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1 in 10 Philly homes sold within two weeks with technology’s help: Redfin

Technology has been seeping into real estate for a decade, but post-recession the changes can be felt in this latest growth of property sales. It’s created a new normal for the pace of real estate.

This is a guest post from Blakely Minton, a local agent with real estate firm Redfin.

After slow growth in 2012, the Philadelphia real estate market is rebounding enough that we at tech-minded real estate firm Redfin see movement back to a sellers’ market after years of post crash growth.

Many think it’s simply supply-and-demand economics, but technology’s role in our departure from the long expected pace of the real estate market can’t be overlooked. It’s created a new normal for the pace of real estate.

Ten years ago, even as the Internet was changing how we bought books and looked up telephone numbers, it still had not affected real estate — yet. If you wanted to buy a house or even just see the price tag on a house down the block, you had to pick up the phone during business hours and call a real estate agent.

And if you wanted to know the last time the property sold or when the owners put on the addition in the back, you’d find yourself combing through public records.

Then a handful of Internet startups set out to change that.

feature_redfin11_buyerschart__605

Founded in Seattle in 2004 and expanded to Philadelphia last March, Redfin was not only the first company to show home listings on a map, it went much further. In 2006, our company CEO Glenn Kelman successfully testified before Congress, arguing that consumers have the right to access multiple listing service (MLS) data, so they don’t have to rely exclusively on what their agents tell them.

Turns out, even with online access, the process was still relatively slow.

After all, people weren’t always sitting at their desks, and they might not have been constantly running new searches throughout the day or weekend. Over the past year, mobile devices have become a predominant channel for many consumer-focused Internet companies.

Smartphones and tablets are what people use to navigate their everyday lives, often even more than their desktop computers. Now people who are standing in line at the grocery store or sitting at a child’s soccer game are on the Web and doing email.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPmavBchXVU

But it doesn’t even stop there. Redfin Instant Updates alerts clients on their phone between 15 to 30 minutes of when a new property hits the market. Redfin’s use of Docusign to create and submit offers shaves days off the process, making it possible to tour a home and make an offer the same day. Because of this condensed timeframe, homes are selling within a matter of hours, rather than days or months. We even coined a term for this trend—the Real Estate Flash Sale.

From January 2011 to May 2013, the percentage of Philadelphia regional homes selling within two weeks steadily climbed from 0.6 percent to 9.3 percent, according to Redfin data. This has many home sellers rejoicing, as it used to be customary for a home to sit on the market for 30 to 45 days.

Since then, Redfin has used technology to create other features that help homebuyers and sellers confidently navigate the market.

  • Redfin’s School Search shows school district boundaries on the map, so home buyers aren’t wasting time calling the school district to find out.
  • We also use technology to improve the communication between agents and clients. Our unique customer dashboard tracks every step of the process from offer to closing, so buyers know where things stand 24/7.
  • Sellers can log in and see how much traffic their listing is getting on Redfin.com and when tours are scheduled.

We expect that even as supply and demand levels change, continuous innovations in technology will result in a real estate market that never quite slows all the way back down. Once you adopt a new technology, there’s no going back. That would be like asking a millennial to give up Twitter.

Other real estate data from Redfin, provided by spokeswoman Katy Klein:

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