A national real estate brokerage has entered the Bellingham market with the lure of lower commission fees and a different way of buying and selling a home.
Redfin now has a handful of local agents in the area, offering a 1 percent fee for sellers who list with a Redfin agent. Typically sellers pay a 2 percent to 3 percent commission to an agent.
The Seattle-based company, which is in markets across the country, felt Bellingham would be a natural fit to expand into because of the close ties between the two areas, said Daria Haynes, a Redfin agent who moved to Bellingham from the Seattle area.
Along with the lower commission fee, Redfin does a few things different from a traditional brokerage, Haynes said. Agents are paid a base salary and receive bonuses based on surveys. The commission fee goes to the company and is redistributed to agents. This base salary system allows agents to focus more on customers and less on worrying about how to pay the bills during the slow months, she said.
The company also has a Redfin Refund program where it contributes a portion of the commission to the closing costs of the buyer. The refund uses a formula and is put on the home listing; the refund does not go up or down based on the final price.
The company operates without a brick-and-mortar office, focusing more on getting business through its website, redfin.com, and having agents make connections in an area. This helps lower costs and makes the agents more efficient, said Keena Bean, a public relations specialist for the company.