An interesting job post came across Twitter today from Redfin looking for a new General Counsel. Nothing unusual about hiring for that role, but embedded in the job description was a pretty clear message that Redfin is ready to directly offer their own mortgage, title and escrow services. Here is the sentence:
We operate separate legal entities to offer our customers lending, title and escrow services.
I haven’t seen them offering or talking about these services yet, but the intent looks pretty clear that this is coming shortly or already underway. They did tinker with being a mortgage broker in Seattle, but shuttered the service in 2008 when they laid folks off. It looks like they’ve kept Redfin Mortgage, Inc. alive for this purpose.
It is not an entirely surprising move. Many large brokerages start mortgage or escrow divisions to extract more $$/transaction, though many of them do so through joint ventures so that they don’t have to run the services directly. Interesting that this comes on the heels of their new directory of 3rd party providers that offer these same services, just announced this week.
They’ve talked for years about wanting to improve and integrate the lending and escrow process with their home buying service, but it looks like perhaps they are ready to jump in. Whether they are big enough to sustain those efforts remains an open question. I’m guessing that whatever they offer will be tuned to their own customer base, and many in the industry would be hesitant to refer their clients to a Redfin-owned service. It is a tough road to be 100% reliant on your own buyers and sellers if you intend to offer loans, title or escrow.
Here is the job posting that came across today: