Realtors have nothing to fear from TheRedPin.com, says Rokham Fard, one of the company’s co-founders. In fact, if you’re a sales rep in the Greater Toronto Area who enjoys providing great customer service but don’t like spending a lot of time prospecting and advertising, TheRedPin.com wants to talk to you.

A member of CREA, it was the first company to launch a virtual office website after the Toronto Real Estate Board’s controversial VOW policy was approved. Fard says the technology-based brokerage’s website offers up to 120 more data points on listings than are on realtor.ca. Combined with its extensive listings of new home and condominium offerings, TheRedPin says it has a database nearly 1.6 times the size of the MLS system in Toronto, making it the largest residential database in the GTA. It’s also updated several times a day, so new listings appear on the site much faster than on realtor.ca.

For all clients, the company offers 25 per cent of its commission as cash back, but Fard says it is not a discount brokerage. It is a full-service firm, offering everything a homebuyer needs to guide them through the negotiation and purchase of a home.

“We’re a customer experience company – I wouldn’t even call it a brokerage,” says TheRedPin.com’s broker of record Tarik Gidamy. “We’re trying to be really different from other brokerages.”



The customer’s experience begins on the website, where 94 per cent of homebuyers begin their real estate search, says the company. “We believe in the freedom of information and in providing you with tools and data, so you can do your own searches and decide when is the right time to reach out to our experts for their advice and support,” says TheRedPin.com. Customers sign up for access to listings “with far more data than they could find anywhere else,”  including school rankings and ratings, days on the market and more than 100,000 local businesses linked up to each listing.

If clients are interested in buying a new home or condo, there’s access to “VIP listings and exclusive preconstruction condo projects in the GTA with all of their floor plans before anybody else,” the company says.

In being first to offer a VOW, “we wanted to make a statement that we are a technology company that is re-engineering the industry. We want to be first in all aspects, and keep coming out with stuff before everyone else does,” says Gidamy. “There will be other online players, but it’s all about execution.”

TREB’s VOW policies are the subject of a complaint by the federal Competition Bureau, scheduled to be heard this fall. The bureau says the policy discriminates against brokers with web-based business models by not allowing certain information to be uploaded to the Internet. But not everyone in the industry is up-to-date with how the current VOW policies work, says Gidamy.

Gidamy says some brokers have asked him to remove their listings from the site. “They are doing their clients a disservice by taking a listing and telling the client they will give their property the most exposure anywhere, and then asking us to take them down.” But he says many other top Realtors know that “we will never take away what they have” and they are “all for what we are doing.”

The firm is actively recruiting new agents. Sales reps are not paid commissions – they receive a salary and get a bonus if the customer reports 100-per-cent satisfaction with the way the deal goes down.

“I’m looking for people who actually believe in the art of selling and like selling homes and want to give good customer service,” says Gidamy. “Every agent has their own back-end person here to provide research and analysis. They have complete tech support and amazing tools in order to offer customer service.”

While the majority of TheRedPin.com’s work is still on the new-home and condo side, Gidamy is confident the resale side will grow as more people become aware of the benefits the company offers.

While currently focussed on the GTA, Gidamy says the company plans to expand to other Canadian cities.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. To whom it may concern—-
    RECO does nothing, zero— regarding complaints– Total crap—
    Who the hell is going to send in formal complaints in writing about fellow Realtors ?? We all work together — LOL–
    Misleading marketing, unethical agents — all part of the Industry–and, they could care less– all this baloney about " I'll buy your house if it's not sold in 90 days "– " List with me and I'll bring you an offer for " Cold Hard Cash " within 48 hours of listing — " Number one Realtor in XXX "— Yea, right !!!
    That is probably why the Competition Bureau was attracted to the Industry–
    Next time, I'll tell you what I really think

  2. We all have real estate boards that will fine realtors who break the rules. So report everything you see that breaks the rules, be sure to print the page, got to have a paper copy. Then they will have to provide proof to back up what they say or pay the big fines.

