paying more than the advertised 1.5% rate. That said, it’s worth pointing out that most discount brokers have minimum fees and, in most of its markets, Redfin’s are pretty low relative to other brands.

If you’re selling a more expensive home, a flat-fee broker, who offers a fixed rate regardless of home price, will probably offer the best hard savings — BUT these smaller companies are only available in a handful of areas and have fewer resources to support you throughout your sale.

Customer service and experience

On the customer experience side, Redfin may be a safer bet than other discount brokers. Remember, the proof is usually in the pudding! Redfin is a hugely successful company with thousands of satisfied customers — clearly it’s doing something right.

So what’s the key differentiator between Redfin and smaller discount brokers?

Redfin has invested a ton of time and resources into developing the technology it uses to streamline its real estate agent services. The tech-centric approach helps mitigate the customer service and quality tradeoffs that typically go hand-in-hand with a discount business model.

While all discount brokers claim they can handle a higher volume of business without scrimping on service quality, Redfin is probably the only one with the requisite tech and resources to come close.

In other words, Redfin beats most of its peers when it comes to its service model, but chances are it’ll still feel a bit more “hands-off” than working with a traditional realtor.

Agent quality

Like most discount brokerages, Redfin Agents are a mixed bag in terms of quality and experience. But Redfin offers more transparency in the agent selection process and a much larger pool for you to choose from.

Most discount brokers will only have a handful of agents for you to choose from. In fact, some may literally have only one agent in your area. Redfin has more than 1,500 agents nationwide, which gives you a better chance of finding a good fit in your area.

While Redfin offers more selection than other discount brokerages, it pales in comparison to agent-matching services like Clever and HomeLight.

But HomeLight doesn’t offer any sort of built-in cost savings, whereas Clever negotiates low rates on your behalf (lower than Redfin, in fact).

Try Clever’s free agent-matching service!

Interview top agents, find the perfect fit, save thousands.

Selling with Redfin

Biggest benefits of selling with Redfin...
  • Offers technology well-suited for selling during COVID-19
  • More agents and customer satisfaction transparency than most discount brokers
  • Stronger reputation among traditional agents and buyers than most other discount brands
Biggest risks of selling with Redfin…
  • High-volume approach could negatively impact service quality and support
  • Risk of being paired with an inexperienced or unmotivated agent without careful vetting
  • Could get lower initial offers because buyers and their agents know you’re listing with a discount brand

When you sell with Redfin, you’ll get the same general range of services you’d expect from a traditional realtor, including a professional valuation, professional photos, MLS listing, digital marketing, showings, help with offers, contracts, negotiations, closing, and more.

There are a few key differences you should be aware of, though. Redfin Agents handle approximately 3x more sales than the average agent, which limits the amount of attention they can offer each individual customer.

To manage the higher volume of deals, your Redfin Agent will hand off aspects of your sale to other team members. While the team-based approach has become more common with traditional realtors as well, it’s going to be more pronounced with a discount broker.

Why does this matter?

Having more people involved in the process means a greater risk of disorganization, mistakes, and delays that could jeopardize your sale. It’s also possible dealing with a different person every other day will add undue stress to an already stressful process.

Most of the process will be handled remotely, via phone and your “Seller Dashboard” on Redfin’s website (Redfin told us the Dashboard doesn’t work on its mobile app yet).

This isn’t unique to Redfin — particularly right now, with COVID-19 still in full effect. But Redfin may have a slight edge because its technology is more sophisticated and user-friendly. It is a tech startup, after all. This could mean less friction for you, compared to other agents or brokers who are still trying to adapt.

Buying with Redfin

You can also buy a home with a Redfin Agent. They provide the same general range of services as a traditional realtor, but, as with selling, expect less hands-on attention and support.

Buying with a Redfin Agent won’t cost you anything — in real estate, the fee for the buyer’s agent comes out of the seller’s proceeds from the sale. However, there are a few savings opportunities to be aware of.

  • If you sell and buy with Redfin, you’ll get back 0.5% of your listing fee, dropping you to an effective 1% rate
  • Depending on your location and situation, you could qualify for a Redfin Refund, which means you’ll get back a portion of Redfin’s commission to put toward your closing costs

What is the Redfin Refund?

The Redfin Refund is a commission rebate — also known as a home buyer rebate — to buyers in select markets. If you’re eligible, you’ll get a percentage of Redfin’s commission back you can put toward your closing costs.

