Growth Business: Redfin Moves into REO Listings
It appears that former retail real estate agents aren't the only ones flocking to the booming REO business these days. Online real estate brokerage Redfin.com said Wednesday that it launched a new version of its Web service that combines bank-owned foreclosure and for-sale-by-owner listings, along with more traditional broker-listed properties from various local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) in the markets the company serves. In a press statement, Redfin said it is "the only major site to offer actionable foreclosure data free of charge." The move marks dot-com real estate maverick's move into highly competitive territory for foreclosure marketplace listings -- a market that includes RealtyTrac and Foreclosure.com, among others -- and signals a growing realization on the transactional side of the real estate business that foreclosures are likely to represent a large part of the real estate market for some time to come. "Other sites show foreclosures but then ask the user to pay to see their addresses; often these listings are marketed as foreclosures when in fact they are in pre-foreclosure, where the owner has received a notice of default but is still able to avert foreclosure," the company said. Redfin said it lists REO properties, including making their full address and bank contact details freely available; the company does not, however, show foreclosure properties scheduled to be sold at auction, often called pre-foreclosures. Many foreclosed properties can be bought directly from the bank prior to their being listed by a broker in the MLS, but buyers can only see them on most websites if and when the bank hires a broker. Redfin said user can now see the foreclosed properties on its Web site as soon as the bank takes possession, usually after an auction fails to attract a buyer willing to pay the amount owed on the mortgage. For more information, visit http://www.redfin.com.