Redfin is expanding to Canada

Redfin will be expanding its brokerage services and listing database to Toronto and Vancouver by March 2019, the tech-powered, low-fee brokerage announced on Monday.

“Our goal is to make buying and selling Canadian homes more affordable, with Redfin agents who always put customers first,” Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said in a statement. “We believe Canadians will love our local full-service agents, low fees and on-demand home showings.”

In Canada, Redfin will operate under its 1 percent listing fee for home sellers – who will also typically cover the buyer’s agent’s commission, as is typical in the United States. The average commission in Canada is 2.5 percent on both sides of the deal, according to a report from CBC

The technology-powered brokerage says it’s able to charge less because it attracts most customers through its site and has built-in software to automate certain agent tasks and paperwork, which make the entire process more efficient. Agents at Redfin are also employees and not affiliated independent contractors — a departure compared to most other U.S. real estate brokerages. Their bonuses are based in part on customer satisfaction and not strictly dependent on sales volume.

Historical home sales data hasn’t always been the norm in Canada, however that changed in August as the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal from the Toronto Board of Realtors, the real estate trade organization in Canada’s biggest city, over its argument to keep historical home sales data and pending sales information restricted to only dues-paying members of its organization.

Virtual office websites, like Redfin’s listing portal, were legally granted the ability to publicly publish historical sales data, as a result of the ruling.

Blair Anderson. (Credit: Redfin)

Redfin agent listings will receive premier placement on its Canadian sister site, Redfin.ca and will also be displayed on Realtor.ca and other Canadian real estate websites through local multiple listing services.

Blair Anderson will lead Redfin’s operations in the greater Toronto area. He has more than a decade of experience in the industry and is a Toronto native.

“I was attracted to Redfin’s mission to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor and have experienced firsthand that it isn’t just a nice sound bite, it’s truly a mindset that is woven into the fabric of who we are as a company,” Anderson said in a statement. “I’m proud to introduce Redfin to Canada.”

“Canadian consumers are discerning and tech-savvy and I believe they will be blown away by Redfin’s unmatched combination of agent service, technology and value,” Anderson added. “Not only will we provide full real estate services for a lower fee, the Redfin model rewards customer service, so our agents are accountable to deliver the best outcome for their clients.”

Redfin’s move to bring its listing site to Canada follows in the footstep of rival listing giant Zillow, which officially launched in October and has steadily been growing in size due to partnerships with local brokerages.

Redfin will launch first in Toronto and Vancouver by March, but the company says other provinces and cities will follow.

Email Patrick Kearns

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