Author Topic: First-time homebuyers--Redfin to find a fixer upper?  (Read 2148 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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First-time homebuyers--Redfin to find a fixer upper?
« on: September 13, 2016, 03:42:53 PM »
Hi everyone.  My husband and I are planning to purchase our first home in Chicago (the city, not suburbs) in the next year and are interested in finding an ugly house that we can make pretty and efficient--aka, a fixer upper.  I am open to a multi-unit property and having tenants to help us increase our stash, but my husband needs a little convincing on this front. 

From everything I've read/heard, I really like the business model of Redfin and would like to use their service for a variety of reasons (primarily because of the DIY-nature of the house search process), but I'm a little nervous that the model wouldn't provide us very much support as we look for a property to fix up.  We don't want a total teardown or something that needs to be completely gutted right away, but have no problems knocking down walls eventually, living with old/ugly rooms for a while, tearing out bathrooms, etc. 

My question for this group is: do you think a Redfin agent would provide us the adequate level of support that we need to find a fixer upper that's not a total gut job, or would a traditional agent be better in this situation?  Do you have any suggestions for finding an agent who's willing to work with us in finding a fixer upper? 

Thanks in advance for any help--I haven't posted on the forums before but am a long time MMM fan(atic). 



  • Pencil Stache
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Re: First-time homebuyers--Redfin to find a fixer upper?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2016, 04:09:55 PM »
We've used Redfin in the past, as you aren't paying their commission, the sellers are, they only get paid if you find a house if you use them for a buyers agent.   They were no better or no worse then any other buyers agent we've ever had.  Same with when we used them to sell, no better, no worse, but cheaper.   Frankly I've met VERY few realtors in many years of buying and selling houses that I can say put in the effort that would come close to what they got paid. 


  • Stubble
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Re: First-time homebuyers--Redfin to find a fixer upper?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2016, 12:39:19 PM »
We also used Redfin a few months ago to buy a house. Overall very positive experience. When I requested to switch agents there was no problem. The new agent was great and provided a lot of support. Like everywhere it really depends on the people you are working with. I am sure at Redfin there are also good and bad agents. We were very lucky with them.


  • Bristles
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Re: First-time homebuyers--Redfin to find a fixer upper?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2016, 01:31:27 PM »
Redfin's 'seller' business model only works with homes over 200k+, or even higher depending on your region.  I was hoping to use them to sell my home, but we aren't worth that much!

I'm not sure about their model for buyers, but you might lock yourself out of the lower end of the market by using them.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: First-time homebuyers--Redfin to find a fixer upper?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 09:48:18 PM »
You could try a HUD repo. Repos tend to be cheap and many of them are indeed fixer uppers. HUD has a few advantages over bank repos:

o  All listings are centralized on one site.

o  Sealed bids - you don't get caught up in the emotion of raising your original bid to "win" the auction.

o  They provide a cursory property inspection report, and while they may miss things, they don't hide things. Get your own inspector, of course.

o  HUD favors owner occupants over investors. If you will live in the house, and your bid meets their acceptable minimum (a number that they keep to themselves, but tends to be a percentage of the asking list price), you will get the house even if a investor bids more than you.

The downsides:
o  The selection tends to be small. For example, I see that there are only 91 properties currently listed for Cook County, IL.

o  At least in my area, some of the properties sell for more than the list price.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2016, 09:50:08 PM by FIRE me »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: First-time homebuyers--Redfin to find a fixer upper?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2016, 03:51:08 PM »
Thanks, everyone!  We have started doing some more serious research recently and this is all really helpful information.  Chicago tends to be expensive so we'll be spending over 200K...especially if we end up looking for a multi-unit property.  I think the point on there being good and bad agents everywhere is crucial--I know it's a long shot but if anyone has any recommendations for agents who work with the north and west sides of Chicago, send them my way!