By Brian Womack – Staff Writer, Dallas Business Journal
Sep 28, 2020, 4:06pm EDT
Redfin is ramping up in Frisco as real estate demand surges in Texas and beyond.
The Seattle company is adding 38,000 square feet to its existing offices, bolstering its overall space to about 65,000 at the site. It’s set to expand in the first quarter of next year.
Frisco is a key locale for some of the company’s efforts, including the mortgage business, engineering and support.
“We're really growing very rapidly,” said Jason Bateman, who is head of Redfin Mortgage and works out of the local site.
Redfin is benefitting from surging interest in home buying and related services with folks looking for a new place as interest rates fall and mortgage demand rises. At the same time, some folks are looking for new places amid the economic squeeze and the work-from-home trend. The company said revenue rose 8 percent in the second quarter to $214 million.
The company, which is focused on technology, is helping homebuyers search for new houses without having to be physically present amid COVID-19.
"If you want to tour a home, but don't want to have to interact with a person, we can schedule a tour online," Bateman said. "You can get all the data you need need to make a purchasing decision on Redfin. So the fact that we are digitally enabled really plays in our favor"
While COVID-19 has been a challenge for workplaces, that doesn’t mean offices should be abandoned forever, he said. Folks have been working from, he noted.
RedFin has more than 150 people in Frisco — and openings for more than 20 jobs.
There are a lot of questions right now about working from home. What are your thoughts?
We do still see value in collaboration — and not just electronic collaboration, but in-person collaboration. So people within the mortgage team need to have some level of collaboration with each other. We also need to have collaboration with other departments like our engineering team. They're building all of our software, and it's incredibly valuable for us to have a software engineer actually site with someone and watch them work. It's a huge catalyst for development of new software. It increases the quality of your system, it increases the speed of rollout. We are getting feedback from employees — overall, work-from-home is very popular. It's something that our employees like, but people want the option to be able to come into the office maybe two days a week. They want to know that if they have maybe an important meeting or they need to spend some time with an engineer — they want to know that that is still available to them.
Can you talk about the mortgage business?
The entire mortgage industry is experiencing explosive growth this year. One is ... interest rates. It's fueling a massive refinance boom. On the purchase ... side of things, low interest rates make housing more affordable — but also just migration of people. People are moving out of population centers like New York and San Francisco and places where they're densely packed and very dependent upon public transportation, which people may not be keen on using. A lot of companies are allowing people to work from home or work remotely.
What about Frisco as an office -- and its role in the company in the future?
We're bullish on Frisco, the whole Dallas area. We've been very successful in recruiting talent, not only on our mortgage team ... but in software engineering as well. So we've been very pleased with the talent in the area, with our ability to hire.
Any comment on the DFW market in particular for the real estate industry?
The Dallas market continues to be very resilient. We touched on it, but people are moving out of population centers — places like California, places like New York. There are a lot of large headquarters in the Dallas area, so people that are now allowed to work from home — have the opportunity to move to Dallas; it's very affordable. There are a lot of entertainment, cultural type of options. There's a lot to do — and lots of different styles. If you wan to live downtown, you can live downtown. If you want to live in a suburb, you live in a suburb. Dallas (and other markets in Texas) have an abundance of what people are beginning to look for — which is space. People want a yard now. People want a home office. People want somewhere that they can get outside and walk around. So it's proven to be a pretty appetizing market for people from all over the country.