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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 3:22 am | Fog/Mist 53º


Redfin Real Estate Service Launches in Santa Barbara

Tech-savvy company puts smartphones and other devices at the center of the process to buy and sell homes

The Redfin real estate firm is moving into Santa Barbara County, bringing its tech-savvy agents who work for a salary, not commission.
The Redfin real estate firm is moving into Santa Barbara County, bringing its tech-savvy agents who work for a salary, not commission.  (Contributed photo)

A new home-buying and selling real estate firm is in town, but you won’t be able to walk into its office — at least not yet.

Redfin area manager John Venti doesn’t spend a lot of time in there anyway, more often than not working in the front seat of his car, from a coffee shop or at empty house with clients.

Redfin recently launched in Santa Barbara County, allowing those who want to buy or sell homes — from luxurious mansions to market-rate bungalows — to visit its website or download the mobile application to find an agent or a home in the neighborhood where they want to live.

Since launching its map-based search services in 2006 in Seattle and the Bay Area, Redfin says it served more than 50,000 customers nationwide, logged more than $25 billion in home sales and saved its clients over $300 million.

Redfin charges sellers a 1.5-percent listing fee instead of the typical 2.5 percent, offering home-selling services ranging from pricing and staging advice to professional photography and a host of mobile tools.

Redfin moved into Ventura County in 2014 with an eye on expansion into Santa Barbara County, Venti said.

“I’ve always been somebody who’s loved technology,” Venti said. “The other thing is the manner in which we get paid. We don’t make commission. We’re actually here to help people buy homes.”

Redfin agents receive a base salary and are paid regardless of closing deals, which Venti says frees up time for listening to clients instead of trying to find new business.

Every client is asked to review their agent — all of them are posted on Redfin’s website — who can earn bonuses based on customer satisfaction.

Venti, who has 25 years of real estate experience, joined Redfin five years ago from a Los Angeles family brokerage firm.

He and his wife, Mirella, also a licensed real estate agent with Redfin, are looking to buy their own home in Santa Barbara. They’re searching for a Redfin office space and new Redfin agents.

Redfin arrived in Santa Barbara around the same time as Compass, a fast-growing luxury real estate platform that says its innovative technology caters to agents’ needs because all listings are aggregated on one platform.

Venti said Redfin clients can instantly schedule a home tour with an agent on an iPhone, iPad or Android app or take a 3-D virtual walkthrough. They can also get automated listings based on where they want to live, a real-time guide through the closing process and more.

“The whole process is very engaging,” Venti said. “I’m very excited about this. We’re innovators. I get to focus on the people.”

Venti said locals have reached out to Redfin requesting service, so the company knows there’s demand in the area.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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