  3. Dear Marsha C:
    The reason why Comfree and PropertyGuys are raking in the cash is that they mislead the buying public with ultra low "fees" to market their property, (being a webhost that happens to supply real estate signs), and get paid good, bad, or indifferent for "Non Performance". I'd love to make money for not being successful. I have to do what I said I was going to do to be paid. They don't. The "Webhosts" are smart enough to make the amount they siphon off of each transaction small enough, so that when the public get fed up with their lack of performance, they just walk away in disgust and write it off as a bad experience, (especially when you find that most of the "Webhosts" sales are from Realtors knocking on sellers doors with buyers and still having to pay commission). The buying public can be led almost anywhere with the concept of FREE/ DISCOUNT, (or a diluted version of a professional). You want to get someones attention, "hit em in the pocketbook". Just to make an interesting point. It's important to note that the Commissioner of the Competition Burea discovered this hotbed of consumer dissatisfaction with the real estate industry that nobody else saw. I was a Realtor back then and I don't remember hearing anything about it. Then she came to the rescue to slay the nasty dragon. What a hero. Think about this, can you name the previous Commissioner, or even any other Commissioner that ever held that position. Betcha can't. Kind of becoming high profile isn't she. I wonder if she's looking for a career somewhere??? Create a stink and then fix it. Very Smart Move. Unfortunately it's all at ours, and the buying publics expense. Let's destroy a great system that works for personall advancement. Bummer!!.

    • Graham :

      I take your point that Ms Atkien is likely looking to improve her political profile.

      However Ms Atkien is a smart lady and I am contending that she would not have chosen the real estate industry to earn her political brownie points if she hadn't done her research to know this subject would resonate with the general public (a la Karl Roves) and give her the best optics….

      Ok if I take your point that the system was great….then where is CREA and the various real estate boards when Ms Atkien makes statements like…. "“Today, consumers are demanding a greater selection of service and pricing options when buying or selling their homes…” ?

      CREA and its lobby group(s) should be able to provide the statistics and the comprehensive studies and the public opinion polls to show that consumers are mostly satisfied with the real estate industry as is, and that Ms Atkien's campaign is much ado about nothing. CREA collects enough in fees from Realtors to be able to do that. God knows we as a society love quoting from statistics and public opinion polls and much as we love the concept of FREE/DISCOUNT.

      I am not going to debate about whether not private listing companies such as ComFree or Property Guys are misleading sellers, but it seems to me that the fact that so many sellers are turning to these companies in droves is an indication of 'some thing' in the real estate industry in general….I don't think this 'thing' can simply be reduced to a good or even misleading advertising campaigns on the part of these FSBO listing companies.

      To relate this to the article and my intial post, I'd like to see more innovation in the industry (within the current rules and regulations of course) and less waxing and waning about the good old days…..we live in the age of Costco and the public is conditioned to want more for less.

  4. We don't hear about stock brokers controlling access to stock quotes and company information because that isn't their focus: they trade stocks. By the same token, agents should be focusing on deals: you trade real property.

    Agents should focus on their certification and knowledge and not worry about controlling information. It is the trader's license that will always be the competitive advantage over private sales.

    This doesn't mean that the information doesn't have a monetary value, it does, but it is another topic.

    • INfomration supply asside – Stock brokers worth their salt work solely on commission not a stipend with bonus – having said that what would be the amount of salary that would cause a great REALTOR to move to wages rather than commission and a "possible" bonus? Not any REALTOR I would want working for me. IMO
      Having said that – If infomation is king I would appreciate RedPin publishing their "salary" amounts to help us all evaluate the business model.

  5. Theredpin.com is great example of innovation in the real estate industry

    Ross K…..instead of taking the time to learn about the rules and regulations of the real estate industry in order to nitpick what other agents are doing, how about using your knowlege and experience to innovate!

    Clearly the general public is dissatisfied with the real estate industry and wants something more.

    Would love to read an article about Ross K doing something exciting, new and within Rebba and CREA rules……maybe with Carolyne L as a partner

    • Hey Marsha, (first it's posts like these that keep me invigorated and reminded why I love this business)

      Could you provide me with the survey or questionnaire or 3rd party study, from anywhere in any part of Canada in any year ever, that can show any indication at all that the "public is dissatisfied with the real estate industry and wants something more". Actually I think Google Search would also appreciate you updating their search results on this topic because it currently is blank.

      Hey try a Google News search on "dissatisfaction with realtor". What only 2 results???? That can't be true, surely some consumer group in North America has done at least a single survey that proves your point :)

      I think you are confusing what the web entreprenuers state and what the facts are.

      Theredpin.com is innovation???…come on Marsha quit being devils advocate, we know you love us. Anyone with the ability to compose a word doc, can use open source software, meaning it's FREE, to replicate theredpin.com's VOW component in a couple of hours. Sites supported by such software are found all over the U.S. including sites from the Regional MLS Systems themselves.

      What innovation…posting a Buyer Discount Offer beside every TREB sourced listing without the Listing Agents permission.

