Seattle-based Redfin.com was one of the first real estate mashups to employ a map interface as a primary navigation tool for real-estate search. The site was quickly joined by other real-estate mashups, HousingMaps.com (the early poster child for mashups), HomePages.com, Trulia and, more recently, Zillow.
Today Redfin announced that it was expanding to other markets and that it had secured a round of $8 million in venture capital funding, lead by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen?s Vulcan Capital.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new developments is that the business model has changed. Most real estate listings sites are ad supported, but Redfin is becoming a discount broker-agent and will actually help individuals buy and sell homes for reduced fees and commissions, even providing rebates to buyers (they say as much as $10,000 on a $500,000 sale). This is similar to ZipRealty?s discount broker model.
Redfin is apparently also opening local real estate offices, a move that IAC?s RealEstate.com also recently made.