Redfin is a real estate company that utilizes technology to connect buyers and sellers with agents, list available homes, and even purchases properties itself.
The company, which is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, was founded in 2004 by David Eraker, David Selinger, and Michael Dougherty.
Redfin is primarily known for being a technology-enabled real estate brokerage. The agents that both a buyer and seller would deal with are employed by the company. Being supported by tech allows Redfin to offer substantially lower fees.
For example, interested buyers can do virtual tours in selected apartments. The real estate agents on Redfin, furthermore, possess dedicated profiles that display reviews, their specialties, and more. Another staple of the company’s success is its Redfin Estimate, which provides owners with a calculation of the market value of their homes.
Redfin, despite the fact that the founders were allegedly pushed out by early investors and went on to sue the company, has managed to become one of the leading real estate platforms in North America.
It is, for example, the fifth leading real estate brokerage in the United States by sales volume. In 2021, it accounted for 1.15 percent of all real estate sales in the country (equal to $52.5 billion in sales volume). Its website and mobile apps are accessed by close to 45 million visitors every month.
Two years earlier, Redfin realized that it could utilize the tropes of data it collects to expand into the iBuyer segment. The company now purchases homes directly from owners, which are then sold via its own platform. Across 2021, Redfin sold 1,450 homes for an average value around $550,000.
Overall revenues for the year were equal to $1.9 billion. Lastly, Redfin employs close to 6,000 people, many of whom are agents.
The methodology with which competitors of Redfin are ranked is based on publicly available information. Data points such as the revenue generated, the number of houses in its inventory or purchased in a given time period, sales volumes, monthly website visitors, number of agent partners, and anything else in between will be considered.
This analysis, in order to ensure comparability, looks at competitors within Redfin’s brokerage, iBuyer, as well as listing divisions. If you’re curious about how Redfin makes money, then have a look at the linked article.
Additionally, only competition within the United States and Canada will be taken into account given that those are the only two countries Redfin is available in.
Lastly, this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement of any company or service. It merely acts as a summary of all the competition that Redfin faces as of today.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 10 competitors of Redfin.
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, United States Founder(s): Lloyd Frink, Rich Barton Year Founded: 2005
Zillow is the leading real estate website in the United States. In 2021, it recorded 234 unique visitors in July and collected more than 10.2 billion site visits for the full year.
Many visitors are attracted to its platform due to Zillow’s Zestimate, now a frequent source of joy and desperation for many (upcoming) homeowners. The figure is an estimate of a home’s value and is comprised of public, MLS (multiple listing services), and user-submitted data.
Interestingly, Zillow founder Rich Barton allegedly offered to purchase Redfin in 2004 but Eraker ultimately declined. Barton, an experienced entrepreneur who had previously launched travel site Expedia, launched Zillow a year later.
Over the coming years, Zillow grew into the real estate powerhouse that it is today. The company went public back in July 2011 and has since scooped up competitors such as Trulia ($3.5 billion in July 2014) or Naked Apartments along the way.
Zillow, to capture an even bigger slice of the real estate pie, entered the iBuyer industry back in 2019 (with a service called Zillow Offers). After scooping up tens of thousands of homes, it had to admit defeat, though.
In November 2021, Zillow announced the shutdown of its iBuyer division while laying off 25 percent of its workforce. Nevertheless, for the time being, it did become a significant player. In 2021 alone, Zillow Offers generated close to $6 billion in revenue. Over 18,000 purchased homes had to be sold by the company as a result of the shutdown.
Zillow, regardless of its problems in the iBuyer niche, remains one of Redfin’s biggest competitors. It offers options to purchase, rent, and sell on top of home loans and the ability to directly work together with an agent. It also sells software tools to agents, which helps them increase sales.
In 2021, Zillow generated $8.1 billion in annual revenue, an increase of 144 percent. However, Offers alone caused losses of $881 million.
Headquarters: New York City, United States Founder(s): Mike Weiss, Ori Allon, Robert Reffkin, Ugo Di Girolamo Year Founded: 2012
Compass is the leading real estate brokerage in the United States, facilitating 225,000 transactions worth $254 billion in 2021 alone.
It has managed to obtain its leading position by providing real estate agents with industry-leading tools and education.
