Redfin (RDFN -2.01%) is navigating through volatility in the housing market to post solid operating results.
In this video clip from "Beat & Raise," recorded on Nov. 5, Fool.com contributors Brian Withers and Toby Bordelon, along with Fool analyst Tim Beyers, discuss the highlights from the company's latest earnings report, along with some reasons why it's not too late to buy the stock.
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Brian Withers: Toby, you are back with Redfin.
Toby Bordelon: Back again with Redfin. Let's look at these guys. What I want to say here as we start out, I think we had Zillow report a couple of days ago and that was not well received. [laughs] I think it's put a mildly.
Reference stock is down a little bit on the day but not that much and they did pretty good. Redfin and Zillow often get loops together, lumped in the same category, like they're very similar companies. In reality is they have really different business models.
I think what we're seeing here is the advantage of diversification and not just taking a couple of different companies and same ministry and seeing which one wins by diversity of business model because we're not sure what business model is going to play out, and it's nice to have a mix of that. Then I think that if you were someone who already owns Zillow, not feeling great right now.
If you own Zillow and Redfin, maybe you're feeling a little bit better. But Redfin did fairly well. Earnings up 128% for the Q3. Technically, that's a beat, but it was a beat by like 0.1% so I'm going to call that a mid. I think you need to get beyond the rounding error performing I'm going to give you a beat there.
Earnings-per-share, they met that too. They gave us some guidance for Q4 which is around 140, 150% above year-over-year numbers.
Still losing money, net loss of $18 million, but that's an improvement over the $30 million net loss last year. I think if they start to get some of their operating costs under control they can even be profitable. Operating expenses rose 163% compared to the 128% rise in revenue. You're seeing what the issue is there, they need to get some of those cost down. Costs are now operating costs were 27% of revenue versus 24% year-over-year.
But overall, pretty well. I think not all their businesses are doing well. They talked about the mortgages business, their impact businesses need some work, but they were very open at the conference call. The CEO was like look, we got to work on these and we're going to do that. I think that's somewhat refreshing, which is I think why maybe the stock sold off more than it is because they're shareholders listen to call and yeah, management knows what they got to do and they are working on it. Good stuff.
Their iBuying came up a lot in the conference call. One comment the CEO had was that you got to watch that because what you could end up doing is just for speeding [laughs] yourself, potentially toxic assets which I love.
The Redfin now business, their iBuying business is doing quite well for them. But they talked about how they were reducing offers through September. Assuming that when they bought the house, it would be worth last by the time they can get it to the market and making offers appropriately, a very conservative approach.
They see iBuying as just one of the options they offer their customers, this is not their core business. I do not think you should assume Redfin is going to step up and fill the gap left by Zillow, that's not going to happen.
They are taking a very measured conservative approach to this. They're upfront where they give you options like, hey, look, you are going to be better off if you go with a brokerage sale in terms of money. But if you just want to get out and now fast, this is an option we'll offer you. It's one part of the package of options they offer to their customers. Some people will say the housing market is cooling right now. Redfin says it's returning to sustainable levels, which is something they like.
Overall, I think a decent quarter. You see the stock well off its highs but I think they're doing well. The business is promising and I like this management team, I think they are doing some good work here.
Tim Beyers: Can I jump in, Toby?
Withers: Go forward, Tim.
Beyers: I love Glenn Kelman. I want to give [laughs] Glenn Kelman a hug, I'm serious. If you are not on the Redfin train, I don't know what to tell you. I can't stress how rare it is that a management team is this transparent, this upfront. He talked in the conference call about the things that may come jittery, managing the business.
No one does that. You know exactly what you're getting. I really like Rich Barton. I have liked him, the founder of Zillow, but Redfin is everything that Zillow is not. I wouldn't say this, Redfin is built for the long term. It is slow and steady, wins the race. I just want to make sure that people heard what you said, Toby, which is, this is fundamentally different. This is amazing and you should not take this for granted.
Redfin, when they went out and added to their iBuying inventory in the last quarter said, let's make sure that we're presuming that the house will be worth less than we bought it for. Can you just take a second and process how different that is? That's astounding. How measured that is, would a good steward of shareholder capitalism. Let me add one thing.
I know I'm getting a little fired up here, but I think of all of the stocks that I own, there is none that I am more proud to own than Redfin. I'm 100% serious about that. It is not the one that's going to make me the most money over the next 10 years. I'm pretty convinced of that, but it is the one I want to be the bedrock of my portfolio forever.
I hope I never sell it. But here's the other thing he said, which is we're going to reduce some of the savings that we can give to customers during the quarter because we need to pay agents more. The reason for that is because attrition is a problem in the industry right now, we do well.
But attrition was 37%. We think we can get that down materially if we pay them more upfront even before they make a sale. Name me another brokerage, guys, that will pay their real estate agent before they've ever made a sale, name me somebody else.
I know no one else that does that. What's the business reason for that is because that's how they lead. They lead with the agent. It's a different business. It is fundamentally, in my opinion, better than any other option including Zillow.
I went off on a rant, that's too long, [laughs] but I love Redfin. I don't just like them, I love this company and I think they are fundamentally better than everybody else in the industry, full-stop.