      Actually although TheREDPin.com has TREB permission to use TREB posted MLS listings, do they have the legal right to the copyrights of those listings that would allow for these discounts to be posted alongside those listings. Let's just say I am a big guy, maybe the #1 Team with RE/MAX in T.O. and my Seller is TICKED OFF because they just found out TheREDPin.com is advertising a commission reduction without their approval for their own home? HMMMM. I suspect contract law may have something more to say about this, outside the confines of REBBA, TREB and CREA.

    • Thank you for the compliment, Marsha C. I'm sure your own personal contribution would make it a desireable and genuine tripartite effort.

      Clearly you are right: the public does want something more, but they do not want risque platitudes that endanger their 'legal' position… nor would it be right and proper to mislead the public into thinking a true blueblood REALTOR(r) approves of such.

      Of course it is a given and foregone conclusion that those ugly rules and regs would be front and centre, regardless of nitpicking you may want our group effort to engage in…

      You see, there is no choice in that matter; neither Ross K nor I made/make them, or in actual fact the rules and regs may be quite different than the ones currently carved in stone, that likely will outlive us all, at the rate things are progressing [not] – (said in jest).

      I only made a thumbs down notation because I disagree with your first sentence, but that is just a personal opinion, not to offend your sense of style.

      Have a nice day.

      Sincerely,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Eyes on the Net to Marsha:

      Would your comment equal: inducement or enticement "not" to do business with the listing company (as chosen by the homeowner)? Is that what you are alluding to? Hmmm… you could have a good point…

      Just askin'

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • What's the different between their discount offer and any other "discount" buyers agent offering their clients some cash-back deal on closing?
      None… it's the same offer.

    • Eyes on the Net:

      My bad!

      When I hear the Commissioner of the Competition Bureau make statements like… "Today, consumers are demanding a greater selection of service and pricing options when buying or selling their homes…" coupled with the fact that companies such as Comfree, Property Guys and other businesses of similar ilk are raking in the cash on the premise that one can sell their home without a Realtor, sorta led me to the conclusion that there was at least some degree of consumer dissastisfaction with the real estate industry.

      I am now curious, does CREA have any numbers on public opinion or public satisfaction with Realtors? That would be interesting to see.

      Your contract related question at the end of your post was likely not directed to me but I will take a stab at answering it…..

      There is no contract issue:

      Seller contracts with Brokerage A to sell the house with 2% going to the buyer agent.

      Brokerage B contracts with Brokerage A to buy house on behalf of buyer in exchange for 2% compensation.

      Brokerage B (or in some cases simply salesperson of Brokerage B) contract with buyer to get some sort of rebate say 1%

      Seller contracted to offer 2% commission to buyer's agent and does not have legal right to dictate what the buyer's agent can and cannot do with the compensation….whether give it someone or burn it in a pile.

      It is no different than when Realtors buy a home for their own personal use. The seller is likely annoyed that the buyer of the house will get paid at the end of the transaction.

    • Marsha C:

      "Ross K…..instead of taking the time to learn about the rules and regulations of the real estate industry in order to nitpick what other agents are doing, how about using your knowlege and experience to innovate!"

      He's way ahead of you Marsha C.

  6. If one thinks theredfin has crossed the line re.reco ..why not make a call and put in a complaint ?
    Yet us know how that goes for you with our good friends at reco .
    Also Frank ,why would one spend so much time monitoring blogging issues that do not directly impact you ?
    Personally I do not find theredfin or their biz model a threat to my business after all the times are a changin
    Jim S.
    http//www.straughan.ca

  7. I have met Ross on several occasions and had in depth talks. He certainly knows his stuff. If may be that some of the language he uses is sensational or inflamatory but when trying to know down bogus claims (redpin) it is sometimes necessary to get peoples attention. I have every faith he can back it up. I notice Redpin is not on this site defending itself. They do not affect me and my market but it is outrageous that they can claim how the "differ " from other brokerages. Ethics are absent.
    In their check box they say their company has no sales pressure all others do. That they rebate on new condos and no others do. That they have group buying power (whatever that is) and no others do. That is just wrong. Many other brokerages offer rebates and discounts, I do not "pressure" my clients etc. Their broker of record in your article says :We’re a customer experience company – I wouldn’t even call it a brokerage,” What? You are representing that you are not really a brokerage? Ethics? Truth in advertising Apparently, They don't need no stinkin' ethics.