Redfin doesn’t specify an exact amount or percentage, but it says the average Refund for qualifying buyers is $1,500.

Fair warning: there are a TON of rules and restrictions surrounding commission rebates, which is why you’ll almost always see conditional language in advertisements — i.e., “Get up to X%” or “$X on average.”

Commission rebates typically require lender approval, can only be used in certain ways (e.g., to buy points on your mortgage, cover closing costs, etc.), and are never guaranteed. In fact, some states don’t allow them at all.

Here are some additional Redfin Refund terms and conditions you should be aware of:

  • The Redfin Refund may be cancelled or adjusted if the commission received by Redfin is less than 1% of the home’s list price or $6,500 (whichever is greater).
  • The Redfin Refund may not be paid if the home is purchased as a short sale.
  • The Redfin Refund is not available in certain Redfin markets, including:
Alaska
Missouri
Birmingham, AL
Nebraska
Cleveland, OH
Oklahoma
El Paso, TX
Oregon
Iowa
San Antonio
Kansas
South Texas
Little Rock, AK
Tennessee
Louisiana
Tucson
Louisville, KY
Wisconsin
Mississippi

Redfin customer reviews

Note: The following review information is up-to-date as of 9/17/2020. We will update this section as new information becomes available.


Rating
# of reviews
Weighted Average
3.2
281
Google*
4.4
48
Yelp*
3.5
120
Consumer Affairs
1.9
88
G2
3.7
25

*These reviews are for Redfin’s Seattle, WA office. Reviews will vary by location.

Overall, Redfin’s reviews across third-party sites are mixed, with an average customer rating of 3.2 across 281 total reviews.

But it’s important to remember:

  • Redfin’s reviews will vary by location. For example, Redfin’s Seattle, WA office has a 4.3 average rating on Google, whereas its Houston, TX office has a 2.8.
  • The vast majority of reviews are on Redfin’s website, not third-party sites.

So what are people saying about working with Redfin?

The most common themes among positive Redfin reviews are:

  • Great savings / value
  • Great technology (app and website, specifically)
  • Good experience with specific agents

Here’s an example of a positive Redfin review on Yelp from a seller who was very pleased with her Redfin Agent’s level of knowledge and customer service:

In contrast, the most common themes among negative Redfin reviews are:

  • Agents are unmotivated, offering little guidance or proactivity
  • Poor communication, delays in process
  • Disorganized, lackluster service / support, no real expertise

Here is an example of a negative Redfin review on ConsumerAffairs from a seller who was very unhappy with the lack of effort, communication, and customer service he experienced with his Redfin Agent:

The key takeaway here is that, assuming you’re on board with Redfin’s tech-centric and team-driven approach, the experience and outcome really comes down to the individual agent you work with.

ALWAYS read local reviews and interview multiple agents — from Redfin and other brokerages in your area — to compare rates and find the best option for you.

Compare top local agents, save thousands!

Try Clever’s free agent-matching service today.

Additional Redfin services

One of the ways Redfin is able to offer discount rates and remain profitable is upselling existing customers on additional, premium, and/or affiliate services.

In other words, it uses the 1.5% listing fee or Redfin Refund offer to get you in the door, then tries to sell you on its mortgage company, title service, local partners, and so on.

While the idea of a “one-stop-shop” sounds easy and appealing, it will rarely get you the best service quality or value available.

Your best bet will usually be a local company that specializes in the service you’re looking for. If you’re considering a Redfin “add-on,” always compare it to several other options in your area.

Here’s a quick overview of some of Redfin’s additional services:

  • Title Forward: Redfin’s in-house title and settlement service, which has mixed reviews and no apparent unique benefits.
  • Redfin Mortgage: Redfin’s in-house mortgage broker service with no lender fees and $1,000 toward closing costs if your loan doesn’t close on time.
  • Redfin Open Book: Redfin’s local home services provider network. If you hire a landscaper, carpenter, electrician, etc. through this platform, Redfin gets paid.
  • RedfinNow: Redfin’s new direct cash buyer service. If your home qualifies, you can get a cash offer and close in as few as 10 days for a 6-12% fee.
  • Redfin Concierge: Redfin’s premium home sale prep service oversees pre-listing improvements like landscaping, painting, staging, etc. Note: Redfin’s fee does not include the actual work — just the planning and oversight. It’s only available in a handful of markets in California, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Conclusion: Is Redfin a good option for you?

