A residential real estate brokerage known for its technology and discounted fees is expanding into the Portland area.

The company, Seattle-based Redfin, has hired its first agent and plans to open an office soon in Portland. The expansion into Maine brings the number of states in which Redfin operates to 30, including all of New England except Vermont.

Redfin’s aim is to reinvent the way real estate agencies work, by paying salaries to its agents rather than the commissions used by most agencies. It began in 2004 by developing proprietary technology that overlaid home listings on global positioning system maps, which was a novel concept at the time.

The company charges home sellers a standard commission of 1.5 percent, which Redfin says is half the industry average. Homebuyers can receive a portion of the seller’s commission as a refund, depending on the sale price of the home.

Besides their salaries, Redfin agents can receive bonuses based on the results of customer satisfaction surveys. The company also uses contract workers to assist agents with tasks such as home viewings.

Alex Coon, Redfin’s market manager for the Northeast region, said the expansion into southern Maine will add an attractive and diverse market to its national network.


“Portland is a really hot, growing city,” he said.

Home sales activity has risen steadily in Maine over the past few years. In January, sales were up 8.6 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the Maine Association of Realtors.

Association President Marie Flaherty, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northeast Real Estate in Westbrook, said the impact of Redfin’s arrival in Portland on the competitive landscape is difficult to predict.

Surveys show that most buyers in Maine choose an agent based on reputation and not the amount of the agent’s commission, Flaherty said. Still, the addition of a new competitor is further evidence of the local housing market’s strength.

“Any decision to expand is driven by market conditions,” Flaherty said.

Julie Davis, Redfin’s first agent in Portland, said she has been in the business for more than a decade and was most recently an agent with RE/MAX.

Davis said she likes the Redfin model because it rewards agents who provide excellent customer service.

“I love helping people,” she said. “Redfin incentivizes me to do just that.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.