Redfin is back to offering refunds to homebuyers but this time under a new name.
Launched on Thursday, the brokerage’s Sign & Save program provides buyers who sign up to work with a Redfin agent before their second home tour — and who purchase a property with that agent within 180 days of signing the agreement — a refund of 0.25% to 0.5% of the purchase price of the house. The buyer will receive the refund at closing.
The company is touting the program as “a new way for consumers to get a better deal in real estate.”
“Redfin is putting money back in homebuyers’ pockets at a time when many are struggling with high prices and mortgage rates,” Jason Aleem, Redfin’s senior vice president of real estate operations, said in a statement. “The concept is simple: as a Sign & Save customer you get extra savings because we know you’re serious about buying a home, and we’re serious about getting you into one.”
With Sign & Save, at the end of a buyer’s first home tour, the Redfin agent will ask the buyer to sign a buyer agency agreement, which creates a formal working relationship between Redfin and the buyer. Clients who sign the agreement before going on a second home tour with the Redfin agent will get a refund when they close on their new home.
The Sign & Save refund starts at 0.25% of the purchase price, but it rises to 0.5% for luxury homebuyers who purchase a home through Redfin’s Premier service. The firm said the difference in refund is due to Redfin earning “a larger commission on a luxury home sale.”
Aleem said Redfin began piloting this program in a handful of cities in September. It found that Sign & Save buyers were “significantly more likely to close than other customers” and that they made offers with their Redfin agent “at a significantly higher rate than buyers in comparable markets.”
“We’re now rolling it out to dozens more markets because we believe it will help our agents close more sales and increase profits by identifying and rewarding homebuyers who are ready to make a purchase,” Aleem said.
The program is currently available to buyers in more than 50 major markets nationwide, including Austin, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C., as well as entire states like Louisiana and Rhode Island.
In July 2022, Redfin made the move to eliminate the commission refund it offered buyers in 22 markets. During the firm’s Q2 2022 earnings call, CEO Glenn Kelman said the brokerage was hoping to fully eliminate the refund as early as January 2023. But in the wake of the jury verdict in the Sitzer/Burnett commission lawsuit, many real estate industry professionals are concerned about homebuyers’ ability to afford representation if the practice of cooperative compensation in banned.
“Homebuyers are becoming more aware of the high cost of agent fees and less apologetic about negotiating commissions,” Aleem said. “We’ve helped usher in this new era of price transparency by advertising our low listing fee and publishing the buyers’ agent commission on every listing on our website. Sign & Save is another opportunity for our agents to explain the fees involved in the transaction.”