For example, it has developed a platform called Compass Collections, which allows agents and clients to collaborate in real-time. Users now refer to the platform as the Pinterest of Real Estate. Agents are, furthermore, provided with a plethora of data and reports, which helps them improve their performance.
Compass now works together with 26,000 agents across the United States where it’s available in 69 markets. A lot of its agent growth has come from acquiring multiple other real estate brokerages. In fact, it has spent more than $300 million on acquisitions since 2018.
The brokerage has, furthermore, expanded into new types of business lines. For example, Compass works together with athletes and celebrities to help them list or sell their homes. Moreover, it is now leading real estate development projects in the world’s leading markets including New York City.
The continued success has enabled Compass, which has raised $1.5 billion during its life as a startup, to go public in April 2021. The IPO netted Compass another $450 million. In 2021, the brokerage generated $6.42 billion in revenue. Its website, which lists all of its available homes, is visited six million times every month.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States Founder(s): Eric Wu, Ian Wong, JD Ross, Keith Rabois Year Founded: 2014
Opendoor is the pioneer and undisputed leader in the iBuyer industry. Co-founder Wu lives and breathes real estate. He began purchasing homes when he entered college. By the time he graduated from university, he owned around 25 homes in the Phoenix area. Prior to launching Opendoor, in 2013, he sold another real estate startup (RentAdvisor.com) to Apartment List.
Opendoor operates just like any other iBuyer in that it makes quick, non-binding cash offers on houses that fit certain parameters (built after 1960, single-family homes, etc.). Owners don’t need to sell their house to Opendoor but can simply list on its platform. Consequently, users can also purchase homes and apply for various financing options.
Opendoor went public in December 2020, which netted the company $1 billion. It raised another $1.5 billion during its time as a startup. In 2021, Opendoor generated $8 billion in revenue. Furthermore, the company purchased around 37,000 homes and sold close to 22,000 homes over the same time period.
Today, Opendoor operates in 50 markets across the United States. Its website (excluding the app) is visited 2.5 million times every month while the firm employs close to 3,000 people. In the iBuyer segment, Opendoor remains far ahead of Redfin and the rest of the pack – which will be covered later on this list.
4. Realogy Brokerage Group
Headquarters: Madison, New Jersey, United States Founder(s): Cendant Corporation Year Founded: 2006
Realogy is the second-biggest brokerage by sales volume in the United States (~ $244 billion), only trailing the previously mentioned Compass. Its reach, however, goes far beyond that. The company provides services in 117 countries and serves 50 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
It, furthermore, owns a plethora of other brokerages including Corcoran, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, and more. In May 2022, Realogy announced that it would rebrand Anywhere Real Estate Inc., which is expected to be completed later in the year.
Ten years earlier, Realogy went public on the NYSE, raising $1.08 billion in the process. Realogy currently employs nearly 200,000 independent agents in the United States and more than 130,000 abroad.
In September 2018, Realogy also expanded into the iBuyer segment via a partnership with BlackRock and KKR. For the fiscal year 2021, Realogy posted annual revenues of $8 billion, up $2 billion from the year prior.
5. HomeServices of America
Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Founder(s): Berkshire Hathaway Year Founded: 1998
HomeServices of America is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company helmed by legendary investor Warren Buffett.
Apart from being the third biggest real estate brokerage by sales volume (close to $200 billion in sales volume in 2021), it also offers a variety of other services such as mortgages, insurances, real estate franchising, relocation, and more.
At one point in time, HomeServices of America was actually the leading real estate brokerage in the United States. It employs around 45,000 agents and has sold 388,000 homes in 2021 alone.
Headquarters: Chandler, Arizona, United States Founder(s): Brian Bair, Jerry Coleman Year Founded: 2015
Offerpad is the second-biggest iBuyer behind Opendoor. Favorable market conditions have enabled the company to go public in September 2021. It completed a SPAC merger with Supernova Partners, which is led by former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.
The service is currently available in 16 states across the United States. For customers with limited time, Offerpad provides an EXPRESS offer within 24 hours that’s not binding until the customer commits to it.
Another option is Offerpad FLEX, which provides sellers with in-home agent support, value-enhancing renovations, flexible moving dates, and a plethora of other services.
