How BlueRoof is different from Redfin and BuySide

This afternoon I attended a Board of Realtor business luncheon and I spent some time explaining to my friends in the business what BlueRoof is all about. Naturally, people were curious about it because it is a new concept so I would like to explain a few things about the site, and in particular, how we are different from Redfin (which many people asked).

Lately I have been teaching the agency 1 & 2 courses for the real estate school and I tell the students that I teach the courses because I believe in agency and what it stands for. I don’t ask to receive a teachers salary for my time because that’s not why I teach. I just like the opportunity to discuss with these new agents entering the business how important agency is and how you always win if you put the client first.

BlueRoof is all about the consumer. Our business model is about empowering the consumer with choice. We connect buyers and sellers together in one place with a Realtor coordinating the transaction so everything goes smoothly. That sounds canned to me now because I’ve made that exact statement so many times, but it is the essence of what we are doing.

Buyers can find a home on their own and make an offer directly on BlueRoof.com  We do this because there are some people who just want to do the work of finding the home on their own. In that way we are similar to Redfin.

But we are a company of Realtors and even our staff members are licensed Realtors. If a buyer wants to have an agent help them right from the start, as most have and probably will, one of our licensed agents will help that client in the traditional way, including setting up showing schedules and showing them through the homes. This is how 99% of our clients choose to work, and why not? It doesn’t cost anything to have us help.

Another difference between us and Redfin, or any other real estate website that I know of, is that a major part of our model is to have FOR SALE BY OWNER (FSBO) homes on our website and help them sell also. Hopefully local agents will find this helpful because they can search for “Agent Friendly” FSBO homes, which means that the sellers are willing to pay a buyer agent commission. The For Sale By Owner market is still very small, so there won’t be many homes to look through, but we have them on BlueRoof so the consumer can see everything out there.

And agents will have more homes to show their clients while still knowing they will be compensated. And hopefully this will also be another source of comps for local appraisers trying to get an accurate value on a property, especially if they are having difficulty getting the value to come in on a property because of the appreciation we are seeing in our market right now.

Sellers can sell FSBO and market their home on our site FSBO for free. When they find a buyer (buyers can make an offer on the home on BlueRoof.com) they can have us coordinate the transaction for them for $1000. Most FSBO sellers do want an agent’s help, they just don’t want to pay the traditional fees.

A seller can also have a full MLS listing through BlueRoof-this includes full representation, placement in the MLS, a full professional virtual tour, high-end print marketing including magazine and newspaper ads, “Just Listed” postcards, showing coordination, and a professionally installed yard sign. We help them all the way through closing.

I think Redfin is good because it gives the buyer a new option. And we give the client a couple more options, and I think that’s a good thing. As I stated in my last post, this has been an exciting year for real estate. When I first learned about Redfin’s new business model I was a bit dissapointed because I had not finished putting BlueRoof together and they beat me to being “first to market” with the concept of making the offer online, but then I realized it was also a good thing because now I had an example to look at. I was also relieved that my concept has a few pieces that, as far as I know, nobody else has done.

The new business models that are coming out now, like Redfin, Zillow, Prosmart, Trulia, and BlueRoof are all ultimately good for the consumer because the consumer has more choice and, finally, real options outside of the traditional real estate mold. The large brokerages aren’t going away and that’s not a bad thing. If someone wants to pay a traditional fee so they can work with someone affiliated with a national brand, or they just like that agent, then more power to them. And for those who want the choices we offer…

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