Redfin is worth considering if…
  • You love technology and don’t care as much about hands-on service
  • You’re selling a more expensive home
  • Your selling situation is straightforward and you have a flexible timeline
You may want to avoid Redfin if…
  • You’re technologically averse
  • You value highly personalized, hands-on service
  • Your situation is complicated and requires more expertise / support
  • You’re selling a less expensive home

Redfin is a totally legitimate company and service that has helped thousands of people buy and sell homes. Ultimately, whether it's a good choice for you really depends on your preferences, situation, and the quality of the Redfin Agents in your area.

Remember, there’s never any obligation when you interview an agent or service. Always conduct multiple interviews so you can compare rates, strengths and weakness, and personalities to find the right fit and get the best outcome on your sale.

Next Steps: Talk to an expert!

If you're looking to buy or sell a house and weighing your options, Clever can help!

Our fully licensed Concierge Team is standing by to answer questions and provide free, objective advice on how to get the best outcome with your sale or purchase.

Ready to get started?

Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or enter your basic info below. Our Concierge Team will be in touch shortly to help.

Remember, this service is 100% free and there’s never any obligation.

Redfin locations, minimum fees, contact info

Contact info

Phone
1-877-973-3346
Customer service
Submit an online inquiry
Hours
8am-5pm PST, 7 days / week

Redfin locations and minimum commission fees

Note: this list is up-to-date as of 9/8/2020.

Market
Listing Fee
Minimum Commission
Asheville
1.50%
$3,000
Albany
1.50%
$2,000
Anchorage
1.50%
$2,000
Atlanta
1.50%
$3,250
Austin
1.50%
$3,500
Birmingham
1.50%
$3,000
Boise
1.50%
$3,000
Boston
1.50%
$5,000
Buffalo
1.50%
$2,250
Charlotte
1.50%
$3,000
Chicago
1.50%
$3,250
Cincinnati
1.50%
$2,250
Cleveland
1.50%
$2,750
Columbus
1.50%
$2,500
Connecticut
1.50%
$3,750
Dallas
1.50%
$3,250
DC
1.50%
$5,250
Delaware
1.50%
$3,000
Denver
1.50%
$3,750
Des Moines
1.50%
$2,750
Detroit
1.50%
$2,750
El Paso
1.50%
$2,250
Flagstaff
1.50%
$2,000
Fort Myers
1.50%
$2,750
Grand Rapids
1.50%
$3,250
Hampton Roads
1.50%
$3,250
Hawaii
1.50%
$6,000
Houston
1.50%
$3,000
Indianapolis
1.50%
$3,000
Inland Empire
1.50%
$4,250
Jacksonville
1.50%
$2,750
Kansas City
1.50%
$2,750
Knoxville
1.50%
$2,750
Lake Tahoe
1.50%
$3,750
Las Vegas
1.50%
$3,000
Little Rock
1.50%
$2,000
Los Angeles
1.50%
$6,250
Louisiana
1.50%
$3,000
Louisville
1.50%
$2,500
Maryland
1.50%
$3,750
Memphis
1.50%
$3,000
Miami
1.50%
$3,500
Minneapolis
1.50%
$3,000
Nashville
1.50%
$3,500
Nebraska
1.50%
$2,250
New Jersey
1.50%
$3,250
New Mexico
1.50%
$3,500
New York City & Long Island
1.50%
$5,000
Northeast Virginia
1.50%
$4,500
Northern New England
1.50%
$3,250
Oklahoma
1.50%
$2,250
Orange County
1.50%
$6,500
Orlando
1.50%
$3,250
Palm Beach
1.50%
$3,500
Palm Springs
1.50%
$3,500
Philadelphia
1.50%
$3,000
Phoenix
1.50%
$3,000
Pittsburgh
1.50%
$2,750
Portland
1.50%
$3,750
Raleigh
1.50%
$3,000
Rhode Island
1.50%
$3,250
Richmond
1.50%
$3,750
Sacramento
1.50%
$4,250
Salt Lake City
1.50%
$3,000
San Antonio
1.50%
$2,750
San Diego
1.50%
$5,500
San Francisco
1.50%
$6,500
Savannah
1.50%
$2,250
Seattle
1.50%
$4,750
South Carolina
1.50%
$3,000
South Texas
1.50%
$3,000
Spokane
1.50%
$2,750
St. Louis
1.50%
$3,000
Tampa
1.50%
$2,750
Tucson
1.50%
$2,750
Wisconsin
1.50%
$2,750