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The Real Estate business is headed for extreme change in the way we buy, sell and market real estate, and in how we compensate agents.

Last week, we talked about Alex Doubet of Door, a Highland Park and Harvard lad-grad who has started a technology-based flat fee discount brokerage. I applaud and wish him well, and plan to follow him like a hawk. I just found it amusing that the local print media reacted to his story as if he were the very first to ever attempt this! This industry is in more flux than the automobile.

And we have written here about Opendoor. Opendoor is the boldly fascinating Silicon Valley startup heavily funded by some big Bay area checkbooks. The company uses technology to buy and flip homes and streamline the agent’s role. In fact, Opendoor employs salaried listing agents to market its properties, and forks over a 3 percent commission to buyer’s agents who come through the MLS should they bring a buyer. The company has garnered roughly $110 million from investors, including its biggest shareholder, venture capital giant Khosla Ventures. Their ads are all over the Metroplex, aimed at consumers.

Now comes word via TechCrunch that Opendoor is getting even more brazen: it will now offers buyers a buy-back guarantee and a 30 day refund policy.

Yes, you have 30 days to return a house. This is better than Nordstroms:

Starting today, it’s making two more bold promises. First, it will buy back a home if the new owner is unhappy with it. Specifically, if someone changes his or her mind for any reason, that person has 30 days to receive a full refund. More, Opendoor will provide each new buyer with a 180-point inspection report on the condition of their new home; if anything breaks in the first two years, it will fix it.

“We stand behind our homes,” says Eric Wu, CEO and co-founder of Opendoor. “Unlike a typical seller who is trying to hide information from [the seller], we’re fully transparent because we want our customers to be happy.”

(A typical seller trying to hide information from the seller? This sounds like a 2-year Home Warranty policy. Hold that thought.) (more…)

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Opendoor start-up team

Sell your home with a click? A lot of things have changed about buying a home in the last ten years, from the way we shop for real estate (on line, or via mobile device) to the way we sign closing documents. And though the disruptors Redfin Inc., Zillow Inc. and Trulia Inc. have made searching for homes easier by taking the process online, the process of actually SELLING a home still has not really changed. Still pretty slow and cumbersome.

Experts say this is the next real estate horizon.

A San Francisco-based startup that just landed in Dallas may just be the disruptor to shake it all up. Opendoor.com has technology that replaces the traditional “cash for homes”  market — you know, “We Buy Ugly Houses”, or those signs on the street corner saying, “We buy houses.”

There is, of course, a huge market for investors who want to buy troubled (read: cheap) homes quickly. Opendoor may be their Nirvana. Or it may be great for the person who just doesn’t want to mess with the time it takes to sell.

Opendoor redefines how real estate is transacted, transforming a more-than-two month process into an instant and frictionless experience. Instead of dealing with the hassle of listing and showings, upfront costs and repairs, negotiating with multiple parties, and the risk of the home not closing, homeowners can visit Opendoor.com, receive a guaranteed Opendoor offer and complete their sale in a few clicks.

The startup is expanding from its test market cities to buy homes nationwide. Thursday, OpenDoor launched in Dallas, one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. (more…)