Buy Your House Online And Save Thousands

The L.A. Times reports on a spanking-new way to buy your dream house while saving thousands on the commission. The catch: there’s no broker to help find the house.

The Van Eses are using Seattle-based Redfin, one of several new brokerage services that hope to revolutionize home buying by rebating part of their commissions back to buyers. The challenge is aimed at traditional firms that charge full commissions, which often total tens of thousands of dollars in today’s high-priced Southland market.

Redfin, which launches today in Southern California, offers rebates because buyers do much of the groundwork of finding homes via the Web. The brokerage handles the paperwork and conducts negotiations, usually over the phone or via e-mail or fax.

Redfin gives you access to the Multiple Listing Service…

…through which 75% of homes are sold. Once you’ve found your dream castle and prepared an offer, Redfin handles the messy negotiations and paperwork. You receive a 2% rebate on the commission for your efforts.

Redfin is currently limited to Seattle, San Francisco, and Southern California, but promises to head east “soon.” Don’t try this unless you have the time and determination to search listings, make calls, and view homes without a broker. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Web real estate firms shake up home economics [L.A. Times]