Redfin is launching Shared Search today, a new tool that makes it easier to collaborate with others while you’re looking for a new home.
When you’re searching for a new home, chances are you aren’t doing so alone. Chances are you are constantly sharing addresses, online links and other information about a prospective house with your spouse or significant other, maybe a family member and your agent. With Shared Search, Redfin is making all of this a bit easier.
When you visit the site today (and as far as I can see, this feature was already live over the weekend, too), you’ll be prompted to enter the email addresses of the people you want to collaborate with and their roles. Then, you can all see which houses you liked on the service and add comments on the web and through Redfin’s mobile apps.
Your designated advisors and agents will only be able to comment on the listings you marked as favorites. Redfin says that it will also allow agents to recommend homes to their clients at some point in the future. As the company notes in today’s announcement, this was a very deliberate choice. “Because of real estate’s history of salesiness, we’ve had to be careful about how to bring service from an agent into Shared Search, first facilitating discussions just with your spouse, but also giving Redfin Agents — or any agent you want to hear from — a channel to support your search, integrated throughout Redfin’s online tools.”
When I first read about this announcement, I assumed that this would be for collaborating with Redfin agents only. Getting you to buy or sell a home through Redfin’s agents is, after all, the company’s main business model. Interestingly, though, this is open for all agents, which feels like a bit of a departure for the company.
When I asked Redfin for more details about its plans for bringing outside agents into the mix, a spokesperson told me that these new features are “mostly about delighting customers and keeping them coming back.” In addition, the company noted that when more people use the site in general, more people also see the houses of Redfin’s home-selling clients. “Of course, once someone is using the Redfin website, we work hard to let them know about our service,” the spokesperson noted. “If they aren’t working with a Redfin agent this time, our goal is that they consider us the next time.”