Door.com Shuts Doors to 37 Agents, Pares Down Real Estate Operations

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Update 3:14 pm: found out Door.com has 34,000 square feet in the Dallas Parkway building which they are subleasing from another tenant. Going rate for these offices about $38 psf plus electricity.

The Dallas-based real estate disruptor Door.com has laid off 37 employees in its Dallas headquarters.

I first received word before the holidays that Door.com, founded by Highland Park-born Alex Doubet, was laying off employees. (I called Alex several times before leaving town in December, but he did not return phone calls.) After the holidays, more rumors swelled. So I decided to actually be a reporter and head over to the offices of Door.com’s headquarters at 14675 Dallas Parkway, the 41,280-square-foot, four-star building where Door.com occupies the sixth floor.

When I got there at 4:15 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, I found beautiful but vacuous offices.

Sales Staff Mostly Gone, Title and Mortgage Still Operating

I asked a woman, an escrow officer from Door.com’s title business, what was going on and she told me that 37 agents had been laid off because a last round of funding did not come through, or at least that is what she had heard. She tried to find Doubet for me, but said he wasn’t in town. Peeking through the all-glass, very transparent doors of Door.com, I saw a few guys chatting over on the title/mortgage side, whose doors were locked. The escrow officer explained that the title and mortgage companies were still in business, and they had a few agents on hand to sell the company’s listed properties.

According to its website, Door.com has offices and is doing business in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Miami, Denver, and Los Angeles. According to the site, “selling and buying homes shouldn’t have to be so stressful, cumbersome, and expensive. Traditional real estate agents are still using outdated practices and charging high commissions, but we believe homeowners deserve a better option (enter Door.com).”

The company often irked traditional brokerages and agents because of the above statements, insinuating agents are not worth the commissions they charge, and because the firm sold homes for a flat fee of $5,000.

Sort of. 

A Disruptor Getting Disrupted

Door.com told Inman News last year, when Doubet announced his company’s partnership with Curbio, “Door.com is focused on modernizing the outdated real estate industry and its commission model,” said Door.com founder Alex Doubet in a press release. “Our mission is to put money back into the homeowner’s pocket and make selling your home easier and faster.”

Doubet told Inman “Door.com charges a $5,000 flat fee to list, market, and sell a home with one of its licensed real estate professionals. To start the process, sellers are required to schedule a free consultation with one of Door.com’s real estate professionals. Before the consultation, sellers can also receive an instant home estimate based on property information gleaned from House Canary.”

But when a “traditional agent” is involved, such as on the buy side, Door.com requires sellers to pay a 3 percent commission to the buyer’s agent plus the $5,000 flat listing fee. (Conventional commission fees run about 5 to 6 percent, splitting between agents, but all listing fees are negotiable.) However, if a buyer purchases their home with Door.com, they receive a 1 percent rebate after closing.

And Doubet’s company was named by Inman News as an Innovator of the Year, a distinction. He rubbed shoulders with star start-ups like Knock, Curbio, Purple Bricks, and Trelora, another disruptor brokerage based in Denver that merely charges $3,000 to sell a home. Trelora’s young founder and former CEO Joshua Hunt once told Inman “agents are going to shit themselves.” 

 “They’re going to be pissed,” at how aggressively his company was urging consumers to ditch their traditional overcharging residential real estate agents, he added.

We’ll have more on this story and company that even nabbed mainstream media’s attention in 2016, when it ws started by Doubet, fresh out of Harvard and all of 28 years old. (Says he started Door.com because of the bad experience his mother had when she sold her Highland Park home.) And we are hoping for an interview with the founder himself, and a taste of what’s next behind the Door.

Door.com’s offices are beautiful but empty now that 37 agents at the Dallas Parkway headquarters were laid off.
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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Dr. Timothy B. Jones says

    Yikes!

    The arguments about commissions for real estate sales personnel are painted with too broad of a brush. Not ALL real estate sales professionals are equal and the truth is there are lots of crappy ones out there that still eek out a living but make it hard for the good ones that bring tremendous value to their clients.

    Get on the MLS and select 10 homes listed. How many have been carefully professionally photographed with a pictorially pleasing and accurate representation of the property that will actually intrigue the looker? How many are represented by a real estate professional that not only has a keen understanding of the homes in that market but also a clientele that would buy it and a network of other professionals with clients that too would buy it? Then find out how many of those 10 have also been vigorously marketed in other venues like “followed” social media and applicable real estate publications conducive to buyers? Finally….how many of those agents have a track record for getting top dollar for the properties they market and have set new records in that market? I’ll estimate that the number will be less than half of those 10 are represented by a listing agent that fits that bill and the rest have probably had agents that just stuck the property on the MLS with cell phone pics they hurriedly took and called it a day. ….and now they wait for someone else to hopefully sell your house!

    You can’t put all 10 of those agents in the same boat. An agent, in my opinion, that fits that bill and delivers that service to their client is worth 5-6% commission….easy! The ones that don’t are NOT worth it and are an insult to the hard working serious real estate professionals that go all out for their listings.

    I’m not totally familiar with Doors model but I doubt they were able to attract the kind of agent I like and described for $5,000. To market a property properly requires an investment on the part of the agent….and with that investment should be rewards at the end. I’m willing to pay a great agent, truly into the transaction for my interests, their commission as money well spent! I need that stellar service because I expect a stellar outcome. Door wouldn’t have been the right choice for me but I’m sure there are plenty of buyers and sellers that don’t see the value I describe in many agents and thus are happy with a level of service they should pay less for….perhaps a lot less!

  2. Ronda Needham says

    Thank you Dr. Jones, you “get it”. Reputable licensed Realtors spend a tremendous amount of money out of their pockets, in addition to what their Brokerage spends, in marketing properties. These expenditures are not refunded to the Agent other than from the amounts they receive at Closing. Many times at the end of the day the Agent, barely makes a profit at all at Closing. Since Agents are not employees (as I thought was the deal with Doors) they are not reimbursed for those expenses and what they receive at the Closing Table is what they have to use to “fund” the marketing expenses involved. Some brokerages do furnish some advertising that they do not charge the Agents for, but it is still a very expensive business to be in. I’ve been doing it for 30+ years.

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