Posted by Willy Franzen on December 27, 2007. Jobs updated daily.
What’s the job market look like for a new college grad who wants to go into the real estate industry? Craptastic. Unless you’ve got a great connection or know something we don’t (which is actually pretty likely), you can head for another industry to get some work experience or you can take a stab at Real Estate 2.0 jobs. We’ve already looked at Zillow.com as one company that has insulated itself from sub-prime woes by breaking away from the traditional real estate business model, and today we’re going to look at another one. Redfin is an online real estate brokerage. They currently operate in only 7 markets, but they’re gaining ground by offering new services to people who think a realtor isn’t worth 6% of a house’s final sale price.
Zillow and Redfin are both Seattle based, online real estate companies, so there must be a big rivalry, right? Wrong! In fact Redfin has integrated Zillow’s features into their website. Still, people (like students at a college career fair) sometimes overlook Redfin’s revolutionary simple business model for the flash of Zillow and their Zestimates. Zillow will make you an informed real estate buyer or seller, but Redfin could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars in your next real estate transaction.
So what exactly is Redfin doing that makes them so different? They offer many of the same services that a traditional real estate agency offers (they list your house online, aid in negotiations and contingencies, and assist with paperwork), but their rate structure is completely different. If you’re selling a house, you can do it for a flat fee. If you’re buying, Redfin will refund 2/3 of their commission (which is up to 3% of the sale price, so the refund is up to 2%). So while most real estate transactions result in up to 6% of the sale price going to real estate agents who sometimes don’t do much to really help their clients (read Freakonomics for more on how your realtor’s interests may not align with yours). Beyond their game changing rate structure, Redfin also offers some really great web-based tools that are integrated within their house listings. Unfortunately, their listings aren’t compatible with Safari, which is lame. Although their website and their rate structure are what make Redfin a true threat to traditional real estate agents, it’s their Satisfaction Guarantee that shows how serious the threat is – we’ve certainly never heard of a traditional real estate agent guaranteeing that you’ll be happy with his or her service. How can something so simple be so innovative for an industry?
If you’re intrigued by Redfin’s offerings, you can look a little deeper and read about how Redfin works. If it’s their business model that interests you, why not read their comprehensive first-year report. You might also want to look at the posts on TechCrunch that are tagged for Redfin.
Redfin’s jobs website shows off a great college recruiting program. Typically, they hire for 4 entry-level positions: Test Engineer, Developer, Product Manager, and Marketing Analyst. It’s a great mix of jobs for students whether you have a computer science background or studied liberal arts.
Another great thing about Redfin is that they’re all over the blog thing. There are few better ways to gain insight into what a company does and what it’s like to work there than reading blogs written by real employees. One post that we especially enjoyed was this one on a college intern’s experience at Redfin. Well any company that has a great internship program should also be a great entry-level employer (that’s the whole point of interns, right?). Take a look at all of Redfin’s blogs: Development Blog, Los Angeles Blog, Orange County Blog, San Diego Blog, San Francisco Blog, and Seattle Blog.
We know your Mom thinks you should take a job with a well respected company with a long track record of success, because she thinks it’s safe. Well look who killed the real estate market. It was those big, conservative banks – the safest of the safe. She’ll tell you that start-ups are too risky for someone with nothing to fall back on. We think it’s too risky to miss out on the future of a company that is about to eat traditional real estate brokers’ lunch.
Note: On April 23rd we revisited entry-level jobs at Redfin.
Links to Help You Begin Your Research
Do you have any other ideas for real estate jobs that are insulated from the sub-prime “problem?” Leave a comment and tell us what you’ve come across.
We've identified Redfin as having career opportunities in the following categories: