Will you read Redfin’s notes?

RedfinRedfin revealed its latest upgrade this morning — notes from Redfin agents appended to the listings they’ve toured. “With each new home toured, Redfin’s online tools prompt the agent hosting the tour for free-form comments to share with customers, along with a form for cataloging key features such as whether the listing has plenty of tour activity, or an open floor plan, or a big backyard,” says the announcement at the company’s blog. Each comment includes the agent’s name and the number of times he or she has toured the home.

More than 13,000 properties already have been reviewed, Redfin says. It’s hard to see how many homes in and around Chicago have notes, but you can tell which ones do by looking for icons that include little gold stars. (Is that a wise indicator? Will new visitors understand that a gold star doesn’t indicate a special or recommended property?)

Most of the reviews I’ve read so far aren’t too interesting, but a few actually offer some criticism. “Some nice upgrades but 2 BR up and 2 BR down is a problem for a young family,” says one agent about a Northbrook single-family; “On kind of a busy street,” says another agent about a new-construction home in Wilmette.

Since the notes are offered well below the actual listing text, they probably won’t be misconstrued as comments from the listing agent or seller, but they may also go unseen by casual readers. To see the reviews, users will have to be registered with Redfin, which may be a turn-off. What do you think? As a buyer, will this be useful? Will listing agents freak out at every negative review? Does anyone care?

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