Industry

Friday Flash: A public CMA and awesomeness outta nowhere

Author
Brian Boero
No.
791
Date
05/03/13

Redfin continues to pull apart the tight weave of the brokerage value proposition.

Today, the company launched a “Home Value Estimator”. It’s a public-facing CMA tool, more or less.

A consumer puts in their address, or the address of a home they are interested in buying, adds comps (or removes the comps suggested by the tool) and gets a value estimate along with a side-by-side comparison of the subject property and comps.

It’s basic, but well executed.

Every brokerage in America should have something like this on their website. But every brokerage in America’s agents would scream bloody murder.

If I were a broker/owner, I’d let them scream. There’s too much at stake.

I would be overstating things only slightly by saying that The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors just might have the best home search site in the industry.

Yes, The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.

They launched a new website this week that is fully responsive. In other words, it looks great no matter what sort of device you’re viewing it on. No separate “m.gcar.com” site. No need to play the insane app store optimization game. Just one simple site.

If you look at it on your desktop screen, shrink and expand the browser window to see the fluid grid in action.

The site was built by Solid Earth, an MLS software company.

There are lots of things that could be improved (stop that home page animation!) but this is a really nice effort from an unexpected place. Kudos.

Move bought Doorsteps this week. Good vibes all around. I like to see smart people win, and Michele is one of those.

If you’re not familiar with Doorsteps, it’s an online tool buyers (and, if they want, their agents) can use to better navigate their home buying journey. Experience is a better word for it, though. Doorsteps makes a process that is often daunting, confusing and sloppy feel better.

I’d argue that the consumer homebuying experience has in fact become more complicated and less empowering in the past 20 years – internet, Zestimates and all notwithstanding. We’re going to see more companies like Doorsteps try to make it better.

Speaking of sloppiness…

I am going through my 4th, and perhaps final, refinance. And while I generally resist the urge to let my personal real estate experiences color my work, I have to say this:

The mortgage process is a shitshow.

Seriously.

This has got to get better. Because most real estate transactions will always require borrowing. And right now, borrowing is messed up.

Because I am a “savvy consumer”, I went to the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace and contacted three lenders. Two never responded and one responded with information about a loan program I hadn’t asked about.

I then called a well-known direct lender known for low rates and fast closings and was bait-and-switched.

Finally I hooked up with a local mortgage broker, even though I knew this was not the most cost-effective option. Four weeks, three redisclosures, two creepy appraiser visits and innumerable emails later, I am still waiting.

Oh, and the loan processor I am dealing with uses brown comic sans is all her emails. Not kidding. I can only hope that the CFPB bans it.

Enjoy the weekend.