  8. Dear Fellow Realtors:

    Having these individuals tell us that "we have nothing to fear" is equivalent to having a shark look you in the eye and saying the same thing. We have the data and the professionalism that they want. They would cease to exist without access to the lifeblood of our industry, the very thing that they will eventually use to professionally cut our throats. They don't create this information, they just want access to it. Zoocasa is the same thing, except in a different package, and are desperately craving credability and acceptance from us. These guys are like "death by a thousand cuts".

    • Graham – we need not worry about any business model unlike our own. Especially one that puts what must ne a huge "nut" to crack up front. As a 40 year plus member of CREA and a Mortgage broker for even longer I can attest to many such business models like this coming into play. The information stream is the only difference between "then" and now. NON of them survived with crushing overhead and almost all successful firms have independent sales people not employees.
      If need be any successful REALTOR in your office can meet the odd competitive quote from such firms and hardly feel the loss. Those will be so few and far between that the death by a thousand cuts will not be felt by us the professional REALTORS.
      I wish them as I do when any new business starts up – good luck.

    • I think there are a lot of people on here with their heads stuck in the sand.
      These guys (Redpin) are giving people something they (a) want and (b) cannot obtain currently.
      Open, flexible access to information is what buyers and sellers want..They don't want to email their agent and ask "how long has this place been on the market"? "What did it sell for 3 years ago"? Buyers and sellers just want the information so they can make their own assessments about things. Sure they need the expertise of an experienced agent to help them navigate the procedures, give them guidance and avoid the pitfalls… but not to simply to be the "keepers of the information". Go to lawhelpontario.org.. you can get all the legal information you need freely accessible to learn how to sue someone or defend yourself in court without a lawyer. Does that mean we don't need lawyers? Of course not. Are lawyers trying to keep all this information a secret so the public is forced to hire them? No… they are putting it out there free of charge to help people who for one reason or another are not using a lawyer.And in the process they are building goodwill with the public. Which is what we as agents should be doing.

  9. Where do you guys get the facts to back up statements like these? Just wondering…
    Carolyne L re Ross K "He is more well-educated than many (no – make that ‘most’) in the industry, and not just speaking locally."
    Ross: "We are the most technologically vested professionals in Canada and as REALTORS we lead the world".

  10. Hey Frank L.,

    I know you from propertyportalwatch.com where you and your web friends clear disrespect and insults of REALTORS is on clear display. GEE, didn't theredpin.com win a propertyportalwatch.com award from that group.

    It is nice to see the U.S. webheads, supporting theREDPin because is a great wakeup call to Canadians and a warning.

    I know you are more familiar with our U.S. cousins, but the Canadian based REALTORS are a little different. We are the most technologically vested professionals in Canada and as REALTORS we lead the world, so your comments here are directed to an educated professional, not the so called "nitwits" you guys laugh about behind own backs in your formerly private forums.

    And just to remind FRANK of the power of REALTORS I remind him of our action last June in Australia, where that countries privately owned and #1 property portal (70% traffic share btw Canadians) suffered from a couple of our well placed interviews.
    " The news immediately wiped off 5% or $80m from REA’s market cap – ouch!" as reported by your buddies at propertyportalwatch.

    The days of pushing the best of Canadian REALTORS around is over. Our "niceness" is being replace with "resolve".

    • You are correct Ross K, he is on many popular forums in the U.S. and his points are ……..familiar, and not relevant to Ontario law… and he has little understanding of RECO or the Privacy Act et al. I could keep going but hey its Saturday so off to have fun with the family. Keep up the good work Ross K!

    • Most interesting Ross.

      Included in the piece you reference on Frank L's site pertaining to challenging the industry leader was:

      "One way of doing this is to proactively degrade the quality of listings on the market leader’s site. Now this is challenging but doable. It would require the industry as a whole (or large portions) to only submit say four photos or perhaps no price for their listings the market leading site, while at the same time having more photos and the price on the new industry site. This would, over time, have the impact of migrating traffic from one site to the other. However, you would have to be organised and patient."

      Seems ot me CREA is considering doing just that to its own site.

    • PED,

      What you have brought to the surface here from these type of websites, is partially right but it takes a series of surrounding technologies and good internet business practices along with the insider knowledge about national legislation, Association rules and Polices, provincial legislation, trademark useage, international treaties on trademark and copyrights, PIPEDIA issues, etc. to be able to implement an unstoppable revolution.

      What guys like Frank and websites like Zoocasa or TheREDPin don't understand is that we don't have to allow them to circumvent the rules and harm our profession.

      It's really time some of us start playing by the same rules these guys are because CREA has already said it is OK to do so. They actually encourage it in their new DDF policies.