Offerpad, much like other iBuyers, is focused on purchasing less volatile properties, namely the ones built after 1960, single-family homes, the land being smaller than one acre in size, among other factors.
In 2021, Offerpad also became the first pure-play iBuyer that managed to turn a profit for a full year. It posted a profit of $6.5 million. Offerpad purchased 9,023 homes and sold 6,373 over the same timespan (and has sold more than 100,000 homes since 2015).
Funding-wise, Offerpad is well equipped to compete with Redfin and other iBuyers. It has secured $355 million of equity funding and $650 million during its IPO. Another $1.5 billion in debt funding have been raised on top of that.
Despite some setbacks, which included the departure of its co-founder and co-CEO Jerry Coleman, Offerpad continues to grow at a rapid pace. Its website is visited over 400,000 times every month alone.
Headquarters: New York City, United States Founder(s): Jamie Glenn, Karan Sakhuja, Sean Black Year Founded: 2015
Knock is an iBuyer with a twist. Unlike many of the other companies on this list, it actually does mostly not purchase homes. Instead, facilitates trades between homeowners, a service it calls Home Swap.
Home owners first provide all relevant information. Knock then checks if they pre-qualify for a mortgage. If a buyer qualifies, he or she will be able to use the loan to purchase a new home. Knock will then list the buyer’s old home for sale. If the home is not sold within six months, it is purchased by Knock outright.
Therefore, the buyer pays for any mortgage payments, repairs, and other expenses during the process. Qualifying buyers can get loans of up to $3 million.
Knock is currently available in 75 markets in 15 states across the United States. It has raised $654 million in funding thus far. Unfortunately, the company does not disclose how many homes have been purchased and sold through its platform.
Despite those funding numbers, Knock had its fair share of problems as well. Founded by former Trulia executives, the company scrapped its plans to go public in March 2022. Additionally, it laid off 50 percent of its workforce, effectively reducing its size from 250 people to around 125.
Headquarters: Santa Clara, California, United States Founder(s): RealSelect, National Association of Realtors Year Founded: 1995
Realtor.com is another popular listing site. In fact, it became one of the pioneers in taking real estate online. The platform began life as the Realtor Information Network (RIN), a locked network offering proprietary information to members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
In 1996, Realtor.com opened up to the public, allowing anyone to post and browse listings. At one point, it was the largest site of its kind, boasting millions of listings. News Corp, in 2014, decided to purchase Realtor.com’s parent company Move Inc. (which RealSelect had rebranded into) for $950 million.
Realtor.com is now widely believed to be one of the three most visited real estate listing sites in the United States. Around 150 million people visit its website every month according to Similarweb.
The service has been able to grow revenues by 36 percent in 2021, largely driven by a heated real estate market. Realtor.com currently employs close to 3,000 people.
9. eXp Realty
Headquarters: Bellingham, Washington, United States Founder(s): Brian Culhane, Glenn Sanford Year Founded: 2009
The last brokerage on this list is eXp Realty, which is also one of the fastest-growing companies in the real estate industry. In 2021 alone, eXp Realty added 30,000 real estate agents and now employs over 81,000. It aims to cross 100,000 by the end of 2022.
This growth has translated to $3.8 billion in revenue and $156 billion in transaction volume over the same time span. For reference, Redfin placed fifth with an overall volume of $52 billion.
Apart from the United States, eXp also operates in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, India, and a dozen other countries across the globe. Its parent company, eXp World Holdings, went public back in May 2018.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States Founder(s): Alejandro Foung, Pete Flint, Sami Inkinen Year Founded: 2004
Trulia is another popular site that is projected to attract 23 million unique monthly visitors. One of the best-known sites in real estate, Trulia is a property listing site with which buyers and sellers can offer their homes for purchase, rent, or sale.
The founders, who met during their graduate studies at Stanford, launched the company after being frustrated with the lack of available information regarding homes. They managed to raise close to $35 million in venture funding and took the company public back in September 2012 (netting them another $102 million during the IPO).
A mere two years later, they sold Trulia to Zillow for $3.5 billion. Together, the two firms managed to become two of the most popular real estate platforms in the United States. Unfortunately, Zillow does not explicitly disclose revenue or profit figures for Trulia.