Eye On Open Door
The real estate industry often claims to be wide open to experimentation with new technology. Twenty years ago, in the earliest days of the mainstream internet, real estate pros were interested how VR tours, "web listings," and how text-for-info riders might be leveraged to reach buyers and serve sellers. In the past five years, the explosion of social media has further diversified how agents market themselves and connect with clients.
But for the most part, these technologies have largely been "bolted on" to a very traditional real estate transaction model. Though marketing technology has changed, much of the home buying and selling process remains entrenched in a heavily protected model, absolutely resistant to deep change.
No industry is immune to disruption, however, and now there's a start-up which looks poised to make a serious move in the real estate space. The company is called Opendoor. If you haven't heard of them, now is the time to get acquainted. Forbes recently ran a major profile on the company, which just closed an additional $210 million in funding:
From the article:
"Opendoor is betting that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who value the certainty of a sale over getting the highest price. The company makes money by taking a service fee of 6%, similar to the standard real estate commission, plus an additional fee that varies with its assessment of the riskiness of the transaction and brings the total charge to an average of 8%. It then makes fixes recommended by inspectors and tries to sell the homes for a small premium. Buyers get to shop on their own timetable, using key codes for access to the properties, and they receive a 30-day guarantee that Opendoor will buy it back if they're not satisfied and a two-year warranty on the electrical system and major appliances. "I'm obsessed with the pain points of moving," says Eric Wu, Opendoor's 34-year-old cofounder and chief executive."
Don't put your head in the sand when it comes to heavily-funded Silicon Valley start-ups. The more you learn now, the better you'll be prepared to adapt should the model take off.