We’ve got some big changes coming, folks.
SEATTLE, WA – April 1st, 2011 – Redfin, the internet-savvy online real estate firm, has announced an agreement to acquire the award-winning Silicon Valley real estate site Burbed and all its subsidiaries. Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman explained at an industry conference that their strategy of thinking outside the box meant they had to wander further than most people expected. “Customers appreciate our online tools and our agents who work on salary, plus our rebating part of the commission back to the customer,” he explained in an interview with Instant Equity Today. “But we’ve pretty much maxed out on finding clients who know they want to buy property. Those people tend to come to us. Now we’re going to find the people who say they don’t won’t to buy. We’ve found if we can identify those people and give them the right message, they tend to spend even more than the motivated buyer.”
Burbed, based in the renowned Gables’ End complex in Mountain View, CA, has generated quite a following among home aficionados who love to criticize the excesses of the housing market. “Anyone who would buy in this environment must be smoking something,” opined one regular commenter on the site. The typical fare found on Burbed features home listings that few would consider desirable. Part of the site’s appeal is its ability to demonstrate how out of whack pricing is with current market reality, although there is also a strong interest in seeing just how bad some of the offered property can be. And Redfin couldn’t help but notice that all Burbed listings come direct from Redfin’s search tools.
“Yesterday they had this place that a tree fell on,” enthused a regular reader in Gilroy, home of the internationally famous Gilroy Garlic Festival. The listing had three pictures of this house completely crushed by this humongous dead tree. Timber!” Other regulars described the typical Burbed listing as either an overpriced “crapbox,” or a house with no visual appeal whatsoever, or an even more overpriced house with serious flaws the seller was blind to.
Kelman said such strong passions among Burbed’s readership indicate a desire to own a house, and Redfin will find a way to get those people locked into discount-priced mortgages (also sold on Redfin). “Look, my orders are to get as many people obligated to my financial overlords for the next thirty years. This is the best way to find people who can buy but don’t want to. Hey, I’d prefer you not print what I just said.”
Burbed’s CEO and majority shareholder, who would not identify him/herself other than by “burbed,” admitted that the current site content creators might not enjoy working for their new owner. “But look, they can buy a million dollar place and save $12,500. That’s a lot more than I was paying them.” One of the content creators, when asked to comment on the news, unleashed a stream of profanity and turned her guitar amplifier up to 11.
Kelman also admitted part of his interest in buying the Burbed syndicate, which was accomplished via a 10% first mortgage, a 5% HELOC, and an undisclosed number of suitcases of cash, was so he could have first crack at any Real Bay Area listing featuring marble columns. “Damn, those are some of the best houses out there. I want one. I want to pinch myself and say I live here! How ridiculous is that?”
Both firms, coincidentally, were founded in February, 2006. Burbed will move its headquarters to Seattle but maintain its RBA presence. “I don’t’ see how we can update that RBA map if we don’t,” explained burbed, while dodging a falling piano. A Seattle version of the Burbed site is expected by the third quarter.