  11. TheREDPIN is the first example of what T.O. REALTORS will soon be faced with and as you can see in their own words, "Gidamy says the company plans to expand to other Canadian cities", they are simply waiting on the DDF to launch nationally.

    I can go on and on why TREB and CREA can't stop these guys from stealing leads from every other TREB member but why waste time when we can just put them out of business.
    Viewpoint.ca has been doing the REDPIN thing in Halifax for a couple of years and there you can see REDPINS real reason for existence, which is blackmail REALTORS to get their own leads and become the Zillow of Canada.

    TheREDPin guys seem to forget they no longer are just property portal guys but are now registered REALTORS subject to RECO. False and misleading statements are punishable by provincial law not subject to the kind eye of the CB.

    Look in this article for misleading and false statements:
    1) First company to launch a VOW in TREB- THAT'S BLATANTLY FALSE
    2) Database 1.6 times greater than realtor.ca- OW OW! this is against the VOW rules.
    3) It is not as complete as realtor.ca because they don't have access to TO listings sourced from Ontario's other 40 boards- Again they are BLATANTLY FALSE
    4) We give " Discounts" but we aren't Discount Brokerage-FALSE by their own words.
    5) What is their definition of Full Service- I believe this is misleading as they do not offer meet my definition of Full Service
    6) "we are a technology company"- they now in print can be stopped from getting the DDF feed as this is explicitly not allowed in the rules
    7) TheREDPin will not have to remove other brokerage listings when the DDF launches and even now with the TREB VOW this would be seen as an anti-competitive practice and TheREDPin could sue TREB or the requesting brokerage for damages

    Is RECO reading REM? For this brokerage I hope not.

    • While I can understand the concern that Ross has about brokerages competing against dot-com based companies simplifying the purchasing process, I really can't help but feel that his statements are little more than inflammatory. I reside in the US but follow numerous realty blogs and news sources. Ross reminds me a little of chicken little with his post.

      He claims that Theredpin was not first to launch a VOW, but does not go on to provide what he's basing that statement on. It's a little like saying Ross has never sold a property in his life. I don't actually know if he has or not, but that's ok, I'll say it regardless.

      Lets also add, Ross perhaps should stick to realty and forget journalism as a fall back. While it is certainly impossible that they hold 1.6 times more listings than realtor.ca, I do believe they specifically said Toronto, not all of Canada. I suppose its easy to miss the "Toronto & GTA" statement at the top of their homepage.

      Your definition of full service clearly involves some under the table work. Near as I can tell, they offer everything I as a buyer would need in order to purchase or list a property. Not to worry, I believe there are agencies in your city which may be able to provide these missing 'services' for you.

      I must admit I am not entirely up to speed on the DDF. I do however believe (if I'm not mistaken), they are a licensed brokerage; being a dot-com is not a reason for being penalized. Ross I think I have an abacus somewhere you can have.

      Calling someone anti-competitive because you are too inept, too lazy, or too underfunded (or all of the above?) to innovate, does not make it so. Accusing someone of blackmail publicly I believe qualifies as defamation of character, perhaps liable at the very least? Again (like everything else in his post) without providing any examples of this happening.

      All the above said, I would be more than happy to eat crow should Ross actually be able to provide some sort of solid 'evidence' other than supposition and opinion based facts.

      In short, Mr Ross K's post reads little more than, "mine is bigger than yours". Tiresome and boring.

      Regards,
      Frank
      San Jose, CA

    • Ross K has given up countless hours of personal time and has developed a greater understanding than most re the rules and regs that relate to the industry in the Province of ON and in general, the nation.

      Best that people should take what he says seriously. Not only that, he often does quote chapter and verse re the rules and regs and seems to know much of it off by heart when asked for backup information. He is more well-educated than many (no – make that 'most') in the industry, and not just speaking locally.

      I don't know him personally but I can tell you one thing: if I were not in the business for thirty years I would want someone with his expertise to be on my side of the courtroom, believe me, having discovered his history in the industry, and seeing pretty much daily how he operates.

      So, enough with the stones-throwing. When he speaks: Listen. Take him seriously. He has worked quietly behind the scenes for years. Now he speaks. If there were more colleagues out there who put in such a personal-time effort and understanding of the inner workings, we might not have the problems that abound today.

      Sincerely and respectfully, but since you are not in the business, Frank L, and live in California, I would almost want to say people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I, for one would never purport to comment on or criticize how my many business friends and colleagues Stateside operate and/or do their day to day business. That's stepping way over the line (even if it is the 49th).

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

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