3 Oceans Real Estate, A Boutique Real Estate Brokerage Serving the San Francisco Bay Area header image 2

Another Media Coup for Glenn Kelman and Redfin

Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. ()

March 18th, 2007 · 1 Comment

The Seattle guys are on a roll…a post in today’s Redfin blog alerted me to today’s San Francisco Chronicle, which has a feature article on Redfin and Glenn Kelman.

While much of it is stuff we’ve all heard before — Glenn didn’t set out to become an industry maverick, the Redfin model isn’t new, blah blah blah — two specific items stood out for me.

First, it appears Redfin agents are paid “$60,000 or more [emphasis mine] based on their performance, which is tied to customer service rather than the number of sales completed.” For Rosemary Vo and the other agents, I can only hope that the “or more” bit is “a lot more.” I’m assuming this means a base salary of $60,000 a year, plus performance-based bonuses. If these bonuses equal a full 100%, that would mean a total compensation package of $120,000 — not enough to live a comfortable middle class life in the Bay Area, but certainly more than most agents net after paying their broker cut and other expenses.

[3/20 update:  Just received an anonymous email tip that my estimates for Redfin agent pay are waaaaay off.  My source says the base is $50K and the bonus is $20K.  Not knowing who this person is, or their affiliation — if any — with Redfin, I can’t vouch for the accuracy of these numbers.  Anybody else have an idea?]


At the same time, his company also must play by the industry’s rules or risk losing access to the vital database of home listings that is the heart of Redfin’s service.

“It’s our third rail,” Kelman said. “We have no backup. If we lose access to the feed, game over.”

Many of us agree that the protectionist rules of most MLS’s are antiquated, but breaking these rules is indeed playing with fire. I personally crossed the line once while conducting a several-month-long experiment with Google Base, but when I got caught, I got caught good. Ouch.

Redfin was displaying information on sold content well before our local MLS changed the rules and made that legal, and it’s still against the MLS rules to display the days on market of a property — which is exactly what Redfin does. Well, not exactly…technically what Redfin displays is something like “Days on Site” — ie the number of days which a property has been displayed on the Redfin site. And hey, if that number by complete coincidence happens to be the same as the days on market number 99.9% of the time, who’s complaining?
Stupid rules lead to creative interpretation.

Tags: , , , , ,
Possibly related posts

Tags: Alternative business models · Glenn Kelman · Industry · Real estate · Redfin · San Francisco Chronicle

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Virginia Beach Vince // Jun 12, 2007 at 12:12 pm


    Great article. I’ve been searching for a few days trying to find the Salary offered to a Redfin agent. Something that caught my attention with the MLS regulations and the fact that “playing with fire” could have the Refin model placed under a bankruptcy. It’s interesting to note that I have recently put together some research on this industry debate and have found that the FTC is keeping a close eye on the local MLS boards and NAR. I’m very passionate about this changing real estate market and would love to be able to follow up with you on any findings that you may come across. It’s been reported that the other pioneer BuySideRealty, based in Chicago is offering up a salary of 35,000-45,000 a year with 25% bonuses based on performance and customer service. With all the debate and a local MLS system that I have to deal with on day to day bases, I’ve also decided to change the feel of my website. Instead of taking it as a personal model, I’m going to try and develop my own local MLS to let local Realtors and FSBO’s advertise their home for free on my site that receives a decent amount of traffic and is ranked #1 on Yahoo! and MSN for very competitive keywords. Looking forward to the communications with 3 Oceans!


    Vincent Talerico

Leave a Comment